Thursday, January 31, 2019

Goalie Announcements (Jan 31)

The calendar is just about to flip over to February and once it does, all hell will finally break loose on the NHL schedule.  Unfortunately, we still have one more night of drips and drabs to get through before we are there, but on the plus side, we're not losing out on a whole ton of action for most of our Waiver Draft pickups, concentrating the schedule for the back third of the season.

Last night, four more teams were able to get off the snide with at least a point, leaving four other teams to be sitting with no points through three nights of action this week.  Kristy & Don, Tony, Stacey C. and Scott would be those four teams still in search of a point and there could be some relief out there tonight, amidst the three games on the schedule.

Carter Hart (Picked) versus Tuukka Rask (Jesse)
Tuukka Rask will return to the Boston net tonight after missing a couple of games with a concussion and it will give Jesse a key start this week.  Jesse's team is on the board this week with 1 point and needs to keep the pace with the top teams in the pool, as his team goes into action in 10th place, 38 points out of the money.

Henrik Lundqvist (Scott) versus Keith Kinkaid (Neil)
The Rangers and Devils had their goaltending match-up confirmed for the better part of yesterday, so both Scott and Neil would have known that they would at least get a start on Thursday night, before it actually mattered.  As we know already, Scott's team is among the four without a point, while Neil's team isn't too far ahead with 2 points.  Neil's team has yet to feature in the Basement Dweller this season and a win would certainly help ensure that for another week.

Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don) versus Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy)
Jeremy holds the top spot in this week's scoring race with 11 points and he gets a tasty start from the Jets with Connor Hellebuyck and the Columbus Blue Jackets in town.  Jeremy's team isn't quite in the hunt this season, 57 points out of the money.  The Jackets will go with their top guy in Sergei Bobrovsky, aiding the duo to try and put some points on the board this week.  It's going to be a tall task in Winnipeg, but if there's a guy to do it, it's Bob.

Noon Player Notes (Jan 31)

A somewhat surprising transaction this morning, as the Chicago Blackhawks assigned rookie defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the AHL.  The 19-year old made the team out of camp this year and has featured in plenty of game action, as well as being loaned to the Finland World Junior team, which won gold this year, but his ice-time has been on the decline and his numbers of late haven't been stellar.  Likely, this is a move to boost his ice-time and have him play some meaningful minutes, but it does remain unclear as to whether or not he'll be back up with the big team or not this season.

Timing is pretty well everything, as this move came after Brian's 2nd round pick in the Waiver Draft, but it's hard to say whether or not he would have dropped the rookie blueliner.  He has registered 12 assists in 37 games this season, which isn't too bad, but it hasn't been great lately, picking up 1 assist in his last eight games.

A minor league demotion is not a qualifier for a drop in the bonus round, since he is still healthy.

The Columbus Blue Jackets updated the status of injured forward Boone Jenner, as they now expect him to miss anywhere between 1-to-3 weeks with an infected laceration on his ankle. The team said he suffered the ankle laceration well before the All-Star break, but it became infected earlier this week and it has forced him out of the lineup.  He hasn't been placed on the IR just yet, but you could assume that it will happen soon, given the amount of time the team expects him to miss.

Steve has yet to make his 2nd round move, at the time of writing the post, so he could either consider this for his next move or if he had something else in mind, save Jenner for the bonus round.  Jenner has 21 points in 48 games this season, a reasonable contributor to his 6th place team.

Week Eighteen Waiver Draft (Jan 31)

It was a short, but sweet day on the Waiver Draft wire on Wednesday, as we didn't see much in the way of player movement, but we did pass over a number of picks, which only leaves us all with a day's worth of action, in theory, before the bonus round kicks in.  By my count, we have 10 selections left to comb over before we get there and before we even do that, let's have a quick peek at yesterday's moves.

John P. was confident with his team moving forward or he wasn't all that confident with the players that were remaining on the list, so he chose to pass.

Brian is still trying to gut out a solid finish this season and he was looking to improve upon his forwards, dropping Florida power forward Nick Bjugstad and replace him with Winnipeg's Brandon Tanev.  Brian's forwards have been good in the second segment, ranking 8th in the pool in the middle portion, with 136 points, but it could always be better, right?

Wilton was humming and hawing over a move in the 2nd round, but opted to stay put for now.  His team does have options in the bonus round, if the news gets worse.

Talk about quick on the draw, Tony's phone was drafted and ready to go with his pick, when it came time to make the selection, as he dropped Nikita Zaitsev of the Maple Leafs and adding Travis Sanheim of the Flyers, hoping that the new surge in Philadelphia would get his team going in the final third.

After that, it was a couple more passes from Dale C. and Mike's team, both unswayed by the lack of talent on the board.  Now that those two have passed, Jesse is back on the clock, as we head towards the final 10 moves in the 2nd round.

Morning Player Notes (Jan 31)

The Buffalo Sabres couldn't help but recognize the struggles of Jason Pominville of late, so on Wednesday night, they made him into a healthy scratch for their game against the Dallas Stars.  The 36-year old got off to a pretty good start to the season, having a very good first one-third of the season, but ever since, it's been crickets.  With a $5.6 million cap hit this season, it would seem rather unlikely that he will be a guy that will be on the move at the trade deadline, especially since the Sabres are on the verge of being buyers to stay in the playoff race, so it may just be a lot of healthy scratches down the stretch.

Brenda & Seward have also recognized his struggles in the second segment of the season, as they picked him up in the Week Nine Waiver Draft and have only collected 2 points in 17 games.  He was the top player available for that player swap and has done almost nothing since.  In the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft, he was dropped for Florida's Vincent Trocheck, as they look to pass Derek B. for 23rd in the standings when these new players go live.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Evening Player Notes (Jan 30)

The New York Rangers are awaiting the results of an MRI that rookie forward Brett Howden will undergo to know how bad a knee injury is that he suffered on Tuesday night.  Howden was hurt against the Flyers, leaving the game in the 1st period and did not return.  For now, he's listed as out day-to-day, but there are reports out there suggesting that he could be out much longer. 

This certainly opens the door for Derek B. to move one rookie out for another, if Howden isn't healthy enough to make a difference down the stretch.  Derek's team has already posted 3 points in the rookie pool this week and has knocked down the gap between his team and Clayton's to 8 points.  He'll have some real thinking to do here.  Since Week Ten, Howden has picked up 2 assists in 21 games.

Vatanen Suffers Concussion

New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen was on the wrong end of an ugly hit into the boards on Monday night against the Penguins, as Derick Brassard nailed him pretty good.  Vatanen was forced from the game and has missed practice both on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the team reporting that he is out indefinitely with a concussion.  There is no timetable for his return and with a concussion, it is anyone's guess.

Vatanen has 4 goals and 17 points in 46 games this season, good enough for 337th in overall hockey pool scoring, 64th among all defensemen.

Troy now has a big decision to make in the Waiver Draft, whether he does it with his pending 2nd round pick or uses a bonus round pick, on how he wants to move Vatanen ahead of the stretch run of the season.  Troy picked up Vatanen in the 9th round, 223rd overall and now doesn't know how long he will be without the Finn.  Troy's team is in 8th place, 28 points out of the money and really needs a healthy team to cover those points.

Goalie Announcements (Jan 30)

The lack of games this week is really wreaking havoc on the standings in the pool, as there are still eight teams without points this week and we've only seen five games in the schedule so far.  It doesn't get any better either.  There are only two games on Wednesday night as well.

There are a few teams that don't seem to mind the schedule the way it is, since they have been picking up points in the limited schedule.  Jeremy leads the pool this week with 9 points, overtaking Stacey M.'s team, which now sits at 8 points.  Wes' team isn't doing too badly either, 6 points for his side and Eric's team is up at 5 points.  These are your leaders for the Mover & Shaker right now, but I know we're all just waiting for the weekend, so it can all kick off.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.) versus Matt Murray (Picked)
Dale C. is among those eight teams without points this week and he gets a key goalie start to help push his team forward tonight.  Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the nod for the Tampa Bay Lightning, when they go into Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins.  Dale's team probably doesn't want to this second segment to end, as it ranks 5th in the pool since the start of Week Ten with 209 points, but it didn't make up a whole lot of ground in that time.

Linus Ullmark (Steve) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
Yesterday, we had a 4th/5th place goalie battle in the post and now today, we have a 6th/7th place goalie battle to speak of in Dallas.  Ben Bishop was confirmed nice and early yesterday, giving Clayton a start tonight for his 7th place team, while Linus Ullmark is only expected, not quite confirmed at this time, since the Sabres played last night as well.  Steve's team is only 3 points ahead of Clayton's, which makes this into a semi-swing game.

Week Eighteen Waiver Draft (Jan 30)

Tuesday had its snags and snarls in the process of swapping some players, so we didn't get nearly as far as one would have hoped, but we did trudge along and knock off seven swaps and three passes, so that's okay, I suppose.  We've only got 16 moves left to make before the bonus round, which does seem like a very lofty goal today, as I write this post.

We finished off the 1st round of the Waiver Draft with Stuart's swap, moving injured goalie Michal Neuvirth of the Flyers out of his lineup and inserting Anders Nilsson of the Senators in his place.  Stuart's team has done exceptionally well with very little goaltending points, ranking 21st in the pool in goalie points.  If his team finds improvement there, it will be back-to-back wins for his side.

Scott kicked off the 2nd round with a forward swap, dropping Week Nine dud Lars Eller of the Capitals and picking up Pontus Aberg of the Wild to take his spot.  Aberg has already been moved a couple times between NHL clubs this season, waived out of Edmonton to Anaheim and then traded to Minnesota.  Could he have found his productive new home, both in the NHL and in the pool?

Brenda & Seward made good on Derek B.'s drop in the 1st round, snapping up Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings for Jonathan Bernier of the Red Wings.  The duo couldn't find their way up the standings much this season, but with an upgrade to two number one goalies on their team, they could start to find their way up the standings a bit more.

If you hadn't noticed yet, Derek B. has been going all-in on the rookies, tanking some of his best players now to get the job done in the mini-game.  His team isn't about the overall standings and hasn't been since Week Nine, continuing on that pace, dropping Frederik Andersen of the Maple Leafs and picking up Chicago platoon goalie Collin Delia, trying to squeeze out any kind of points possible.  Andersen will be made available for the bonus round for any sort of injured goalie.

Chelsea is just carrying on with carrying on, doesn't have a whole lot to play for and just hoping for the best right now.  A quick upgrade of forwards, seeing Loui Eriksson of the Canucks drop out and Mikkel Boedker of the Senators climb on in was the best swap she could make out.  Her team is 19 points clear of 23rd on Wednesday morning and she aims to keep it that way.

Then there were a couple of passes on the books, as both Benson and Eric couldn't find anything that tickled their fancy or filled a gap.  Benson's team ranks 3rd in the game-winning goals mini-game and is good with his team as is to try and win it, while Eric's team is tied for 15th in that mini-game and still hasn't seen a shootout goal yet.

Neil needed a defenseman swap, as one of his Week Nine picks had failed him badly.  Chicago's Gustav Forsling was only good for 1 point in nine games since being activated, thanks to injury issues, so he was exchanged for the best defenseman available, Pittsburgh Brian Dumoulin.  Neil's defense has been bad this season, ranking last with 57 points, but a positive move like this could bump him up a spot.

Jeremy's team was another that felt that passing was in his best interest.  There were no solutions to some of his forward problems and his only injury wasn't going to be replaced by anything much better at this point.

Finally, Stacey C. was on the ball this morning, making a swap nice and early, just in time for this post.  He dropped Alexander Steen of the Blues, who has had his share of injury problems this season, picking up Bryan Rust of the Penguins to take his place.  Stacey's forwards rank 18th in the pool, as of Wednesday morning, which has led to his 18th overall ranking as well.  They kind of go hand-in-hand.

Morning Player Notes (Jan 30)

The Columbus Blue Jackets were without forward Boone Jenner on Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres, as he was held out with an undisclosed injury. He's currently listed as out day-to-day and the team did not include him on their trip to Winnipeg for Thursday's game, so he has already been ruled out of that one as well.  Jenner has 9 goals and 21 points in 48 games this season, good enough for 252nd in pool scoring, leaving a reasonably sized hole in the Columbus lineup.

Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson was admitted into stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program on Tuesday, meaning that he is suspended without pay while he looks after his alcohol problem.  There is no timetable for any sort of return for this program, he will be out indefinitely.

It's bad news for Steve's team on both accounts, one more so than the other.  The Jenner injury is the more concerning for his team, as the Blue Jackets forward is still active on his roster, while Watson was dropped in the Waiver Draft this week and is only active for another few days.  Steve's team currently sits in 6th place, 23 points out of the money.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Goalie Announcements (Jan 29)

The bye week-related lack of games for the NHL has put a damper on the early part of Week Eighteen, but what can you do, right?  Only hope your team doesn't get shutout or too far behind before the schedule really picks up again on the weekend.

Stacey M.'s team did really well on Monday night and didn't have a goalie start... until tonight.  Her team has already racked up 5 points and moved up to 2nd place, so the break has been an early blessing for her.

Eight teams didn't have a skater game last night and only one pool team had a goalie going, so it was pretty limited, to say the least.  17 of the 25 teams didn't pick up a point on Monday night, so the race for the Basement Dweller is wide open.

Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy) versus Jaroslav Halak (Stacey M.)
Stacey's start comes from the Boston Bruins tonight, who open up the post All-Star break with only one of their platooned keepers healthy, Jaroslav Halak.  They open up their schedule against one of the top teams in the west, the Winnipeg Jets, who are on back-to-back nights and they saved their number one guy, Connor Hellebuyck, for this game.  Jeremy's team is one of those that is without points going into tonight.

Carter Hutton (Wes) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don)
Big hockey pool goalie match-up in Columbus tonight, as Wes' 5th place team get a start from the visiting Sabres and Kristy & Don's 4th place team get a start from the hosting Blue Jackets.  These two teams are only separated by 3 points and the duo are only 5 points out of the money, so it does add up to be a big game. 

Anthony Stolarz (N/A) versus Alexandar Georgiev (N/A)
A pair of goalies, ripe for the picking in this week's Waiver Draft, will go head-to-head, trying to earn your approval in New York.  The injury-plagued Flyers will send Anthony Stolarz to the crease, while the Rangers have Alexandar Georgiev going for them.  Stolarz would probably now be considered the number four guy in Philly, while Georgiev has been a solid number two, so if you're looking for one, maybe the blue one is best.

Week Eighteen Waiver Draft (Jan 29)

It was the first official day of the Waiver Draft yesterday and we made some head way, but not without some of that good ol' fashioned waiting around.  We nearly made it out of the opening round, which was a soft goal for the pool on Monday, but we should be able to make some really good progress on Tuesday, since everyone has been paying some attention over the last few days.  Let's see how well Monday went then, eh?

Jesse kicked off Monday's action in the Waiver Draft with a defenseman swap, hoping that Niklas Kronwall will be dealt from a beleaguered Red Wings team to a contender and that he has an impact wherever he ends up.  Frankly, anyone was going to be better than Dan Hamhuis of the Predators, who he dropped for the swap.

Another season-long injury will come off the books next week, as Ryan's team parted ways with Nick Schmaltz of the Arizona Coyotes, who suffered a major knee injury.  Ryan was able to snag Colorado Avalanche forward J.T. Compher, who has been having a decent sophomore season with 20 points in 34 games, not a bad scoring rate at all.

A couple of weeks ago, Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal did take to the ice before a practice, but a concussion has set him back a little bit further and there doesn't appear to be a timetable for his return, so that made him an easy drop for Troy's team.  His replacement, Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi, trying to snake a Canucks player out of the list before a certain Canucks fan's pick.

Clayton's team is walking the fine line between the big leagues and the minors once again, as he dropped Drake Batherson, rookie forward for the Senators, now in the AHL, and picked up AHL All-Star and recent NHL scoring star, Brandon Pirri of the Vegas Golden Knights.  Pirri was a late call-up this season, due to the depth of the Vegas team, but has impressed since coming up and it looks like he may stay up as well.

Those Nashville Predators look to be a pretty strong club again this season, so Steve is going to stick with them as much as he can, dropping Austin Watson, who has been a bit of a disappointment, but picking up quite the opposite in Colton Sissons, who has turned it on in the middle portion of the season.  An upgrade up front is hardly ever a bad thing.

The last swap actually made on Monday belonged to Wes, as he mulled over his move for the better part of the afternoon/evening and finally ending up on Blake Coleman of the New Jersey Devils, who had been passed over nearly 20 times in this pool, coming in as one of the top ranked forwards available.  Coleman picked up a goal and an assist last night, not that they actually counted, but not a bad sign for Wes' team, which is in the running for the money.  He dropped Mark Jankowski of the Flames to pick him up.

We almost closed up the opening round, as three of the top four teams were ready to take a pass on this round, Kristy & Don, Stacey M. and Grant all opted to move through this opening round, since they don't really have much for holes in their lineups at this point in the year.  Unless they have a crystal ball that can foresee injuries, they are likely to live and die by the players they have.

Our pool leader, Stuart, has been mulling over goalie options, but he'll have to wait for the 2nd round before he can touch any of those that were dropped in the 1st round.