Kristy & Don remain as the pool leaders through Week Five and they have managed to open up a 3-point lead, as the teams below them shuffled a little bit. Their team has remained fairly consistent, even if they haven't been the best team over the past three weeks, they still rank 4th in points over those last three weeks, while teams were far enough behind, not to catch up and pass them yet.
The scoring rates for both their forwards and defensemen remained about the same from Week Four to Week Five, so as long as they are staying somewhat consistent, they should be able to manage through the year just fine.
Second Through Fourth
The rest of the prizing teams remained the same, but the order changed a little bit, as Chris M. jumped back up to 2nd place after a big week from his goaltending, Allan moved up to 3rd by just staying with the average teams in the week, while Brenda dropped down 4th place with a sub-par week of 18 points and now her team only holds a 2-point lead over Stacey M., who is breathing down their necks. I get the feeling that we'll see some real change in Week Six.
The Race for Josh Harding
We have now finished five weeks, which now means we're not very far away from our first waiver draft. The order is determined by the final standings after Week Seven and then we draft during Week Eight, via e-mail, text, Facebook or whatever means of communication. Please ensure that you contact me with the best way to contact you, especially if it has changed or you're new to the pool this year.
Josh Harding, goalie for the Minnesota Wild, leads all available players with points with 18 through five weeks, since Niklas Backstrom has been dealing with injury problems in the early part of the season. Be sure to have a look at the top 50 available players, which you can see via this link. If you think I should drum up a few more players for the list, let me know. I have updated the standings page to show the link as well.
As for the race for Harding, we have a new leader, as Doug K. has dropped into 24th, as he had 4 less points than both John S. and Stuart G., but the race is still pretty tight. Doug might be interested in picking up Harding, since Jason LaBarbera has been somewhat of a dud in Edmonton, but he does have to replace Jonathan Drouin, so he'll have decisions to be made.
Scoring Down Again
New injuries to Saku Koivu, Marc Giordano, Lee Stempniak, Tyler Bozak, Teemu Selanne, Jeff Carter and a bunch of day-to-days really hurt the games played number this week, as we're still below 17 collected games per NHL game in the week and goaltenders like Fredrik Andersen in Anaheim, Carter Hutton in Nashville, Josh Harding in Minnesota and Reto Berra in Calgary getting minutes in the crease is also hurting our numbers.
In 44 NHL games this week, the pool only collected 479 points, at an average of 10.9 points per NHL game, which is the lowest we've seen all year, to date. This first waiver draft is becoming desperately necessary, just to keep pace with some of our best weeks.
We also didn't get a real standout player in Week Five, as the ceiling for individual points held everyone down at 6 points. We had two forwards and five goalies finish up with the highest total in the week and since the first tie-breaker in the pool is goals scored, we can automatically eliminate the goalies, leaving us with a single race.
With 4 goals and 2 assists in three games this week, our Player of the Week is Jason Pominville of the Minnesota Wild. Pominville narrowly beat out Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks, having a couple more goals.
Pominville started out the week well, scoring a goal on Monday in a losing cause to the Blackhawks, followed by a pair of goals and an assist in a 5-4 win against the Canadiens on Friday, finished up with a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over the Devils on Sunday.
This week brings Pominville's totals up to 10 goals and 2 assists in 15 games with the Wild, which is good for 57th in pool scoring through Week Five. This makes him into one heck of a bargain pick for Dale B., who picked him up in the 5th round, 102nd overall. Pominville is Dale's 2nd-best forward this year and has stayed fairly consistent to start the year, as Dale climbs up the ranks in the pool as a whole.
Having two candidates for the Player of the Week nod will go a long way to helping your team to raise up to the Mover & Shaker of the week. Dale B., who had the Player of the Week, was the only team to eclipse the 30-point barrier in Week Five, which was a huge boost to his team, as he is now relevant in the prizing conversation.
Dale finished the week with 33 points, 4 points better than his closest rival in the week, which now brings his total up to 115 points. That meant a big lift in the standings, as he went from 14th place to 8th in the span of seven days. His team only sits 9 points out of the prizing positions and he made up 15 points on one of the teams in Week Five, so if his team stays hot, he could be shaking hands with the money or a jersey.
Dale enjoyed a big week from Pominville and Henrik Lundqvist, who each had 6 points in the week, David Legwand was good for 5 points, while Curtis Glencross and Kari Lehtonen were good for 4 points each and Shane Doan added 3 points.
Statistically speaking, Dale's team has stayed relatively healthy, as his team is tied for 5th in games played with 164 and 8th in minutes played by goalie with 1,049. His scoring rate from his forwards and defense are a bit below-average, but he did see some improvement from his forwards in Week Five. His goalies are doing well, averaging 1.3 points per 60 minutes played, so there is some consistency in there as well.
There is one more statistic that Dale did lead the pool with in Week Five, goals scored. Dale's team managed to rack up 15 goals, lifting him to 40 on the year, which is a respectable total, to this point.
We had ourselves a tie for the Basement Dweller position, which gives us back-to-back weeks for tie-breakers in this position. This isn't the column that should need tie-breaks, but here we are. Two teams finished with 10 points in the week, Leo M. and Stacey C., but it will be the lowest total of goals between the two that will split them up. Wait a second! We have another tie, as both teams finished with 3 goals each. How about that?!? Then we move on to the win column, as Leo pits Evgeni Nabokov and Antti Niemi against Stacey's Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby... and with one win each... we're tied again!
Well, since you guys enjoy being tied so much, that will be the way you guys will finish. I could probably break the tie a little further, but now that's just becoming work.
With the Basement Dweller nods, Leo dropped from 10th to 18th, while Stacey C. dropped from 8th to 13th, but with these large drops and some low-scoring weeks, that means they are not very far out of regaining their older positions, if their players could get hot again.
NEWS AND NOTES
It was made official on Sunday afternoon, as expected, the Calgary Flames demoted goaltender Joey MacDonald to Abbotsford of the AHL. The Flames had been struggling through some tough games after their hot stretch and now they have decided to have a look at goaltender Reto Berra, who they acquired from St. Louis in the deal that sent Jay Bouwmeester the other way. There has been no indication as to when the Flames may expect MacDonald back on the roster. Thanks to the new CBA, he won't have to pass through re-entry waivers, so he'll be able to come up unopposed.
Bad news for Grant S., in his bid to stay among the prizing teams early on this season. Grant is only 5 points out, but losing a goalie to the minutes experiment will hurt his team going forward.
Some good news for the struggling New York Rangers, as they are expecting to have their captain back in the line-up tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Callahan has been out of the line-up for a couple of weeks with a broken finger and has now been cleared to return. In five games played this season, Callahan has 3 goals and when you take into consideration his physical spark, he should be able to add quite a bit to the club.
Big plus for Cindy, who has seen her team hover around the 15th place position her team sits in now. Her team is 23 points out of the prizing and Callahan alone won't be able to make that up, but he'll be considered a good start.
In overtime on Sunday afternoon, Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators was hit awkwardly by a hard-charging Valeri Nichushkin of the Dallas Stars, seeing a knee on head collision. Anderson was stretchered off the ice as a precaution, but was later seen by reporters walking around the building after his evaluation. Anderson will be listed as day-to-day with a stiff neck and won't be expected to play in Ottawa's next game, Tuesday in Columbus.
Doesn't sound like Anderson will be out for too long, which is okay news for Derek Wilton, who could possibly considered one game a scheduled start for Robin Lehner. Wilton is in the top 10 after Week Five, 17 points out of the prizes, so he'll want Anderson to hurry back. Stuart, who has Lehner, is pulling for the complete opposite.
Between getting some minutes in the AHL and likely a cap-positive move, Dimitri Orlov may be moving between the minors and the big club on a regular basis at the moment. Orlov was sent down to the AHL over the weekend and on Monday, he was called up, likely to practice with the big club, trying to find a place for him in the regular line-up. The Capitals play again on Tuesday night, home to the Islanders, so it will be interesting to see if he figures in or is a healthy scratch again.
Chris M., who sits in 2nd, would like to be rid of that last donut on his roster, which is Orlov, so he's hoping he draws into the line-up for the first time.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
We will be watching a conventional Hockey Night In Canada doubleheader again this weekend, considering this past weekend was a good time to have a triple-header in Calgary, it was snowy outside and there was nothing better to do than watch hockey.
I thought last weekend's preview of the triple-header was poignant enough for the newsletter, so I think I will do somewhat of the same again this week.
Between the two games, we have a total of 49 selections in the pool, including two back-up goalies, three injuries and one player in the minors, at the end of Week four. Toronto leads the pool with 15 selections, Los Angeles has 12, while both Boston and Vancouver each have 11.
There are 17 pool selections between these four teams, who are in the top 100 in pool scoring after Week Four and Roberto Luongo leads the way for all players in these four teams with 20 points.