Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pre-Game Notes for Thursday Night (Mar 31)

The Tampa Bay Lightning are expected to activate Ryan Malone off the Injured Reserve on Thursday to join the line-up for their game against the Penguins, hoping to clinch their spot in the playoffs.  Malone has been out of the line-up for much longer than anyone anticipated, but with limited information available, there was nothing that could be said towards Malone's injury.  Malone was dealing with a torso injury, that had been bothering him for almost ten weeks now.  A significant amount of time off, to say the least.

Neil B. will be happy to see Malone back, but it will be too little, too late, as it looks like Neil has found his spot for the final couple weeks in 18th spot.  There is too much of a buffer on either side of him to likely move before the end of the season, next weekend.

The defense in Washington is taking another hit, as Dennis Wideman is not expected to be in the line-up for a little while.  Wideman has now been listed as out week-to-week with a lower-body injury and he won't be in the line-up for at least the next week, the last few days of the regular season look rather doubtful and I would guess that the start of the playoffs will be questionable.  Going on what few details there have been, this all seems reasonable.

This won't affect the rest of the season for Allan S., who has all but won the draft pool officially.  This is just a side note to the regular season, but it should be noted for the playoffs.  Wideman will be an important piece of the Capitals run, if they are going to make one.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Elimination-less on Wednesday Night, Big Thursday Coming

It was yet another night where the games that would eliminate teams did not work out the way they could have to eliminate a couple of teams last night. Both Buffalo and New Jersey won their games, keeping the Devils alive and the Blues decimated the Red Wings, keeping them alive for yet another day. The Hurricanes even laid a lickin' on the Canadiens, which kept the Lightning from clinching their playoff spot, so there was nothing new to really report for the playoff pool from Wednesday night.

The Lightning do get a chance to clinch by their own hands tonight, as they host the Penguins for a chance to clinch.  Tampa will need the 2 points out of the game, no matter if it's regulation, overtime or shootout win, 2 points will put them over the top on Thursday night.

In other clinching news, the San Jose Sharks can clinch their playoff spot, becoming the second West team to do so, with a regulation win over the Dallas Stars tonight, the team they need to leapfrog in the math department for clinching.  A regulation win will give the Sharks the tie-break over the Stars in shootout adjusted wins and the spot.

As for eliminations, the Thrashers can finally claim in their place in the ground with a loss (either regulation or overtime) to the Flyers tonight.  The regulation loss would set their maximum potential points down to 86 and the last playoff team in the East already has 87 points, while the overtime loss would knock their max potential to 87 and they would also lose on shootout adjusted wins in the first tie-breaker.  A win would keep them alive.

In the West, the Blue Jackets are on the bubble against the Capitals and it wouldn't take much to burst this bubble.  The Jackets do not have the tie-break in shootout adjusted wins, so a loss in overtime would do the trick.  A regulation loss would help as well, of course.

The Minnesota Wild are close to the bubble as well, as they'll host the Oilers, but they cannot be eliminated tonight, even with a regulation loss.  A regulation loss would still have them technically in, thanks to the adjusted wins tie-break, they could survive with winning outright and the Blackhawks losing the final six games of the season.  Hardly likely, but that is the case.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are much in the same boat as the Wild and they travel to Boston for a game against the Bruins.  Their death points is down to 4, but with the Rangers and Sabres both at 87 points going into tonight, they still have some hope that the Rangers will lose versus the Islanders and a win over the Bruins could give them a bit more hope.  A loss would still send their death points down to 2, which means another loss would sink them.

The Bruins could clinch the Northeast Division crown tonight with a win over the Leafs, as they will better the maximum amount of points the Canadiens can get this season.  The Northeast Division will guarantee the Bruins in 3rd place in the East and home ice in the first round, guaranteed.

Sheet Player News (Mar 31)

It appears that Box 8 forward Dan Sexton was a healthy scratch for the Ducks on Wednesday night, as they took on the Flames in a pivotal game for playoff hopes. It turned out to be a move that may have helped, as the Ducks took the game, 4-2, no word on whether or not this will keep Sexton out of the line-up for any more time or not yet.

The New York Islanders were without their Calder Trophy candidate on Wednesday night, as Michael Grabner was out of the line-up, attending to his wife, who was expecting their first child. No word as to whether or not everything happened according to plan yet, so his presence in Thursday night's game remains up in the air.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miller Not Expected Tonight

Big news over the wire on Wednesday afternoon, as the Buffalo Sabres will be starting Jhonas Enroth against the Rangers, as Ryan Miller will be out due to an undisclosed injury.  As the post linked above states, the injury is thought to be of the upper-body variety, but that has not been confirmed as of yet.  For the purposes of what to put down on the injury page, Miller will be day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

With the Sabres only 3 points up on 9th place Carolina, this could be big news, especially if they're goaltending situation beyond Miller cannot pick up some slack and get some wins for the team.  The Sabres could do themselves a big favour by jumping past the Rangers with a regulation win, but the Blueshirts are hot going into this evening's tilt, so it will be interesting to see.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Benson G. is only trailing the last money position by 5 points going into Wednesday's action and missing out on a Miller start is potentially damaging.  If the injury is more substantial than one start, this could drown money hopes for Benson, especially with John P. coming up with a massive week already.

Link to the Injury/News Page

No Eliminations Last Night, Two Tonight?

Tuesday night was kind of disappointing when it came to the playoff picture, since nobody clinched (lookin' at you, Tampa), while both the Blackhawks and Sabres lost last night, giving three teams an extra game of hope that there might still be something left in the tank for them.  Some might think the hope is a good thing, but my team is already in and the playoff pool needs some finality to it all, so I'm hoping for results.

Okay, the Lightning have the chance to clinch their playoff spot again tonight, but not by their own hand.  The Carolina/Montreal game will decide the immediate fate of the Lightning, as the Hurricanes are holding down the 9th spot and an out right loss would mean that they cannot catch the Lightning.  An overtime/shootout loss would still give them tie-breaking abilities, but that's about it.

Also in the East, the Devils can be eliminated with a regulation loss to the Islanders tonight and a point for the Sabres in their game versus the Rangers.  The Devils still have a tie-break chance if the Sabres were to lose to the Rangers in regulation, but a point would seal the deal, assuming the Devils lose as well.  I have a feeling that the Devils will live to fight another day.

In the West, the Blues have the tough task of playing the Red Wings in Detroit tonight, where even an overtime loss will seal their fate.  St. Louis is only holding on to a fishing line of hope, with the same amount of potential points, currently the same potential shootout adjusted wins (if St. Louis wins out and Chicago loses) and if St. Louis was to win out, they would have to beat Chicago one more time, giving them the edge in the third tie-break, which is results against one another.  Great stuff there.  Again, all it takes is a loss in overtime for St. Louis and they are finished.

In the other games, the Rangers and Sabres could do each other a favour tonight and go to overtime, making things more difficult for the teams below them.  Carolina and Toronto are definitely hoping for a regulation result, more so for the Rangers, keeping their hopes of catching 8th alive.  Calgary hosts Anaheim to keep their slim hopes alive.  Their death number is 4 regulation losses in their last five games.  Anaheim to clinch their spot is still 11 points, for 6 wins to control their own fate.  This game has the ability to keep the crazy locked in or create some breathing space.

Looks like scoreboard watching will be fun again tonight!

Sheet Player News (Mar 30)

Reports out of the Thrashers organization are saying that Box 22 forward Radek Dvorak suffered an upper-body injury early on Tuesday night against the Canadiens and didn't return.  There were no other updates to his condition available on Wednesday morning, but we'll consider him day-to-day if he isn't able to go on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

The Penguins are starting to get healthy again, mostly in their depth player more than their superstars, but every little bit helps.  Mike Comrie, who returned from hip surgery on the weekend, was made a healthy scratch on Tuesday night, making room for Mark Letestu, who had come back from an injury as well.  Comrie didn't play too much in his return and was likely slotted into the line-up because of their injury situation.  I would expect some more practice for Comrie before jumping back in.

There are also reports out today that Box 25 forward, Eric Tangradi, is almost ready to return to the line-up soon, as he has been out with a concussion, since big dust-up between the Penguins and Islanders, that resulted in all of those suspensions.  Tangradi is just waiting for the green light for game action from team doctors and that might not be too far away.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pre-Game Notes for Tuesday Night (Mar 29)

The Atlanta Thrashers will not have Anthony Stewart in their line-up for tonight's game against the Canadiens.  Stewart had reportedly ran into some issues with his travel documentation, which wouldn't allow him to cross the border for their visit to Montreal.  Instead, he'll be meeting the team on their next stop in Philadelphia.

This is considered to be a man-game lost to Leon G. tonight, who picked up Stewart in the second waiver draft this season.

The word out of the Panthers organization is that Tomas Vokoun will miss tonight's tilt against the Blue Jackets, because of his sore back. Tyler Plante has been recalled to back up Scott Clemmensen tonight in the game. Vokoun is considered day-to-day with this injury, questionable for their next game.

Chris M., trying to gain ground on the duo for 2nd in the standings, will be missing out on a key start for Vokoun, one that he had a good chance of winning and posting a couple points.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Islanders Extend Montoya's Stay

The New York Islanders have announced on Tuesday afternoon that they have re-signed goaltender Al Montoya to a new 1-year contract extension, which is also a one-way deal, which means he'll get the security of being paid his full amount (which wasn't disclosed), whether he plays with the Islanders or their farm team.  This is usually a sign that he is an appreciated member of the team and should find a place on the squad next season.

Since being acquired by the Islanders in early February, Montoya has appeared in their crease 17 times and amassed a record of 8-4-4 with 1 shutout and 1 assist, giving him 19 points in pool scoring this year.  Against the rest of the league, Montoya ranks 404th in scoring, 53rd among all goalies, which is pretty good considering he wasn't active until February.

Currently, the Islanders have Rick DiPietro, Kevin Poulin and Mikko Koskinen also signed to deals for next season and they also have the possibility of invoking the clause that will carry over Evgeni Nabokov's 1-year deal, which he signed in Detroit, claimed by the Islanders through European waiver rules and wasn't honoured by reporting by Nabokov.  Of course, I would think that if the Islanders do invoke that clause, it will be to find a deal with another NHL club and get something for him, not to actually see him play.  Nevertheless, the crease will be a busy one come training camp, but right now, I would say DiPietro and Montoya now lead the way in forward thinking.

Tuesday's Playoff Pool Implications

It's going to be a busy night in the NHL on Tuesday, as 11 games will go and a number of them have playoff ramifications associated with them. I have some extra time, so I thought I would have a look and see who can clinch and who can be knocked out.  Generally speaking, if the swing is 4 points either way, they should be considered to be clinching or eliminating worthy.

Only one team has the ability to clinch a playoff spot tonight and that honour belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they can clinch with a win (including shootout) over the Senators and a Hurricanes regulation loss to the Capitals tonight.  If only one of those situations happens tonight, Tampa will have to wait an extra game to get it done, at the very least.

It isn't exactly a playoff spot, but the Canucks can clinch the Western Conference (home-ice advantage through the first three rounds) by just making it to overtime or better tonight.  They just need one point against the Predators in Nashville to do that.

With a Blackhawks win over the Bruins, it will automatically eliminate both the Blue Jackets and the Blues, regardless of their results tonight.  Neither Columbus or St. Louis can top 91 points and a Chicago win will bring them to 92.  If the Blues were to beat the Wild tonight, plus a Blackhawks win, Minnesota would be on death's door, holding on to the adjusted wins tie-breaker as their slight possibility of staying in.

In the East, the Devils will not be eliminated from post-season contention, but will be put on death's door with a Sabres win over the Leafs.  The Sabres will jump the Rangers into 7th, leaving the Devils with a tie-breaking possibility on the Rangers for their playoff.  For all intensive purposes, winning outright is going to be next-to-impossible for the Devils, but as math states, they'll still be in.

And there you have it.  Only a couple teams can be shaved, but the teams will start falling off much faster now.

Blues Give Oshie 2 Games

An unexcused (and unspecified) absence from Blues practice on Monday has cost T.J. Oshie the next couple of games as punishment.  The Blues decided to suspend Oshie on Tuesday morning, meaning that the young forward will miss tonight's game at home to Minnesota and tomorrow's game in Detroit for his behaviour.  The Blues can be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs tonight, meaning they have little hope of running the table anyway, but being MIA from practice will usually get a player into a whole heap of trouble regardless.

xA broken ankle kept Oshie out of the Blues line-up for an extended period of time, limiting the dynamic forward to only 44 games this season, where he has scored 10 goals and added 20 assists, for a decent scoring pace, but it could have been better without missing time and possibly being 100%.  Oshie will be a key part of the Blues' success going forward and a little hiccup like this likely won't cause too many problems.

ImplicationsOshie was originally a draft pick of Dale B.'s this season, but since the ankle injury happened early enough for the first waiver draft, he was dropped like a hot potato.  It wasn't until the second waiver draft was he picked up again, taken by Clayton C., who has collected 17 points in 24 games since the second waiver draft, making him a pretty decent pick-up.  Clayton is nowhere near any of the races, so this is just a mention, more than impact paragraph.

Since the Blues should be eliminated from the playoffs in the next game or two, Oshie's participation in the playoff pool will be nil.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Shutting Down a Couple Players

The Los Angeles Kings confirmed on Monday afternoon that Anze Kopitar has sustained some ligament damage  with his broken ankle and he will require surgery, forcing his absence to run right into the Summer, likely being 100% or very close to it for training camp next season.  This was not the news the team was looking for, as they were hopeful that they could last a month into the playoffs and possibly get their best player back, but that won't be the case.

On Tuesday morning, the New York Islanders have announced that they won't be activating Doug Weight in the last couple weeks of the season.  Weight has been dealing with back problems since the early part of the year and hasn't played since the middle of November, only getting in 18 games and picking up 9 points in the process.  Somehow, the retirement post for Weight doesn't seem too far away.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Scratches From Anaheim

The Ducks moved one step closer to clinching their playoff spot with a win at home to the Avalanche on Monday and they did it all without their number one goalie and one of their bigger defensemen.

Jonas Hiller and Andy Sutton were held out of the Ducks line-up as scratches, likely for different reasons.  Hiller has struggled with his vertigo and lightheadedness and I would imagine that he isn't terribly fit to even serve as back-up at the moment, while Sutton hasn't been the sharpest of the Ducks defense and he's already seen his fair share of time in the press box this season.

Hiller has only made 49 appearances, thanks to his vertigo symptoms this year, symptoms, which I believe, are being called vertigo to escape the taboo of concussions.  Only three appearances since the 25th of January is making it very hard to believe it is anything else, especially with some extended stints in between appearances.  In his 49 games played, Hiller has a record of 26-16-3 with 5 shutouts and 1 assist for 63 points, currently ranking 43rd in pool scoring before Monday night's action.  Hiller was on track to a top 20 finish in pool scoring before the injury problems occurred and I would be surprised if he got another start before the end of the year.

Sutton has only appeared in 39 games for the Ducks this season, being healthy for the bulk of the season and being a scratch to miss most of his games lost, picking up only 4 assists in the year.  With still one more year on his contract, he'll have to find a new home over the Summer or else I don't think he'll be much of an asset to anyone's pool team in Anaheim.

ImplicationsHiller is the only one of these two that is active in the draft and even if Sutton was taken during the draft, he would have been dropped early for a lack of production anyways.  Hiller belongs to Kristy and Don's team, a team that is currently holding the 2nd place position through Monday night's action.  Their lead was shaved down to 16 points, but they do have some man games available going into Tuesday night's busy time, so I imagine they'll be putting some padding on that lead, even without Hiller.  They have made it this far without their top goalie, why stop now?

A couple of weeks ago, I did include Hiller on the playoff pool sheet, in hopes that he would be better for a playoff run.  That isn't to say he won't be, but the longer he stays out of the Ducks line-up, the more skeptical I become about his condition.  He may be a good goalie to avoid this year.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hamhuis Concussed Again

Bad news out of the Canucks dressing room after their 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Sunday night, defenseman Dan Hamhuis has been diagnosed with his second concussion of the season, which he suffered in a mid-ice collision with Rick Nash and teammate Kevin Bieksa.  Hamhuis will be out of the Canucks line-up for at least a week, but officially he's out indefinitely, with the concussion and any update likely won't come for at least the required week.

It hasn't been a great year for Hamhuis in his first season with the Canucks, his games missed have really added up and affected his overall scoring numbers.  Hamhuis has likely finished his 2011 regular season with only 63 games this year, scoring 6 goals and adding 17 assists for 23 points.  That ranks him 348th in overall scoring this season, 64th among all defensemen.  Overall in the rankings, 64th isn't too bad, but there were some higher expectations going into the season.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Hamhuis is still an active player on Leon G.'s team, which currently sits in 10th place in the standings.  Leon sits only 3 points out of 9th and 13 points up on 11th, so there is some room to move.  Not sure the Hamhuis is the lynch pin of any movement, but it's just another body out of his line-up, which could mean points.

Thanks to a lack of production and some concussion issues, Hamhuis was not included on the playoff pool sheet and it looks like the right decision after this new concussion has dropped.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Pre-Game Notes for Monday Night (Mar 28)

The Red Wings are expecting to have Johan Franzen back in their line-up tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.  Franzen has been dealing with a groin injury over the last week, but has now been given the green light to play again.  Of all the injured players on the list in Detroit, Franzen is the only one expected back on Monday, but both Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard are not very far behind.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Bruins Clinch, No Eliminations Tonight

Yes, the Boston Bruins were able to clinch their playoff spot on Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Flyers, sealing them in as the fourth Eastern Conference team to clinch.  The Bruins hold a 7-point edge on the Canadiens in the Northeast Division race, working their magic number down to three (estimated) for the title.  If they can continue this roll they are on, they may be able to catch Washington, who only lead by 4 points, but they have been hot as well, even without Alex Ovechkin.

Only two games on the Monday schedule and both are Western Conference games.  The Blackhawks and Red Wings go head-to-head, while the Avalanche travel to Anaheim for a game against the Ducks.

The Blackhawks and Red Wings could put some added pressure on the teams on the outside looking in on the playoff picture tonight, because if Chicago wins, they will be 3 points up on Calgary and 4 points up on Dallas, tightening the grip on a playoff berth.  If Chicago was to beat Detroit in regulation, the Canucks would also clinch home-ice through the Western Conference playoff picture.

If the Red Wings were to win, this would give the 9th and 10th place teams a little bit more hope, especially Dallas, who will then have a game in hand over the Blackhawks and only a 2-point deficit.  The Red Wings would not be able to clinch their spot tonight, however, but their magic number would drop down to three.

The Ducks are poised to strengthen their hold on a playoff spot with a visit from the lowly Avalanche tonight.  The Ducks have a 2-point and 2-game cushion on the Flames and a win would also put them in the conversation for home-ice in the 1st round of the playoffs, bringing themselves only 1 point back of the Kings and 2 points back of the Coyotes.

The Avalanche are long since dead... no more needs to be said about that.

Week Twenty-Five Newsletter

Newsletter Header

With only two weeks left to go on the schedule, there doesn't seem to be too much to be decided, other than some late spots in the the money and the NHL playoff race, but that doesn't mean that it all isn't exciting.

The lead in one pool is pretty safe, while the second pool has room for a dramatic finish.  The other money spots have been rather stagnant, but miracles can happen in the last couple weeks, not to say that they have in the past, it's just a theory I'm working on.

If your pool teams are already out of the running for the money, do check out the playoff pool and start your studying.  As teams clinch their spots or get eliminated, the online selection sheet does get updated, but you can print off the whole sheet from the website and start working out your scenarios, brackets and who will make it deep into the playoffs.  Those are the teams you want to focus a lot of the best players on.

Don't forget to tell your friends, there has been quite a bit of interest shown this year and I would like to say we'll be getting up to 70 teams this year, so there could be a lot of money to be had in June!  It sounds awfully tempting, doesn't it?

PhotobucketIt was a massive week for the goaltenders in Week Twenty-Five, as there were a number of them that finished with 8 points a piece, but that wasn't the best number of the week, as one goalie was better than the rest. Ryan Miller of the Sabres, becomes the first player this season to get two Player of the Week nods, after finishing Week Twenty-Five with 10 points.

After going 23 weeks without a player getting into double-digits in weekly point totals, we have now had back-to-back weeks with 10 or more points to get the nod.  Where was this kind of production earlier on in the year?

It was a pretty incredible week for Miller, who went 3-0-0 with 2 shutouts for his 10 points and he's also keeping the Sabres in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race as well.

On Tuesday, Miller made 31 saves to blank the Canadiens, 2-0; Friday, he made 22 saves in a 4-2 win over the Panthers and on Saturday, it was another 30-save effort to shutout the Devils, 2-0.  No extended shutout streaks in the week, but having a pair of goose eggs in three games is mighty impressive.

Miller's 10-point week now brings his annual total up to 78 points, which ranks him 13th in pool scoring, 8th among all goalies this year.  With only a couple weeks left in the season, the Sabres will need Miller to be on top of his game, if they are going to make the playoffs, but a 5-point cushion in the standings might be enough for how well he's playing.

PhotobucketWeek Twenty-Five is not going to let me get away with an easy bit of writing, as the Mover and Shaker nod has a three-way tie to break.  33 points was tops in the pool and three other teams had 30 or more points this week, so it was very competitive down the stretch.  So, the first tie-break is always goals and with 11 goals in the week, Allan S. takes yet another Mover and Shaker nod.

This is Allan's first Mover and Shaker in a month and his 6th nod all season, it really is no wonder that he's running away with the lead in the pool.  His team is also on a six-week streak of 30+ points, starting in Week Twenty.  In the last ten weeks of the season, Allan's team has posted 313 points, while no other team has eclipsed 300 points in the same time frame.

With that being said, the lead is now 66 points and with only a couple of weeks to go, I think we can close the book on the winner already.

Anyways, back to the week at hand... Allan's team was led in Week Twenty-Five by Claude Giroux, Mike Ribeiro, Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi, who all had 4 points each.  The only active zero on his team was the gamble that he had lost at the second waiver draft, Peter Forsberg.  Everyone else on the team contributed at least a point and helped pad his stats going forward.  A healthy team that just chips in has done the business this week, with no frills or gimmicks.

Thankfully, the jersey race is a little bit closer for the third segment, as John P. is trying to track down Allan for the win in that department, but there is a 20-point gap separating the two teams with only two weeks of action left to go.  Allan leads with 243 points and John has 223 points, followed by Wes M. with 209.  Allan is well on his way to having the best segment of the year, which currently belongs to Kristy and Don, at 256  points in the second segment, but that should be blown away this week.

PhotobucketAs healthy as the top end of the week was, the bottom of the pool had a large number of teams that couldn't quite make it to 20 points.  Fortunately, there are no ties to break for the Basement Dweller, as Wayne H. sits all alone at the bottom with only 12 points to his name.

With only 12 points, Wayne has now fallen out of the top 10 in the pool, dropping down to 12th place, now 15 points out of 10th spot, 2 points behind 11th and 10 points up on 13th.  Another bad couple of weeks could drop Wayne even further by the end of it all.

David Krejci was Wayne's top player in the week with 4 points, but seven players failing to register a point was a real setback.  Injuries have ravaged his team and may continue to do so, as Taylor Hall, Jordan Leopold, Andrew MacDonald and Kevin Poulin won't see any more action for the rest of the season and it will still be a few games until Sidney Crosby reappears for the Penguins.  It's not very good news at all, really.

PhotobucketThe sheet pool has gotten a little stale in the top four money positions over the last month, as there has been no movement since Scott G. moved into 4th place in Week Twenty-Two.  Burc B. still leads, Wes M. continues to lose ground slowly, Mitch F. has a good hold on 3rd and Scott continues to cling to 4th place.  Now, there is some interesting movement coming from down below, as Chris M. is storming up the standings, having moved into 6th spot this past week, coming from as far back as 19th place in Week Eighteen.  Chris now sits only 9 points out of the money, only needing to jump Paul W. and Scott to do so, which is definitely possible.  You see what happens when you make your trades!

Top week in the pool belongs to Peter H., who snagged 76 points in Week Twenty-Five, shifting his team up from 12th in the standings, all the way up to 10th.  A top 10 finish would be quite good for Peter.  Peter enjoyed good weeks from Ryan Miller (10 points), Tim Thomas (8), Vincent Lecavalier (5), Milan Lucic (5), Nicklas Lidstrom (4), Roberto Luongo (4), Nicklas Backstrom (4) and Claude Giroux (4). Peter's team has been on a good climb in the standings of late, moving up from 18th spot in Week Twenty to 10th spot right now, but he is still 33 points out of the money, which may be a bit of a stretch for only two weeks remaining in the schedule.

There was quite a bit of shifting around in the middle of the standings in Week Twenty-Five, as teams 6th through 27th all moved around a little bit.  The biggest mover up the standings was Cheryl D., who snuck up three places, up to 12th spot.  She'll be looking to finish up strong and make a top 10 finish before it's all said and done.

If you're looking for a last ditch trade that may fetch you a few extra points for the end, you may want to look to Box 14, the last defenseman box in the Western Conference.  Alex Pietrangelo of the Blues has been on a bit of a tear, now leading the box with 41 points and still climbing.  He is going the right way in being the top defenseman for the Blues in next year's sheet pool.


The Bruins are trying to get everyone on board for their playoff run this Spring, even if that includes making players into healthy scratches that normally wouldn't be a scratch.  For the second time in a couple weeks, Michael Ryder was a healthy scratch for the Bruins and that generally means he isn't buying into what the team is doing at the moment.  Ryder is on the playoff pool sheet, but will have to make the line-up on a regular basis to be an effective selection.

Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson didn't play on Saturday afternoon against the Kings due to a knee injury. Wilson apparently suffered the injury on Thursday night and was deemed unfit to go on Saturday, but will still be listed as out day-to-day. A back injury, not a healthy scratch, was the reason Matt Hunwick wasn't in the line-up on Saturday, he's also considered to be day-to-day.

Well, I was going to prepare a large post for this bit of news, but since the update wasn't major, I kept it to the newsletter. Jimmy Howard had to leave Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs after Joffrey Lupul fell on his shoulder. Howard left and didn't return, but an MRI on Sunday showed no major damage, so he'll be on the shelf on a day-to-day basis, likely returning to the crease on Wednesday. A big sigh of relief comes out of Hockeytown, USA.

A pulled muscle in his back forced Tomas Vokoun to leave the game against the Penguins in the 3rd period, leaving the overtime period and shootout to back-up Scott Clemmensen on Sunday night.  Vokoun experienced some back pain and couldn't continue, likely just some muscle problems, which will be re-evaluated before the team's next game.  For now, we'll consider him day-to-day.

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I'm guessing that the CBC was really hoping that these two games going on the Week Twenty-Six edition of Hockey Night In Canada will mean something, but even going into this Saturday's action, there is a good chance that these games will mean absolutely nothing.

There is a pretty good chance when the Maple Leafs visit Ottawa to take on the Senators, their death number will already be down to zero, from the four it currently stands at. All that will take is a couple of wins by the Sabres and a couple of losses from the Leafs in the week and that will be that. The Senators are locked in a battle for the second-best lottery draw situation, looking for the number one pick overall and have been out of the conversation for some time already. If this game does happen to mean anything, I'll be genuinely surprised. Leading the way in scoring between these two teams is Phil Kessel, who currently ranks 60th in pool scoring with 57 points in 76 games, currently on pace for one of his better seasons in the league.

In the late game, the Canucks will play host to the Oilers in Vancouver, where the top of the conference takes on the bottom of the conference, in a game that likely means just a smidgen more to the Canucks than it does the Oilers. By Saturday night, the Canucks should clinch the Western Conference crown (which could happen as soon as Monday night) and there is a reasonable chance that the Canucks could clinch the President's Trophy with a win over the Oilers, if they hadn't done so in the week. For the Oilers, they have a 9-point cushion on last place in the entire league, setting themselves up for the best lottery chance and the number one overall pick again this year. Since we all know who the leading scorer is in the pool these days, I'll mention the leading defenseman in this game, Christian Ehrhoff, who currently has 48 points in 73 games, ranking 111th overall in pool scoring.