The Newsletter has returned!
Yes, after a nice hiatus in the lockout shortened season, the process that is the newsletter is back and ready to rock and roll.
With Week One in the books, I want to let everyone know that some jerseys are coming for prizes. I am waiting for them to arrive, but they will be coming and the details about how to win the jerseys will be posted when they arrive.
The money will be broken down as follows... $500 for 1st place, $250 for 2nd place and $110 for 3rd place. That should cover everything... and it's going to be a really fun year!
Something that was kind of missing from last season's shortened hockey pool was the newsletter and the announcement of the Player of the Week and the other honours, which were posted on the standings, but never really got its due. Week One this season sees the return of the honours and the first Player of the Week goes to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
In three games played in Week One, Ovechkin finished atop of the pool scoring rankings with 4 goals and 2 assists, just a head of a couple other players who finished with 6 points each.
On opening night, Ovechkin had a goal and an assist against the Blackhawks, he scored a pair of goals and added an assist on Thursday against the Flames and then had a goal against the Stars on Saturday. It was a very productive week for Ovechkin.
Brenda F. picked Ovechkin 3rd overall in the draft this year and there was a little bit of surprise in the room that Ovie went that high, but he is quickly showing us why it was a good idea to take him that high.
In the Opiated Sherpa hockey pools, this is Ovechkin's fourth Player of the Week nod. He had one in the shortened season and he had two nods in the 2010 season.
Thanks to having the Player of the Week and a very strong showing from 12 of 14 of her players, Brenda earned Week One Mover & Shaker honours, having the outright lead in the draft with 26 points, 3 better than her nearest competitors.
Brenda saw a good week from Ovechkin (6 points), Ondrej Pavelec (4) Ales Hemsky (3), Tyler Bozak, Frans Nielsen, James Van Riemsdyk & James Reimer (2 each). Like I pointed out earlier, only two players didn't pick up points for Brenda, so that makes for a very good week.
Unfortunately for Brenda, no one has ever gone wire-to-wire in 1st place in the pool, so the odds do not favour her team, rather it could very well be cursed. Last season, Wes was the first Mover & Shaker... finished 13th out of 17. 2012 saw Wayne finish atop the Week One standings, finished 5th... probably the best finish ever in this position. 2011 had Jani lead after Week One, finished 17th out of 20. 2010... John P. finished last, 17th out of 17... and that's how far back my easily accessible records go.
Can Brenda break the curse?
The first week of the season does generally come with an unbalanced schedule, which leaves some teams on the lurch, while other teams benefit greatly from it. The average number of skater games accumulated in Week One was 25 and Benson G., our Basement Dweller did have 23 games to his credit, only slightly below average and he only managed 11 points, finishing alone in 24th place. Just for argument's sake, the average number of minutes played for goalies was 167 and Benson's team was above average at 180.
Five of Benson's players had 2 points each, while one had a single point and that made up all 11 points for his week. Six of 14 players picked up points, as 12 of 14 players actually hit the ice to start the year. Gustav Nyquist started the year in the minors for the Red Wings and Tuomo Ruutu is on the IR to start the year. Both goalies played, but neither could register a win.
How have the Basement Dweller's fared in the past few years? 2013... Clayton finished 6th out of 17. 2012... Stuart finished in the money, in 2nd place. 2011... Chris M. finished in the money as well, in 3rd place. 2010... Peter finished in 15th out of 17. Those aren't some bad odds for finishing in the money after a Week One disaster.
NEWS AND NOTES
Speaking about Tuomo Ruutu earlier in the newsletter, there was an update this morning, as the Hurricanes are now saying that he is about a week away from re-joining the line-up. Ruutu has been dealing with a lower-body injury to start the year and has been considered week-to-week. The Hurricanes' depth has been tested in the first couple games of the season, which they have split with a loss and a win, so they should be looking forward to Ruutu's return, hoping that it is sooner, rather than later.
The Colorado Avalanche are expecting to have their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, back in the line-up on Tuesday night, as they take on the Leafs. Landeskog was hurt after the team's first game of the year, suffering a leg injury and missing the next game for the Avalanche. It looks like that will be the only game that he will miss, as the 2-0 Avalanche will not miss much of a beat with a little bit more help re-joining the line-up.
The Edmonton Oilers haven't started the season like they may have wanted, but going into Week Two, they get some really good news. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected to return on Monday night, when the Oilers have their home opener against the New Jersey Devils. The media has documented how bad the Oilers have been at centre this year and getting one of their naturals back will be a huge boost. Only having missed two games will be massive for the Oilers, who initially expected him to be out for the entire month of October.
The New York Rangers will be in Los Angeles tonight to take on the Kings and they will have their captain back in the line-up tonight, as Ryan Callahan is ready to make his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Callahan, who belongs to Cindy this season, missed out on the season opener for the Rangers, but only missing one game is a huge bonus for the Rangers and Cindy, as he'll play a big part in their season.
More good news for Stacey C., who had Nugent-Hopkins news earlier, Grant Clitsome of the Jets returned on Sunday evening against the Ducks. Clitsome played in his first game of the season, not registering a point, but likely just good to be in the line-up. The Jets fell 3-2 to the Ducks in the opening game and Clitsome was a -1 with 4 PIM in the game, so his presence was felt slightly, in a bad way.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
It's nice of the NHL to have the first two Hockey Night In Canada broadcasts as all-Canadian match-ups, since those are the teams we're normally cheering for any way. Edmonton is in Toronto for a huge pool match-up, while in the late game, it will be the Habs travelling to Vancouver.
In the pool, we have 28 picks between the Oilers and the Maple Leafs, which has to be one of the top match-ups between two teams. We have one injury, Sam Gagner of the Oilers and two in the minors, John-Michael Liles and T.J. Brennan, which should leave us with 25 players potentially playing in the game on Saturday. Brenda, who will own most games with the Leafs in it, will have six active players in this game, while Stacey C. has four. The top point-getters in the pool in this game, heading into Week Two... Mason Raymond, Joffrey Lupul and James Reimer all have 4 points.
In the late game, the Canadiens and Canucks will be a solid match-up, with 24 players taken from these two teams in the pool. 13 Habs and 11 Canucks is the split this year and the only player scheduled to miss out on this game will be Alex Burrows, who is out with a bruised foot. There is no goalies in the pool scheduled to be on the bench either, as only Carey Price and Roberto Luongo were taken in the draft, so we should capture all the minutes in this one. Grant S., who started the season in 2nd place, has four active players in this game, to lead everyone in the pool, while four other teams have three players each. A busy game. Lars Eller of Montreal and Vancouver's Henrik Sedin lead all players heading into Week Two with 5 points each, likely players to watch on Saturday.