Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Dec 6)

It was a good night for the start of the survival pool in Week Nine, as both Mike and Troy already qualified with wins from Sergei Bobrovsky and Tuukka Rask, respectively.  Trying to finish off all the Waiver Draft stuff ensured that the goalie post wasn't coming yesterday, but who really missed it?

It's not as busy tonight, as it normally is on Tuesdays, only nine games on the schedule tonight, but there is a good chance that the three remaining teams in need of a win will get a crack at one tonight.

It'll be a rumble in Brooklyn, as the New York rivalry gets another turn tonight.  Grant gets a survival start out of this match-up, as he'll have Henrik Lundqvist going for the visiting side.  Expecting to oppose him in the Islanders net is Jaroslav Halak, going for Troy, who already qualified, as noted above.

Stacey M. might have an easy start to qualify for Week Ten, as her goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to get the start for the Nashville Predators with the lowly Avalanche in town for a game.  Semyon Varlamov will go for the Avs and Kristy & Don tonight, but he hasn't exactly been posting numbers worthy of much confidence this year.  It's by no means a slam dunk, but it could be a solid reverse lay-up, if all goes well.

The last of the three survival games is one of the later games on the schedule tonight, with the Flames invading the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, taking on the Stars.  Chad Johnson will provide the survival start for John S. tonight and he'll get opposition from Kari Lehtonen in the Dallas net, offering Dale C. another start.

The Oilers are in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres at it will be Marcie against Ryan in the hockey pool, vying for those crucial points, as Cam Talbot will take on Anders Nilsson tonight.  The two teams open the night in 11th and 12th, 4 points difference, so this is a potential swing game.

A definite swing game in the overall standings in Jersey tonight, as Clayton has Jacob Markstrom going for the Canucks and Stuart has Cory Schneider going for the Devils.  Stuart is in 13th, 1 point up on Clayton, who is officially in 15th to start the night.

The expectation tonight is James Reimer versus Steve Mason in Philadelphia tonight, when the Panthers and the Flyers clash.  Reimer gives a start to Eric, down in 20th place, taking on the reigning Mover & Shakers, Brenda & Seward.  15 points separate the two teams in the standings.

Waiver Draft pick Al Montoya will make his first start for the 3rd place team belonging to Marcin, while Jake Allen gets the nod for Mike, who sees his team 13 points behind the last money spot, but still has a spot in the survivor pool.  The Habs and Blues should provide for a good game tonight, albeit with the 2nd-best goalie match-up.

Stacey C. gets a key start in his chase for the money, as Petr Mrazek gets the call for the Red Wings in Winnipeg, when they play the Jets.  Tony and his band of unlucky pool players will send Connor Hellebuyck to the opposite net, as his team tries to overcome all that negativity this season.


Marcie and Scott will have their goalies go head-to-head in Chicago tonight, as the traveling Coyotes will take on the Blackhawks.  Mike Smith will go against Scott Darling, with the two pool teams only separated by 4 points at the start of play tonight.  The Blackhawks haven't been playing well and the Coyotes have a hot goalie, so this might not go the way you'd expect.

Noon Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 6)

The Ottawa Senators recalled Andrew Hammond from the AHL on Tuesday morning, ahead of the team taking off to California for a 3-game swing and they will be doing so without Craig Anderson, by the sound of things.  Anderson headed back home after the team's loss in Pittsburgh and the team continued on without him, which means Hammond should be backing up Mike Condon again.  The Senators will play Wednesday in San Jose and then a Saturday/Sunday back-to-back against Los Angeles and Anaheim on this trip.

Stacey C. will likely get two out of the three starts, if Anderson doesn't meet the team in one of those three stops, while Clayton gets a remote chance for a start on this chance, thanks to the recall.

Habs Lose Galchenyuk Indefinitely

On Sunday in Los Angeles, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk collided with Kings forward Anze Kopitar, having his right leg/knee clipped in the collision and as innocent as the collision appeared to be, the medical tests after the fact would suggest otherwise.

The Habs announced on Monday that the results of those tests will now keep Galchenyuk, the team's second-best player in the hockey pool this season, out of the lineup indefinitely.  Indefinitely could mean a few different things, like they just don't know how long, to the point that it could be short-term, or out for so long, it's hard to really say.

In 25 games this season, the 22-year old has 9 goals and 23 points, currently ranked 28th overall in pool scoring.

His projected games have already been taken off of Dale C.'s totals for the current week, but the 22nd placed team is likely to lose more ground on the money than gain, losing one of his team's top forwards.  Currently, Dale's team is 19 points clear of last place and 31 points back of the money and he was able to insert a couple of hotter scorers at the Waiver Draft, who might still help his cause somewhat.

Flyers Lose Read for a Month

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Monday that they will be without the services of forward Matt Read for the next four weeks, due to an upper-body injury suffered in Sunday afternoon's game in Nashville.

The Flyers haven't said anything to the effect of what the injury was, but he only managed to play three shifts in Sunday's game, before leaving and not returning.  Without any word, it's hard to gauge whether or not the injury is more significant than it is or if there is a chance he can return early.

In 27 games this season, Read has 4 goals and 10 points and as of Tuesday morning, was ranked 230th overall in pool scoring.  This will be the first action he'll be missing this season.

This is another unfortunate turn in the pool, for a player picked up in the Waiver Draft and having a delay in getting started for his new team.  Scott, our 8th placed team today, is only 10 points out of the money and in order to get Read, he had dropped a healthy Nail Yakupov in St. Louis.  Of course, Yakupov doesn't play every night, but there was at least going to be a chance for points.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 6)

After a fight with Anaheim's Kevin Bieksa on Sunday night, Flames forward Micheal Ferland left the game with an upper-body injury, not to return to the game. One quote seen after the game suggested that removing Ferland from the game was just precautionary and with the demotion of Hunter Shinkaruk to the AHL on Monday, it would suggest that the Flames didn't need another body around.  The Flames are in Dallas tonight, so we'll keep an eye on his availability.

Derek B. decided that Ferland would be a good addition to his team, but he isn't sure whether or not his new player will get to start for him on-time with this injury concern.  He would be considered day-to-day for now, but he wants him now.

Michael Grabner left the Rangers at the end of the weekend to attend to a death in the family, back in Austria, and he is expected to miss tonight's game, when the Rangers take on the Islanders in Brooklyn tonight.  He's currently considered day-to-day.

I am sure Stacey M. was definitely looking forward to cashing in on Grabner's goal scoring record, so far this season.  This appears it will be delayed by a few days, at least, but at least it shouldn't be an on-going or lingering issue.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Week Eight Waiver Draft (Dec 5)

We did it!  The Waiver Draft has concluded and even our basement dwelling teams were able to dispose of some of the extra injured players on their roster.

Last time I finished the post for this Waiver Draft, we still hadn't concluded the opening round of the draft, so let's see how that round finished off.

Scott went with the speedy winger in Montreal, Paul Byron, who isn't quite a rookie, nor is a Philadelphia Flyers player, but he has been a pretty good player, so far this season.  Scott may have dropped this week, but a boost to his offense can't hurt.

Marcin was running the first segment of the season with only one goalie, so he needed to change that for the upcoming segment.  Marcin also went to Montreal for his replacement, Al Montoya, who has done exceptionally well, in his limited action.

For the 2nd place team, Brian had a little bit of tinkering to do.  Jonas Brodin was his first little bit of tinkering, trying to get the best out of the limited blueline prospects available.  Brodin and the Wild have been impressing this season and Brodin is in the middle of it all.

Finally, to finish the first round, Benson had to drop one of the game's best players, due to a major injury, and he managed to snag Jesper Fast of the Rangers to help his cause.  Not sure how much help he'll be, but it'll be better than an injured player.

The second round, thankfully, moved much faster and it kicked off right away with Troy moving to the goon market thoroughly, picking up defenseman Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks.  Manson has posted some points, but his time in the box is what he wanted the most.

Wes had a big hole on his blueline, but he opted to take one of the hidden gems for the blueline in Michael Del Zotto of the Flyers, who got off to a late start, due to injury.  Wes was definitely trying to get his team back into respectable territory with his picks.

After a solid World Cup performance, Dennis Seidenberg finally got the call for the hockey pool, as Tony tried to improve his blueline with a little bit more of a veteran presence.  The Islanders have been doing well with their free agent pick-up as well.

Ryan Dzingel has got to be the year's most fun name to say in the NHL and Dale C. tried to improve his forwards with the pick-up of the young forward.  The Ottawa forward has been finding on his way onto the scoresheet more and more often.

The 30th pick slot in the draft belonged to Brenda & Seward, who needed an improvement on their blueline as well, opting for Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning, who was fresh off the Injured Reserve as well this week.  Philly is boasting quite the blueline these days.

The PIM pool leaders only did a marginal job trying to hold on to the title, with one team in particular trying to catch up to them.  Kristy & Don used their second pick for another forward, taking Vancouver's Alex Burrows, who does get into some trouble, from time-to-time, but I wouldn't say he was a goon.

Eric's team fell back a bit in the week, but he has also opted to try and take advantage of some of that new found Minnesota Wild offense, taking forward Jason Zucker.  His team is 31 points back of the money, but a couple of clever picks could shorten that gap up a bit.

Grant voluntarily opted to take a pass in the 2nd round as well, hoping that his team could turn this season around, as it was drafted.

Jeremy lost one of his key defensemen to a long-term injury and needed a quick solution.  He went to the offensive hot bed of the Dallas Stars and the older brother of the pair, Jordie Benn, to try and help his scoring woes.  It's a good thing this pool isn't about defense or that we are relying on the plus/minus stat, because you won't get results for that in the Big D.

One of last year's participants in the PIM pool, Derek B., isn't necessarily going for the title again this year, but he did switch one grinding forward for another, trying to make sure his name stays close to the top of the race.  Derek chose Flames forward Micheal Ferland as his 2nd round pick, which could work in his favour.

Stacey M. was obviously happy enough with her team, that she opted not to make a second move at the Waiver Draft.

Clayton, on the other hand, probably should have improved his goaltending, but since there was nothing on the list, he went ahead and looked to improve his forwards.  He picked up a second rookie forward in Tampa's Brayden Point, trying to make up for his lack of goaltending.

On Stuart's team, his defense was what he identified as a problem spot, so he took on Calvin de Haan to his team.  The Islanders haven't exactly been shooting the lights out, but his previous defenseman was floundering in Colorado, so there is a slight improvement.

Dale B. was really looking forward to snagging Point, but since he wasn't available two picks later, he opted to go with one of the Stars' top forwards, Devin Shore, who has seen some time in the top six and put points up there.

Josh Anderson's name popped up a few times in people's selection e-mails, but Mike was the top dog, able to snag him with the 40th overall pick in the draft.  The Blue Jackets forward did well to post both points and penalty minutes in the first segment.

Mike Condon was another name bandied about, all throughout the draft, but people just were not sure about how many minutes he would get, but it seems safe to say that he is the solid number two now in Ottawa.  Stacey C. will look to him for an improvement to his crease.

The picking were sure getting slim, especially on the blueline, as Ian Cole was the favourite of a few teams in the back half of the draft.  Cam was able to snag him in the 2nd round, replacing an underachiever on his side.

Ryan needed to replace a concussed defender and as much as he was eyeing up Cole, he had to settle for Toby Enstrom of the Winnipeg Jets, who hasn't quite had the same impact as previous years.  Still, he's better than a guy out indefinitely.

Wilton was also looking to move a defenseman, but between Cole and Enstrom going, he opted to move an underachieving forward instead, hoping for a few more points.  Enter Colin Wilson of the Predators, as his Blue Jackets forward that he dropped, wasn't joining in much of those high scoring games.

John S. ditched one of the young Coyotes to go with one of the old Flames players, adding a little more of a veteran presence to his team in Kris Versteeg.  Versteeg has been able to chip in here and there and now that the team is starting to roll, he'll be a part of it, for sure.

I think the Carolina Hurricanes have been an underappreciated team this season, but Marcie added one, the only team to do so in the Waiver Draft, picking up Viktor Stalberg, who has been reasonable to start the season, both with points and the odd minor penalty here and there.

Scott didn't disappoint, taking one of his favourites, Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Dale C. was nice enough to mention that he was leaving Read for Scott, some 16 picks ahead of where Scott was drafting.  That was awfully thoughtful, no?

The concussion was starting to plague Marcin's team and he opted to move one of those guys and he may have got himself a bargain with the selection of Andrew Cogliano.  No one seemed to want the Anaheim forward, just no faith that he can keep up what he was doing perhaps?

Brian was skulking around a defenseman who was dropped in the 2nd round, it was hard to say who it was, but he ended up with Dan Girardi of the Rangers instead.  It could have been a Pittsburgh defenseman, maybe one from Colorado... it's just hard to say.

Benson didn't have to make another move, as his team was rolling and healthy after his first drop and pick, so that was that for him.

Then we moved onto the bonus round, where three teams, all near the bottom, made good use of this round to move some injured players for some healthy players.

Tony added forward Dustin Brown of the Kings and goalie Anthony Stolarz of the Flyers, just making the best of a bad situation.  Troy added a couple more PIM prone forwards in Matt Martin of the Leafs and Chris Thorburn of the Jets, while Wes just wanted another body in his lineup, taking Patrick Wiercioch of the Avalanche.

And then... I rested.  Well, until I had to put all of these guys into their respective teams.  That wasn't resting at all.

Bring on Week Seventeen, right?

Week Eight Newsletter



Well, that was a long week... and now combined with just coming back to work, after having that week off, we're a bit delayed with all of the updates, but we're a go here.  All of our Waiver Draft picks will go active this week, it's just hard to say whether or not they will go live today, due to timing.



There were a couple of goalies that led the charge in the final week of the first segment of the season, but with an undefeated record of 4-0-0 in the week, Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers gets the honour of being Player of the Week in Week Eight, just edging out Chad Johnson of the Calgary Flames.

With Michal Neuvirth out injured, the Flyers are leaning heavily on Mason and rightfully so, by the look of things.  Wins against Boston, Ottawa, Chicago and Nashville made up his week and it now lifted him up to 19 points on the year, now ranked 68th overall in pool scoring.

His most impressive win of the week was certainly the 45-save overtime effort against the Bruins.

And guess what...

On the shoulders of the Player of the Week, Brenda & Seward also captured the Mover & Shaker nod of the week.  I would have preferred to split the winner of each up, but Mason won the tie-breaker fair and square, so the duo gets both nods.  I'm pretty sure John S. doesn't even read the blog, so he wouldn't know if he won it or not.

The race in Week Eight wasn't even a close one, as the duo set a new season-high in points with 37 and they were 9 points better than the next two teams right below him.

There's still a lot of moving to be had, even though there has been a bit of separation in the standings, as Brenda & Seward went from 21st to 11th in a matter of a week, but again... it was the strongest week we've seen, compared to other teams in the pool this season.

Besides having the Player of the Week, they were also blessed with Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, who had 6 points, while Logan Couture of the Sharks and Ryan Miller of the Canucks each pulled 4 points out of the week.  Only one of their players finished with no points in the week and it should come as no surprise that he was one of their Waiver Draft drops.

Now, with their big week under their belt and their new players going active on Monday night, they can look at that 18-point gap that they have between their team and 3rd place and it looks a lot less daunting.

It's also the first instance where we've seen a team go from the Mover & Shaker to the Basement Dweller, in a matter of a week.  Wilton fell out of the top 10 in Week Eight, dropping from 7th place to 15th place, thanks to only 13 points.  On the plus side, not many teams had all that great of weeks, so he is only 9 points out of 7th place, where he finished the week before, which is a total his team can definitely make up.

Five players on his team finished with 2 points each, but his goalies were not one of those players, which really let his team down.  His best player, Craig Anderson, only played in one game in the week, before heading back home and that really set his week back.

Derek upgraded his forwards in the week, taking a couple of underachievers and replaced them with a couple of more consistent players, now he just needs that extra stroke of luck to get those extra points to lift his team back into contention.

Just as a side note, his team was also worst in the pool in the plus/minus department in the week, dropping 16 points in the week and his team is now a pool-low, -26 rating.  By comparison, Marcin's team, which still sits in 3rd place, leads the pool with a +53 rating.

Benson's team opened up a bit bigger of a lead in the week, finishing the week with a 5-point lead over Brian.  His team also put 4 more points between his and Marcin's 3rd place team, now sitting at 14 points between the two sides.

John S. now leads all the contenders for a money spot, sitting in 4th place, 7 points back of Marcin, while Stacey C., Scott, Dale B. and Cam are not too far behind either.

Now that we've passed through the Waiver Draft, this is where the PIM Pool really gets exciting.  Kristy & Don still have a lead, sitting atop with 207 minutes in penalties, but Marcie made a move for a stronger presence with Patrick Maroon, while Troy, who sits 107 minutes back, did a huge swap and is now really going to try and push for the title himself.  He added guys like Antoine Roussel, Josh Manson, Matt Martin and Chris Thorburn, those 107 minutes could disappear quickly.  Stay tuned!

It was a devastating week in the goalie survivor pool, as the audit revealed that three teams were eliminated from the pool in Week Eight, leaving us with only five teams vying for the title.

Stuart, Wilton and Jeremy were all knocked out in the week, as their goalies were unable to post a W in Week Eight.  Stuart was relying upon Cory Schneider of the Devils, while Wilton had Craig Anderson of the Senators and Jeremy had Braden Holtby of the Capitals as his number one, none of which were able to post a win.

This leaves Mike, John S., Grant, Troy and Stacey M. to vie for the title and win their money back.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

In the week of looking to replace some of our pool's duds, scoring was able to go up a bit, from 11.1 points to 11.4 points, even with our pool participation down in both skater games and goalie minutes.  Our guys were on point this week and now we're hoping for a little bit more this coming week.

Thankfully, we're getting some more goalies activated in the pool, as our participation in the crease was at a season-low, as our pool averaged 95.5 minutes worth of action out of the 50 NHL games in the week.

NEWS AND NOTES

An upper-body injury was the cause of Rickard Rakell's absence on Sunday night, when the Ducks were in Calgary to take on the Flames. There's a good chance that they missed the offense out of their leading goal scorer, as they dropped the game, 8-3.  It could have also have been, they missed some defensive structure as well, but that might not have been Rakell's forte.

For Dale C., this shouldn't be a reason to panic, as this is just a day-to-day issue by all initial reports.  We'll keep the blog posted, if anything more comes out of this situation.

It was another game where the regular back-up got the night off for the New York Islanders, as Thomas Greiss was sent up to the press box for a complete night off, when the Islanders took on the Red Wings.  Jaroslav Halak got the start and J-F Berube was the back-up.  Berube has yet to appear in a game, other than being a benchwarmer, but this 3-goalie system is a bit absurd, if you ask me.

It's not a missed start for Dale B., but it just gets reported, as he was technically a scratch.

The Tampa Bay Lightning also made Jonathan Drouin into a late scratch on Sunday, due to an undisclosed injury, and there have been no updates after the fact on Monday.  He's currently listed as out day-to-day and we'll be keeping an eye on this, as it develops.

This might have been one of those injuries that Wes could have taken care of on Sunday, but if it is just a day-to-day injury, it probably isn't worth finding someone else to fill the spot, no matter how poor his numbers are to start the season.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Dec 4)

All of the Waiver Draft waiting and other plans that happened during the week, really limited my time on the blog, but we'll get a quick goalie update in.

It's a busy Sunday with seven games on the docket, but none of them are survival games, which is bad news for a couple of teams, who couldn't make it out of Saturday's night schedule with a much-needed win.  I will certainly go into more detail about that in Monday's Newsletter.

We have an early start to the schedule today, so we'll go with the goalies that we expect to start, not all of them have been confirmed at this point in time.

In the early afternoon game, the Montreal Canadiens are in La-la Land to take on the Kings and we're expecting a pretty good game here.  Carey Price, although unconfirmed, should get the call for the Habs, while Peter Budaj is expected to take to the net for the Kings.  These are two of the top goalies in pool scoring, so far this season, and could end up being a good battle.

It's a shame for Wes that Budaj isn't active today, but I suppose there is no guarantee for a win, with Benson's top pick going at the other side.  Next week, however, that's when Budaj's numbers start to shine in the pool.

This afternoon in Raleigh, the expectation is that we'll see Andrei Vasilevskiy going for the Lightning, while Cam Ward should be getting the nod for the Hurricanes tonight.  Tampa is on back-to-backs today, while the Hurricanes had the day off on Saturday, so the goalie match-up makes sense.

This means Ryan versus Brian in the pool here in this game.  Ryan needs a big game from his Tampa keeper, as he is leading the Basement Dweller conversation and he doesn't need that mention on his record this year.

The Nashville Predators will play back-to-back today as well, as they played host to the Devils last night and will host again, with the Flyers in town.  It hasn't been confirmed, but we are expecting to see Steve Mason against Juuse Saros for this game, given the situations of both teams.

Brenda & Seward's team should have their goalie going for the visitors tonight, looking to set a season-high for points in the pool, as they are on the brink of a Mover & Shaker nod and one of the best weeks this season.  A road win would put a cherry on top of this week.

The Detroit Red Wings gave Jared Coreau the the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, so they have left Petr Mrazek to take on the New York Islanders tonight in Brooklyn.  The Islanders didn't play on Saturday, but their goaltending situation hasn't exactly been crystal clear these days and either goalie, Jaroslav Halak or Thomas Greiss could easily go.  I think the Islanders have proven me wrong on some of my guesses a few times already this year, so I hesitate to do so again.

Mrazek should be going, which is good news for Stacey C., while Halak could go for Troy or Greiss could easily go for Dale B..  Either way, it's all pool goalies in this one.

No Corey Crawford means that Scott Darling will likely be going on back-to-back nights, although that is still unconfirmed.  The Blackhawks have called up Lars Johansson, but it would seem like a stretch for him to make his NHL debut so quickly.  At the other side, we're expecting Connor Hellebuyck, as the Jets are also playing on back-to-back days and the Jets already saw Michael Hutchinson this weekend.

Hellebuyck will go for Tony today, while Darling belongs to Scott... 23rd place versus 7th.  The Waiver Draft will hopefully help that cause out a bit.

The Anaheim Ducks will be operating on back-to-back nights, so it should come as no surprise that Jonathan Bernier gets the start for the visiting Ducks, when they invade the Saddledome. The Flames are expected to keep running with the hot hand in Chad Johnson, trying to capitalize on a tired traveling team.

For a pool match-up, this is Eric versus John S., in a bit of a standings mismatch, 20th versus 4th.

The Minnesota Wild will take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Rogers Place and the traveling Wild will suit up their number one, Devan Dubnyk, most likely against Jonas Gustavsson, as Cam Talbot faced the Ducks last night in a late one.

This makes two starts for John S. tonight and he runs unopposed in the pool, as Gustavsson wasn't taken in the draft, nor did anyone take him in the Waiver Draft.  With the number of starts Talbot has made and will continue to make, the Monster's stock isn't all that high.