Three-Way Ties Are All The Rage
Here we are, through Week Ten, and we have some kind of race going on for the prizes. At the finish of the week, audits all done, and we have a three-way tie for the lead and then another three-way tie for the jersey prize in fourth place. Of course, there are tie-breakers involved here to get our final standing of the week, but still, this is some awesome stuff going on here.
Allan and Grant, who finished one-two after Week Nine, continued their success with a moderate week each of 23 points, while Chris had a big week, making up 10 points and joining them up in the lead. Remember, goals scored is the first tie-breaker, so Allan, Grant and Chris go one, two, three in the standings on that basis.
For the jersey prize, Brenda currently still hangs on to the position, due to leading the pool in goals scored, but joining the fray for the conversation is the two Staceys, who each had big weeks to join Brenda in 4th at 241 points.
There are teams within striking distance of one good week from the prizes, as well, so these races are far from over. It is one exciting year to be in the pool... unless you're mired in the bottom half (sorry).
The Race for the Second Jersey
Chris M. is off to a pretty good lead in the second segment through two weeks, as his team has accumulated 65 points through Weeks Nine and Ten. He currently leads Dale C. and Stacey M., who each have 60 points and then it is Clayton and Stacey C., who each have 57.
The first segment winner, Allan, currently has 52 points. On the opposite end of the scale, Dale B. has 32 points and Ryan V. has 33 points.
Scoring Rates Already Down
It did not take very long for the injury list to fill itself back up again after clearing out a number of players that were dropped for injuries as it were. With that being said, we saw the numbers go down and the number of points were limited again.
There were 48 NHL games played, the second highest total number of games in a week this season, but the pool only collected 541 points, which ranks 4th among weeks this year. The scoring rate was 11.3 points collected per NHL game, which is below the rate we saw from Week Four this season.
We are still collecting skater games at a fine rate, goalie minutes are not too bad, but our scoring rates are just poor at the moment. It could be that the dog days of the season have already begun, but it seems a bit early for that.
On the plus, side, it only took a couple of weeks for our first Waiver Draft pick-up to make it up to Player of the Week status. I think it is also somewhat fitting that it was the first overall pick that took the honour as well, as Josh Harding, goaltender for the Minnesota Wild, picked up 8 points to get the nod, likely making Doug K. very happy.
Harding went 3-0-0 with 1 shutout to reach the 8-point plateau, the only player to do so in the low-scoring week.
On Monday, he started with a 21-save shutout performance against the Philadelphia Flyers, followed by an 18-save win against Chicago on Thursday and rounded it out with a 37-save effort against the San Jose Sharks.
If you take into account the whole season, Harding ranks 6th in pool scoring with 16 wins and 3 shutouts for 38 points. Since the start of Week Nine, Harding's only points came from this week, as he wasn't able to post a win the week before.
Harding has indeed lived up to the billing that he was given at the Waiver Draft, as he has now helped Doug to close the gap between himself and the other bottom-dwellers of the pool. Doug now sits 4 points out of the basement and he might get there before too long.
We have a new entry to Mover & Shaker teams in the pool this season, as it was highlighted earlier, Chris M. had himself a monster week in Week Ten. His 33 points was good enough to move into a tie for 1st place in the standings, dropping down to 3rd place, due to the tie-breakers. In order to do so, Chris had to make up 10 points from the end of Week Nine and he did... with ease.
Chris' team, led by his goaltending team of Roberto Luongo (6 points) and Marc-Andre Fleury (4), took the pool by storm. He had also received good weeks from Jared Spurgeon (4), Patrik Elias (3), Mike Richards (3) and Tom Gilbert (3).
With the second segment lead, he owes his success squarely from his goaltenders, who have a share of the pool lead with 16 points each. Of course, his goalies are being supplanted by his defense, which has 11 points in the second segment so far, which makes up for nearly half of his points in the second segment alone.
Chris' goaltenders also have the outright lead in points this season with 70 from the prized duo, but he didn't have far to go after the first segment. Overall, Chris' forwards are just barely above average for the pool, raking in 139 points from the first ten weeks. The leader in the category, Brenda, has 175.
This is now back-to-back weeks in the prizes for Chris and he has been in for a total of six weeks this season, missing out on Weeks One, Six, Seven and Eight.
There is no question that there is an element of luck to the hockey pools and in Week Ten, the culmination of bad luck really caught up to Tony D., which dropped him down to the Basement Dweller for the week.
Tony's team only managed to pick up 11 points in the whole week, as injuries to Henrik Zetterberg, Alex Burrows and Alex Edler caught up to him in the week. Tony also received no love from his goaltenders and there was one more donut on his team from a healthy player, Alex Killorn of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Obviously something fishy going on with all of those guys named Alex.
The tough week cost Tony five spots in the standings, dropping down from 13th to 18th and he'll need a 9-point leap to get his spot back.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Bruins were in Toronto on Sunday evening, taking on the Leafs, and things don't appear like they will be getting any easier for the reigning Eastern Conference champs, as they have now also lost defenseman Dougie Hamilton for at least the next week, thanks to a lower-body injury. Hamilton has been sent back to Boston after the game against the Leafs and is now being reported as being out for the entire Western Canada road trip, which starts this week.
The Chicago Blackhawks have called up goaltender Kent Simpson from the AHL on Monday, as on Sunday night, they lost their number one goalie, Corey Crawford, to a lower-body injury. Crawford is to be considered day-to-day for right now, but he is staying behind in Chicago, as the team takes off for Dallas on Tuesday night. The team is unclear as to whether or not he'll be able to re-join the team after the game against the Stars or not, so I guess we'll just wait and see.
Looks like the honeymoon is over between the New York Islanders and centre Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who has only managed to register 4 goals and 5 assists in 28 games and hasn't been overly productive during this losing streak that the Islanders have been on. With a cap hit of only $2 million, there is a chance that Bouchard would be picked up by a team in need of a team that needs some help down the middle. Otherwise, there is a good chance he gets shipped down to the minors. Ryan Strome has already been called up by the Islanders to take his place.
There was an injury update to Philadelphia Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier, as he was placed on the Injured Reserve on Monday for his back injury. The Flyers are suggesting that the veteran centre will likely miss the next 3-to-4 weeks with the ailment. It has been a bit of a rough year for Lecavalier, since signing with the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent in the Summer.
The melee between the Bruins and the Penguins is starting to see some of the fall out, as James Neal was the first to receive a suspension, as he was handed five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head, as he laid on the ice. A punishment worthy of the crime, indeed, no matter how much you may not like Marchand. The five games should see Neal up in the press box for about a week and a half.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
A tripleheader! Rejoice! All kinds of hockey on the tube this Saturday.
Just think... how different is it gonna be when the new TV deal kicks in next year. The Hockey Night In Canada will lose its lustre, as Sportsnet will be able to broadcast all kinds of hockey on Saturday, as well as HNIC.
Nevertheless, we have three games and only three Canadian teams on the schedule. The Winnipeg Jets will play host to the Dallas Stars in a Central Division battle, while the Leafs will have an Original Six match-up against the Leafs and then we finish with the Canucks hosting the Bruins.
Between the six teams going on Saturday night, they account for 75 picks in the pool in Week Eleven. Currently, we have four (likely five) players on the IR by Saturday, we have a player in the minors (on Monday) and we have eight goalies between six teams, so at least two won't be going on Saturday. That's a lot going on, but how else would it be any better?
Leading the way in the pool scoring race is Patrick Kane from Chicago, who has 37 points, followed by Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, each having 35 points after Week Ten.