Friday, January 30, 2015

Sens Place Anderson on the IR

Well, how is that for a kick in the teeth?  Not long after saying that Craig Anderson's status for Saturday night's game against Arizona was questionable, at best, but not long after I pressed publish on the post, the Ottawa Senators placed the 33-year old keeper on the Injured Reserve, which changes his status in a big hurry.

With his placement on the Injured Reserve, Anderson won't be eligible to return until late next week, which makes his immediate status for Saturday change to 'out.'  It's just that easy.

Anderson has only been decent this season for the Senators, possibly the combination between some off nights and some bad lineups in front of him, both of which likely helped in the coaching change this season. In 31 appearances, the Ottawa number one only has 13 wins and 3 shutouts for 32 points, which is just a shade over a point-per-appearance.  This ranks him 99th overall, 23rd among all goalies this season, which does keep him as a starter among pool goalies this year.

Cam took Anderson in the 3rd round, 48th overall, expecting a little bit more out of the Senators and their number one guy this season, but hasn't quite seen the results, he was after.  Despite that fact, Cam isn't in bad shape this year, 6 points out of 3rd place.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Player Notes in the Draft (Jan 30)

It should come as no surprise that Patrick Wiercioch has made a return to the blog site, as he returned to the Ottawa Senators lineup before the All-Star break, was taken off the list, but now has made his eventual return.  Being added to the list is forward David Legwand, which is opening up the flood gates of speculation, as his ice-time has dwindled under the new coach and the trade rumours are beginning to fly.  With the Senators falling quickly away from the Eastern Conference Wild Card race, there may be a market to move these kinds of players.

Dale C. is more than familiar with his defender on the list, something I would imagine he'll try to rectify at the Waiver Draft next week.  Brian, on the other hand, hasn't had many attendance issues with Legwand, as such, but with only 19 points in 46 games, his scoring has left something to be desired.  I didn't have Legwand as a drop option for Brian in my mock draft, but he definitely could be one, if he isn't dealt from Ottawa before then.

The Senators were not without their injury news as well, as goalie Craig Anderson was sidelined earlier in the week with a hand injury, which led to the emergency recall of Andrew Hammond for Thursday night's game against the Stars. Not much has been dispelled about Anderson's injury, except that he is listed as out day-to-day for the time being, but that really doesn't mean a great deal.  Anderson's status for Saturday's home game against the Coyotes is still up in the air, he'll likely be questionable, at best, right now.

Trouble in the money race, as Cam lost a start from his number one goalie, if you can still call him that.  Cam has fallen back a bit in the race for 3rd place, dropping points to both Wes and Clayton, now sitting in 5th place, 6 points out.  He's by no means out, but he is closer to the Basement Dweller nod in the Newsletter than making money at the end of the year.

The St. Louis Blues lost the services of forward Jori Lehtera in the 3rd period of last night's game against the Nashville Predators and it sounds like he has already been ruled out of Friday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, because of the injury.

Lehtera has been a breath of fresh air to the Blues, as a free agent signing from Europe in the Summer, picking up 9 goals and 30 points in 46 games, ranking 112th in pool scoring overall.

Unfortunately, this is another injury added to Grant S.'s list, as he feels his grip on 2nd place, as strong as it still is, might be having a few beads of sweat loosen it a little.  His lead over 3rd place is 36 points, going into the weekend and the teams behind him are gaining some ground on him.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brodeur Retires As A Legend

It was a fine last kick at the can, Martin Brodeur did show that he could still win, even at 42 years old, going 3-3-0 with 1 shutout with the St. Louis Blues this season, acting as an injury replacement for Brian Elliott, but it sounds like other teams are looking to stay with the younger generation, not electing to give the future Hall of Famer one last opportunity to take in some hockey games and make a difference to a team, hopefully making a playoff run.

There's no question that Brodeur goes out as a legend in the position of goaltending, winning Stanley Cups, Olympic Gold Medals and other assorted honours and trophies, but he also goes down as one of the best players in my hockey pools as well, which is the main theme of this blog, as it were.

My own hockey pool database goes back to the 2002 season, where Brodeur finished in 3rd place overall in pool scoring, where he followed it up with back-to-back seasons in the number one spot.

The last season he finished atop the pool scoring table was the 2007 season, the first season of the selection sheet pool on the website, where he finished with 48 wins, 12 shutouts and an assist for 121 points.

After the 2007 season, he did have some struggles in the points and health department, having one more big hurrah in the 2010 season, finishing as the top goalie and 2nd overall in pool scoring, with 45 wins, 9 shutouts and 3 assists for a 111-point year, finishing behind Henrik Sedin of the Canucks that year.

Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils photo NJDmartinbrodeur02.jpgSince the start of the website in the 2007 season, Brodeur had picked up the Player of the Week nod five times, but remarkably never hit double-digits for points in those mentions in the blog.

In the drafts, since 2008, it was also quite remarkable that Brodeur was never a part of a 1st place overall draft team neither.  In those years, he never belonged to a top three team in the draft either, which seems kind of strange, given the time he was around.  Sure, I have data that dates back to 2002, but I don't think I have all my pool data from back then, which would be pretty interesting to look at.

Nevertheless, there is no denying that Brodeur was a difference maker and a great player in his 24-year career, but even with trying to take another shot at playing, I don't think he will be ever remembered as a goalie that faded out into obscurity, rather a great player that lasted over decades.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Player Notes in the Draft (Jan 29)

The last couple days haven't exactly been conducive to updating the blog, but since I have a few moments today, I am quickly going to run through the updates we've seen on the news page.

One of two returns to the press box on Tuesday night, as Devante Smith-Pelly for the Ducks' game against the Canucks, returning from the All-Star break.  Smith-Pelly has been somewhat of a regular up there of late, but with a return to the lineup before the break, he came off the list and his trip upstairs meant that he got added again to the blog.  This may end up being more of a regular occurrence, until he gets his game sorted.

Through the last two nights of action, Ryan has dropped back into 23rd place, thanks to only 4 points in the week, to date.  He now is projected to have the first pick in next week's Waiver Draft.

On Monday, Edmonton's Taylor Hall took a shot off the leg at practice, which gave him a bone bruise and forced him to miss Tuesday's return against the Wild.  Hall is listed as out day-to-day and his availability for Thursday's game, hosting the Sabres, is somewhat questionable still.  I would imagine that he would be closer to go than not, but we probably won't know until game time.

Even without Hall, Wyllie has had an okay start to the week with 9 points, sitting in 21st place in the standings, meaning right now, he would have the third pick next week. Things can change, but I don't think Hall is a candidate for a drop.

The saga of Mike Richards continues, as he was assigned to the minors on Tuesday and there is every indication that he will report to Manchester in the AHL, while he waits for new life in the NHL, likely with a different club.  There have been rumours of other teams kicking at his tires, but as of Thursday morning, there hasn't been any movement.

Richards only has 15 points in 47 games, but Troy has not really missed a beat without his 11th round draft pick, as he's moved up from 8th to 6th in the first couple nights of action, which is hurting his Waiver Draft selection next week.  Now, Richards may be a good candidate for a drop next week.

The second of the press box returns is Lee Stempniak, who has been an occasional visitor of the healthy scratch club, when the utility forward hasn't had the best of times on the ice.  In 38 games with the Rangers this season, the veteran forward only has 6 goals and 8 assists, so he hasn't had a screaming start to the season.

Stempniak was a Week Nine Waiver Draft pick-up for Leo this year and since he was added to the roster, he had played 16 games, scoring 1 goal and 3 assists.  Not sure about Leo's ties to his team, but he may want to consider dropping a consistent scratch like Stempniak.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2016 Outdoor Games

The NHL made the announcement on Saturday morning that there will be three outdoor games next season, the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, featuring the Montreal Canadiens visiting the Boston Bruins, followed nearly a couple months later by two games in wintery Minnesota and Colorado, where we'll have Stadium Series games.  The Chicago Blackhawks will travel to face the Minnesota Wild and the old playoff rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche will renew outside.

With the All-Star Game just passing and making a case for an extra pool to sink some money into or possibly win some money back from, having an extra competition next season on the outdoor games has a little bit of a ring to it.  There are three games, with plenty of notice for the draft next season, where if you've taken players from these six teams, the scoring from the outdoor games would be tallied up and the most would come away with a prize.

It's just a thought, as I would like next season to be more exciting than this season and adding a few more mini-games to the overall pool would certainly do that, no?

Hockey pool teams this season, without provocation or strategy changes, to this point, would have lined up with 21 of the 23 teams in the pool, having players from one or all of the six teams going next season, both Brenda & Seward nor Troy have any players from these teams.  Of course, this isn't a keeper league, so there will be a complete overhaul of the hockey pool teams, come next season's draft, but I am wondering if people would change their strategy at the draft, knowing that they would have a chance to at least win their money back with these sorts of contests out there.

Just some food for thought, there are no immediate decisions being made today.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Knee Scope Forces Johnson Out of Avs Lineup

The injury which forced Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson from the All-Star Game festivities this past weekend is actually much worse than what we initially thought, as we first had the impression that the Avalanche didn't want to send their top defenseman to the extra-curriculars, just to save him from excess work and they would give him a game off on the other side of the break, just to stay within the rules.

No, after a scope on his knee, the team has been forced to keep the 2006 1st overall pick off the ice for the next 3-to-8 weeks, in order to recover from a knee problem.  It is quite the vast timeframe for being out, the good end being far greater than the long end of the scale, but given the parameters of the injury, that's just how the cookie could possibly crumble.

Johnson has been great this season, despite the poor showing for the Avalanche, ranking 189th overall in pool scoring and 29th among defensemen in scoring with 12 goals and 23 points in 47 games with the Avalanche.  His 12 goals is tied for tops among all blueliners, tied with Calgary's Dennis Wideman for the honour.

Out of all the injury news that has dropped today, Johnson's is the first that really has some meaning towards the money race, as 4th place Wes has Johnson and has enjoyed the spoils of drafting him 215th this season, down in the 10th round.

Wes currently sits 5 points out of 3rd place and 10 points above 6th place in the overall standings, but his team is well out of the second segment race, 34 points out of 1st place, down in 4th with 168 points.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

8 Weeks Away for Okposo

The New York Islanders, who are atop the Metropolitan Division to start Week Seventeen, will be without power forward Kyle Okposo for the next 6-to-8 weeks with an upper-body injury.  The Islanders announced the injury, but no details on Monday, as the team finished practice for the day.

Okposo will likely be put on the Injury Reserve here in the next day or so, if he hasn't been already, with the announcement.

Okposo has been really good for the Islanders this year, a big reason why they are doing so well in the standings. In 46 games played, the 26-year old forward has 14 goals and 44 points, ranking 26th overall in pool scoring, good enough to be a 2nd round pick this year.

With that being said, Allan took Okposo in the 3rd round, 65th overall, so he was getting his money's worth and more out of the selection. Sadly, this injury adds to the poor season that Allan has been having, as if he needed to have more help to stay firmly with Ryan and Wyllie in the pool basement.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Phaneuf Out Week-to-Week

It appears there will be a trip to the Injured Reserve for Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf, as the Maple Leafs announced on Monday afternoon that the 29-year old defenseman will be out week-to-week with an upper-body injury, believed to be a hand injury.

The injury was believed to have occurred against the Carolina Hurricanes, just before the All-Star break was to get started and the injury had not gotten any better over the week-long time away.

Toronto is scheduled to play three games in Week Seventeen, starting on Wednesday against the Devils and it is expected that Phaneuf will miss those three games to start his rehab process.

This season, Phaneuf hasn't quite contributed as much offensively as some may have projected, but just over the half way mark, he was doing a bit better than my projections, scoring 2 goals and 22 points in 48 games, so far.  Currently, the bruising defender ranks 212th in pool scoring, not too far out of the 187th spot, where Grant K. picked him this year.

Grant is the pool leader in goals, despite the pair that Phaneuf has picked up for him, but the overall feeling is that the first season in the pool has been a disappointment, sitting in 17th before the week starts, poised for a decent pick in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft.

In the second segment, Grant sits in 21st spot, with 119 points, almost 100 points behind Kristy & Don, who lead the pool and segment.  Grant will need a helluva two picks to have a chance at the third segment trophy.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Player Notes in the Draft (Jan 26)

Reports from Monday morning/afternoon are saying that the Los Angeles Kings have placed forward Mike Richards on waivers, hoping to find a suitor that would take him off their hands for nothing. Richards, who has 5 goals and 15 points in 47 games for the Kings, ranking 312th overall in pool scoring, has been demoted within the lineup a few times this year and now the Kings are trying to off-load his salary cap hit, which is $5.75 million for five more years after this.

If Richards goes unclaimed, he can be sent down to the AHL, but with the new rules in place with the CBA, the Kings will not save much cap space, only $975,000.

At worst, Troy will only have this week and next to worry about Richards on his pool team, as the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft goes next week and I have projected a parting of ways between player and pool team in the opening round.  Troy sits in 8th, 21 points out of the money and could use a big boost from a Waiver Draft pick-up for the final nine weeks of the season.

The Red Wings made it back to practice on Monday, but there was no sign of either goalie Jimmy Howard, defenseman Jakub Kindl or forward Johan Franzen, suggesting that they won't be ready to go this week, as they open up the unofficial second half against the Panthers on Tuesday night. Howard is out with a groin injury, Kindl is out with an elbow injury, while Franzen is out with an upper-body injury. On the plus side, goalie Jonas Gustavsson was on the ice, as he rehabs from a shoulder injury, but there was no word on whether or not he'll be ready to go any time soon.

All four are on the IR, as we speak, taking games away from Dale B., Dale C., Grant S. and Tony, respectively.

Doesn't sound like PA Parenteau is anywhere near ready to return from his concussion, as his eligibility started today from the Injured Reserve, but he wasn't on the ice for practice, confirming the earlier suggestions.

Allan may not get off to a screaming fast start after the break, with a couple of players on the IR to start and it is somewhat unclear about when they'll be ready to go.  Both players may get some real consideration for next week's Waiver Draft.

The Buffalo Sabres called up goalie Matt Hackett on Monday, to take the place of Michal Neuvirth, who is expected to miss some time with a lower-body injury, which he suffered over the break in workouts. Neuvirth has been getting some time in the Sabres crease, but by no means number one minutes, but he has only picked up 3 wins this season, which is a severe disappointment.  Neuvirth is on the shelf on a day-to-day basis for the time being, no update has come down yet for a timetable.

More bad luck for Wyllie, who wasn't really getting any point production from Neuvirth this year anyways, but he'll start the week in 21st place, only 1 point up on 23rd place, mired in that basement race for the Olli bobblehead.

With three goalies in tow, the Minnesota Wild have opted to send Darcy Kuemper down to Iowa of the AHL for a conditioning stint, even though he did get to see some game action before the All-Star break. Kuemper had returned from injury and made it into the lineup on Tuesday last week against the Red Wings, came on in relief of Devan Dubnyk in a loss, but he was still eligible for the conditioning stint.  He'll have a couple of weeks to work on getting healthy again and then the Wild will have some decisions to make.

This does take away Kuemper's projected games from Stacey M.'s totals this week and possibly next week as well.  Stacey will start the week in 9th place, with 39 projected games to be played.  It isn't the biggest total in the pool, but it should still remain reasonable.

Everything looks to be clear for Mikael Granlund to make his return to the Minnesota Wild lineup on Tuesday night, away to Edmonton, as he was taking part in a full practice on Monday and the word was released that he would be good to go. Granlund has been out since the end of December with an upper-body injury, missing out on about four weeks of action.

Good news for Stuart, as Granlund's projected games will return to his totals and now the Finn can work his way back into being a good pool player and not a Waiver Draft drop candidate next week.

The word is good for Toronto forward Leo Komarov, who is now expected to play on Wednesday in New Jersey, coming off of another few days on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Komarov has been spending a lot of time on the shelf in this second segment, missing time to a concussion earlier and now this shoulder problem. All indications are that he is going to get the green light to go Wednesday, calling him probable.

Grant K. has not seen much of Komarov since picking him in Week Nine, collecting only six games, a goal and an assist in that time.  If the Leafs are going to make a push, they'll need his help.

More good news for the Leafs on Monday, as Joffrey Lupul has seen his status upgraded to day-to-day, dealing with his lower-body injury.  Of course, he won't be activated from the IR until he is cleared to go, but it does sound like that could be later on this week, if there are no setbacks to be had.

Brenda & Seward have had one of the hottest teams in the pool in the second segment and they haven't even had Lupul for the last four weeks, so his return could mean some big things for the third segment, which starts in a couple weeks time.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Malkin to the IR, Other Penguins Updates

After the All-Star Game, you would think that players would be coming off the Injured Reserve, rather the Pittsburgh Penguins put forward Evgeni Malkin on the list, likely retroactive to the game missed last week, Wednesday night, the 21st, against the Blackhawks.

There is no timetable for his return, but with the placement on the IR, Malkin wouldn't be eligible to return until Wednesday's game in Washington, missing out on Tuesday night's game against the Jets, at the very least.

Malkin has been a key part of the Penguins lineup, scoring 19 goals and 51 points in 45 games played, ranking, ranking 13th overall in pool scoring, at the start of Week Seventeen.

This is bad news for Leo, who made Malkin his 1st round pick this season, taking him 11th overall, as he was his best player this season and about the only player that was making a consistent contribution, which is saying a lot, since Leo opens the week in 19th place, 18 points from the bottom.  If Malkin is out for any significant amount of time, it will really add up.

In other Penguins news, neither Sidney Crosby nor Blake Comeau were on the ice for practice on Monday.  Crosby is out with a lower-body injury, which forced him to take an injection to improve his situation, but will have to sit out Tuesday's game anyways, by rule from the NHL for bailing on the All-Star Game.  Comeau has been out since before Christmas with a wrist injury, but there is some talk that he is getting closer.

On the plus side, Kristopher Letang was in practice on Monday, completing the session on his own, as was forward Patric Hornqvist.  Both players now seem probable for Tuesday night's game in Winnipeg, but neither are written on the lineup card in ink yet.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.