Welcome to the Third Segment
Here we are! We embark on the last portion of the season with Week Seventeen and all of our new Waiver Draft prizes have been active for the week, so now we race to the finish. Of course, we'll take a break with the Olympians for a couple of weeks (or we play in my Olympic Pool, message me for details) and then we'll head into the stretch run after our Sochi rest.
The third segment started with all kinds of dancing at the top of the standings, as teams shifted up and down throughout the prizes all week, but there was one steady team, as Chris remained at the top, opening up a 10-point lead (for whatever these leads are worth this year).
Derek Wilton moved up, yet again, to 2nd place, while Allan moved into the money, from 5th to 3rd and Brenda jumped from 8th to 4th for the jersey prize. Falling out of the prizes were Stacey M., who actually had 1st place, dropped down to 6th, while Grant fell from 4th to 7th in the week.
No one is safe, while nothing is certain. I think we're in for a wild ride.
More Outdoor Games
I was really looking forward to seeing how well the ice would stand up against the California air, even though it was the middle of January. The reports were saying that at game time, the temperature was +16 degrees Celsius and the game itself was unbelievably quick and the game was pretty darn good, even if the hosts, the Los Angeles Kings, were not.
The Anaheim Ducks took the body, drove the net and played a solid game from start to finish for the win in the first Stadium Series game of the season.
This game was a success and now the NHL will definitely be looking towards the sun belt. Get used to it, it worked and I thought it was great!
In a more "traditional" market on Sunday afternoon, Yankee Stadium played host to the second outdoor game of the weekend and the first of two in this outdoor series in New York. The colder temperatures of New York City were certainly making the conditions on the ice, something a little more traditional, as there were plenty of stops for fixing patches in the New Jersey end.
Despite what Martin Brodeur might say about how poor the ice was, it certainly turned into a pretty entertaining game, as the Rangers caught fire for six unanswered goals after going down 3-1 in the 1st period.
It wasn't the prettiest of games, but for more people to get the experience of the outdoor festivities, it was certainly worth while.
Scoring Up, As It Should Be
The whole point of having the Waiver Draft is to make sure we are all collecting points from most of our players. That's why this whole game is so much fun.
Week Seventeen saw a new pool-high for points in a week, as 626 points were collected in 50 NHL games on the schedule. That worked out to a very good 12.5 points per game, which ranks 3rd this season. We saw some healthy line-ups, yet we're still not collecting all the minutes from the crease. Nevertheless, it was a great week for scoring and here's hoping it will continue. The more scoring we see, I think, will make the race to the finish more fun.
It was an off-the-charts week for Dallas Stars goalie, Kari Lehtonen, who dabbled in a bit of everything in Week Seventeen and it all paid off for him in the end. The 30-year old Finn finished the week with 12 points to his credit, raising his 2014 totals to 50 points, which is good enough for 24th in overall scoring, sliding him into 1st round conversations this year.
Lehtonen and the Stars played in four games in the week and our honouree finished with a 3-1-0 record, with 2 shutouts and 2 assists.
On Monday, he took one on the chin, suffering a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, but that just ended up fueling his fire for the rest of the week. He bounced back with a 4-0 shutout win over the Wild on Tuesday, then watched his team clobber the Leafs, 7-1, on Thursday, where he registered the first of his 2 assists, and then on Saturday, made 24 saves (and added an assist) in 3-0 win over the Penguins. Yeah, it was quite the week.
Unfortunately for Dale B., he wasn't able to run up the standings with the big week from his keeper, moving up one spot, from 17th to 16th, but his goaltenders have been his bright spot, making up for more than 25% of his total points this year.
It was a bit of a slow start for Mike in the pool this year, but his team has sure come on, with his third Mover & Shaker nod of the year, since Week Eight, he has moved into the top 10 and he now has his eye on some prizes before the end of the year. Heck, he's put himself in a good position to start for the third segment jersey prize, with the outright lead.
Mike also finished with a record-high for the season, as he hit the 40-point plateau with an even finish.
Out of the 24 teams in the pool, only two decided against making any changes in the second Waiver Draft and Mike was one of those. Good thing, too, as his team was scoring, from top to bottom. All 14 of his active players were able to pick up points in the week, with Victor Hedman of the Lightning leading the way with 6 points. Mike also cashed in on 5 points from Mike Ribiero of the Coyotes, 4 points from both Taylor Hall of the Oilers, Alex Pietrangelo of the Blues and Alex Stalock of the Sharks.
In the week, Mike moved up from 11th place to 8th and he now sits only 2 points out of the top four, right in striking distance.
It has been a while since we last saw Leo as the Basement Dweller, but he's back again and his team might find his way back here a few more times down the stretch, as he didn't make all of his changes at the Waiver Draft.
On the plus side, with the record amount of points taken in by the whole pool, Leo did set a record-high for a Basement Dweller with 16 points.
To be fair, there are a couple of high-profile injuries on Leo's team, which caused a few zeroes, but he is starting to get healthy again, so it will be interesting to see if his team can dig its way out of the basement.
NEWS AND NOTES
Probably one of the more disappointing feelings in the NHL, having to be a healthy scratch for an outdoor hockey game. This was the case for both Mathieu Perreault and Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks, as the coaching staff decided to go with a bigger, tougher line-up. The decision paid off, as the Ducks were able to bang and crash their way to a 3-0 win over the Kings at Dodger Stadium.
On Saturday night, the Buffalo Sabres lost the services of forward Drew Stafford again, as the scoring winger left the game with an upper-body injury. There was no word on Stafford's status for the coming week on Monday afternoon, which is somewhat strange, since the Sabres have game against the Penguins on Monday night. He'll be listed as out day-to-day, if he indeed misses any time.
The Detroit Red Wings were without their captain, Henrik Zetterberg again, thanks to his recurring back problem. Zetterberg has already missed some time with the injury this season, so he is sitting in injury limbo, possibly working his way onto the injury prone list. Currently, he is listed as out day-to-day, no solid timetable at the moment.
Link to the Injury/News Page