Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Mar 22)

It's a quiet night on the NHL schedule, but it's not short of intrigue in the hockey pool standings, as four of the top six teams in the pool, including 1st and 2nd, have goalies playing tonight.

Brian's team has been able to extend its lead over Dale B. to 9 points already this week, while Marcie's team of goons is still eyeing 3rd place, only 4 points out.  Eric's squad, the 6th place team in the standings, needs to reel in Marcie's team, as it has already found itself 5 points behind.

Frederik Andersen (Brian) versus Joonas Korpisalo (N/A)
Even if the Blue Jackets are indeed going to throw their back-up in the crease tonight, Frederik Andersen and the Leafs will still have a tough test with the playoff-bound Jackets, a team that has already clinched their spot in the Spring Dance.

Thomas Greiss (Dale B.) versus Antti Raanta (Stacey M.)
The Islanders are desperately trying to chase down the Leafs for the last wild card spot in the East and Thomas Greiss is going to have to be the guy that gets them there.  He gets the task of Antti Raanta and the Rangers tonight, who has already spoiled some hopes in this hockey pool already this season.  The cross town battle should be a good one!

Cam Talbot (Marcie) versus Jonathan Bernier (Eric)
This potential first round playoff match-up has it all!  Two teams nearing their playoff berths and two hockey pool teams trying to make their way to the money as well.  Marcie's team could move to the edge of the money with a win, while Eric's team could edge closer to Marcie's team with a win.  It's a pretty big game in the pool, I'd say.

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 22)

The PIM pool doesn't appear to be getting any more exciting, in all honesty.  Marcie's team continues to chip away at the minor penalties, keeping everyone else at bay.  Her team shares the weekly lead with Benson's team at 17 minutes, while Troy, her team's next closest competitor, has 11 minutes in the week and now sits 83 minutes back.  With two and a half weeks left to go in the season, this fight could already be over.

Oh hell, let's just hope that it isn't.

The Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets will have a fair amount of sway in the PIM pool tonight, as the biggest goon among all the leaders is Toronto's Matt Martin, trying to give hope to Troy's team for that last ditch effort for some money back.  Marcie's team has a lot to respond back with in this game, as her team has Nikita Zaitsev, Jake Gardiner and Connor Brown all playing for the buds as well.  One would have to think that there is a minor penalty or two in there somewhere.

The late game is the only other one of the three games on the schedule tonight that carries any weight tonight, as six skaters and two goalies are among the top six teams in the PIM pool are going to rumble. Marcie's team has Patrick Maroon and Ryan Kesler, while Troy has Jared Boll and Josh Manson, either/or are potential scratches.  These two teams should mix it up quite well, as it is a potential opening round match-up for the playoffs and getting acquainted early would be a huge plus.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 22)

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was held out of Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild, due to a bout of the flu.  He's currently listed as out day-to-day with the ailment.  The Sharks don't play again until Friday night in Dallas, so there should be more than enough time to rest up and get better, but that hasn't always been the case with the illnesses that have been floating around the NHL this season.

Grant's team is still eyeing a 15th place finish, to which his team is only 5 points back of in 19th, currently.  His team is off to a reasonable start at 7 points for the week, with plenty of games left in his projected column, but that's as exciting as it gets for his side, this late in the season.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Mar 21)

Well, Marcie got a shutout from Cam Talbot on Monday, picking up 4 points from one of her goalies to start off the week and that helped to vault her team back into 3rd place, as a part of a 7-point night.

Tuesday night will be a busy one, 11 games on the schedule, which means there should be plenty of play in the money races tonight.  So, let's go down the list, see what the money teams have to look forward to on this busy night.

Cam Ward (Brian) versus Reto Berra (N/A)
Brian saw his lead shrink by a point on Monday night, but he gets a chance to make that up and a little bit more with a Carolina Hurricanes start from Cam Ward.  At the opposite end, the Panthers are finally going to give Eric's goalie, James Reimer, a rest, sending Reto Berra to his first NHL start in quite some time.  This could bode well for Brian and the Hurricanes tonight.

Dale B. has neither the Islanders or the Ducks going tonight, but he doesn't really have much left with the Ducks, as John Gibson doesn't appear to be close to a return from his lower-body injury.

Louis Domingue (N/A) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Ryan)
IF the Arizona Coyotes opted to use Louis Domingue last night in Nashville, then it would be a much better match-up for the pool tonight in Tampa Bay, but Ryan's 4th place team will get a look from the Lightning crease, with Andrei Vasilevskiy in.  This is Marcie's only possible start and it is still possible that Mike Smith could show, but the Coyotes are not in any sort of race, so what's the point?

Steve Mason (Brenda & Seward) versus Michael Hutchinson (Grant)
The Philadelphia Flyers will have the first of two possible starts for the pool's second duo, as Steve Mason has been tapped for the Flyers' start in Winnipeg.  The competition will be Michael Hutchinson, who earned himself a second start with a big effort over the weekend, giving him back-to-back starts for the first time in recent memory.  Two teams with slim-to-no playoff hopes could make for a big game.

Ryan Miller (Brenda & Seward) versus Corey Crawford (Marcin)
The duo should get their second start, when the Canucks visit the Blackhawks tonight, sending Ryan Miller to the crease to take on Corey Crawford.  The duo now sit 3 points out of 3rd place and could use a couple of wins tonight to overtake Marcie's team, in theory, by just their goaltending alone.  A pretty tough task, as the Canucks are running a skeleton crew and the Blackhawks are sharpening up for the playoffs.

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 21)

It's been a while since I've done a PIM pool post, but since it is the last active mini-game left in the hockey pool, which will go right down to the bitter end, it might be a good time to have a quick peek.

Marcie's lead is now 79 minutes and Troy's team made the leap into 2nd place, finally!  Both Marcie and Troy's team each had good nights in the pool, finishing with 11 and 9 minutes, respectively, increasing the lead overall, but we still have a ways to go yet.

Let's not forget about Kristy & Don or Eric's team, which is still in the race, but they now trail Troy's team by a handful of minutes, while Derek B.'s team would really like to be in this race, but doesn't likely have enough to do it.

The headline game for the PIM pool tonight will go at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, where we have a trio of top goons facing off, in theory.  Assuming he isn't scratched, Troy should have Chris Thorburn going tonight, while Eric will have Dustin Byfuglien going for the host team tonight as well.  Kristy & Don will counter with Wayne Simmonds with the Flyers.  The Flyers are going to be desperate for points for a playoff spot, while the Jets have faint hopes of reaching the playoffs and could be a little bit ornery to get there.

The Atlantic Division will host a pretty big game in the PIM pool, as the Senators and Bruins will go head-to-head in the TD Garden tonight.  Two of the top 10 goons playing tonight belong to the Senators and they will both figure into the pool, as Senators defensemen Mark Borowiecki and Dion Phaneuf could very well be busy tonight, as the Bruins won't roll over.  Troy and Eric will be happy campers, if these two get into more than their fair share of tussles.  Kristy & Don have some potential for minutes in this game as well, with the acquisition of Alex Burrows to the Ottawa lineup.

The game between the Flames and Capitals could have been a gold mine for Derek B. tonight, but he'll only have one of his two key PIM producers playing in this one, as Tom Wilson will go for the Caps and Matthew Tkachuk will be up in the press box, serving the first game of his suspension.  Marcie will get one of her key producers going tonight with Calgary's Sam Bennett, he has been good for 71 PIM already this year.

The San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild are poised to play in St. Paul tonight and Kristy & Don may or may not have Ryan White in the Wild lineup, we're not entirely sure, but if he does, he'll be one of two key PIM players in this one, as Troy will have defenseman Matt Dumba in the lineup, who has been good for 57 minutes this season.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 21)

The Nashville Predators returned Craig Smith to the lineup after his one game healthy scratch over the weekend and that meant that veteran forward PA Parenteau went back upstairs to take his place.  Parenteau has been a healthy scratch more often than not since he has been acquired by the playoff-bound Predators.

The trade that sent Parenteau to the Predators certainly hasn't worked out for Tony, but what has worked out for him this season?  His team is now 4 points clear of 24th place today, which is one of the best spots he's been in this year.

Tkachuk Chucked for Chucking Elbows

On Monday night, the NHL Department of Player Safety came down on Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk for his elbow to the face of Drew Doughty on Sunday night.  Tkachuk was handed a 2-game ban for the play, which is outlined in the video below

Tkachuk has certainly been impressive in his rookie season with the Flames, picking up 13 goals and 46 points in 68 games, which has been good enough for 110th overall in pool scoring, including Monday night's action, and he ranks 6th among all rookies in pool scoring.

The real kick in the pants for Derek B. was that Tkachuk was not penalized on the play for that elbow, which could have cost him some time in the box, if caught, but now games missed lessened his chances at the PIM pool title, especially with his little agitator watching from the press box, both tonight in Washington and Thursday night in Nashville.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Mar 20)

Well, now that the goalie survivor pool is over and done with, we'll spend the last three weeks, when I feel like doing this post, concentrating on the money race. It is a good race, so it might keep my interest. Let's countdown the standings, see what we have... shall we?

Tuukka Rask (Troy) versus Frederik Andersen (Brian)
The first game on the docket has the Bruins in Toronto to take on the Leafs and Brian has a chance to pad his lead with a win by Andersen, but he gets to face the reigning Player of the Week in Brad Marchand.  Rask is one of the few players that Troy can actually count on for actual points and since Boston is on top of the Leafs in the standings, this isn't exactly a slam dunk for our pool leader.

Dale B. doesn't have a possible start on Monday, while Ryan's possible start is taken up by a dropped goalie in Buffalo.  Brenda & Seward are shut out of start possibilities tonight, as is Eric's team.

Mike Smith (Marcie) versus Pekka Rinne (Stacey M.)
The next mission for the goalie survivor champ is to play spoiler, starting right away, the night after taking the title, as her number one will go up against Marcie's number two goalie, in the first of two starts tonight for the 6th place team in the pool.  A win for Smith in Nashville, which isn't impossible, would go a long ways to shrink that gap to 3rd place.

Jonathan Quick (Kristy & Don) versus Cam Talbot (Marcie)
Marcie's second start comes from her number one goalie, getting the back half of a demoralized Kings team, one that suffered badly in Calgary on Sunday night.  This one seems like more of a home run swing for her team and making the money race far more interesting than what it was this morning, when I wrote the Newsletter.  This is definitely something to watch.