Last Week Until the Olympic Break
We're almost there! The countdown to the Olympic Break is finally on, as the NHL will play one more week worth of games before the select few head off to represent their country in Sochi. Just a reminder, I will be running a small Olympic Selection Sheet pool for those interested. Please send me an e-mail or a text and I'll pass along a sheet. It's going to be a $10 entry fee and the winner will take all.
More New Faces in the Prizes
The shuffle in the prize department continues, as this season keeps itself rather interesting. So many ups and downs, it's hard to keep track or even be confident of where your team will be at the end of the season.
Allan has re-taken the lead, which he last had at the end of Week Ten, while Chris dropped back down to 2nd place after one week in 1st place. Derek Wilton dropped down to 3rd place from 2nd and up from 9th place to 4th was Scott, who had a monster week, which we'll recap a little bit lower down in the Newsletter.
After the Olympic Break, the race for the prizes will be about the teams that get hot at just the right time and keep up when they're not running at their optimum pace. This has been so much fun to watch.
Scoring Pace Through the Roof
Thanks to the second Waiver Draft, the pool as a whole is collecting points like they're going out of style, compared to the rest of the year. Week Seventeen saw a record number of points collected this season, thanks to 50 NHL games played, but Week Eighteen saw the best collection rate in 45 NHL games, as the pool took over 13.1 points per game played in the week, wrapping up at 593 total points.
Scoring is up and it's making our competition all the more exciting!
A Trade to Announce
The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks consumated a trade on Monday morning, as the Habs sent pool defenseman Raphael Diaz to the West Coast for forward Dale Weise. Diaz, a puck-moving defenseman that is on Chris' team, dealt for Weise, an agitating bottom-six forward with some size to him. A move that fills some needs on both ends, as the Habs are looking to be a bit grittier, while the Canucks are dealing with some injuries on their blueline.
There was a tie for the Player of the Week nod in Week Eighteen, but it was between a forward and a goalie, so we all know how that goes by now. Goals speak volumes and Zach Parise takes the honour, scoring 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points. According to my Hall of Records, this is Parise's first Player of the Week nod on the Newsletter, so it's a big day for the diminutive American scoring winger. This fact may need further investigation, but at the moment, this is the case.
Parise and the Minnesota Wild only played three games in Week Eighteen, which makes his 8 points all the more impressive. On Tuesday, he scored the game-winning goal and 2 assists against the Anaheim Ducks, Thursday it was a pair of goals and a pair of assists against the Colorado Avalanche, followed by a single assist against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
The 8-point week brought Parise's totals up to 18 goals and 17 assists in 42 games for Minnesota, good enough for 105th in pool scoring this season. Somewhat disappointing totals for a player that was taken in the 1st round, 12th overall by Doug. Parise ranks 22nd out of 24 players taken in the 1st round of the draft this year, which is a pretty big bust, considering the average is just a shade over 50 points.
Until last week, we hadn't seen a 40-point week in the draft, but we can now claim to have seen back-to-back 40-point efforts to take the Mover & Shaker nod in the Newsletter, as Scott shot up the standings with a massive week, earning his first nod of the season.
Scott was one of only three teams to clip the 30-point barrier in the week, which is really something, given that we had one of the higher scoring weeks as a whole in the pool. Not sure how that worked out.
The huge week saw Scott boost up from 9th place, where he finished in back-to-back weeks, all the way up to the jersey prize position of 4th place. Scott actually finished in a tie for 3rd, but didn't have enough goals to earn the tie-breaker, so he finished modestly in the last prize position.
Only one of his active players failed to register a point in Week Eighteen, while his team was led by Minnesota's Mikael Granlund, who finished the week with 6 points. Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Scott Hartnell of the Flyers, Ondrej Palat of the Lightning and Kari Ramo of the Flames each finished with 4 points, each earning a solid nod this week.
Scott has done well with his Waiver Draft picks, as he has done some swapping of his forwards this year. The scoring rate of his forwards has gone up steadily since the first Waiver Draft, where he was only getting 0.533 points per game to now getting 0.602 points per game, which is a significant raise, given how much scoring he would have needed to get there.
Scott's team is certainly going the right way for the money and now they only need to stay steady to stay in the conversation.
Well, it was a 4-way race for the Basement in Week Eighteen, as Chris, Ryan M., Dale B. and Leo all finished the week with 17 points, a new high for our Basement Dweller again.
The first tie-breaker goes to goals scored where two of the four teams finished with only 4 goals to their name, which advances Dale B. and Leo to the next round of tie-breaks. Next will be wins in the week from their goaltenders as Dale finished with a couple of wins from Henrik Lundqvist, while Leo only had one win from Antti Niemi... so Leo gets another Basement Dweller nod this season.
Unfortunately, with back-to-back Basement Dweller weeks, Leo has now moved into a tie for last place, as Doug managed to pick up 11 points on his team and is almost out of the last place position, a spot he has held for six consecutive weeks and 12 of the 18 weeks this season.
NEWS AND NOTES
Upon the return of Mike Cammalleri from a concussion on Saturday night, the Calgary Flames suffered another couple injuries, leading to some concerns going forward. On Friday, defenseman Kris Russell reportedly suffered an upper-body injury in practice and was a late scratch from Saturday's game against Minnesota because of it. Also, in the game against the Wild, goaltender Karri Ramo was forced from the game with a lower-body injury and was unable to return. On Monday, there was no update on Russell's condition, but the news was bad for Ramo, who is expected to be sidelined until after the Olympics, as his lower-body injury is related to his MCL in his knee, likely a sprain.
After blocking a shot earlier in the week, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen had decided that he was unable to go on Saturday afternoon against the Los Angeles Kings. Timonen is currently listed as out day-to-day and may see some rest during Week Nineteen, before he heads to Sochi for the Olympics.
Bad news for Vladimir Sobotka, as he was placed on the Injured Reserve on Saturday, dealing with a knee injury, which will keep him out of the Blues line-up for Week Nineteen and it will keep him out of the Olympics, where he was due to play for the Czech Republic. For those who may be considering him on the Olympic Selection Sheet Pool, you will want to skip him for someone healthy.
This week, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula suffered a lower-body injury when the Bolts played the Ottawa Senators, colliding with defenseman Eric Gryba in the first shift of the game. Filppula was not good to go on Saturday, sitting for the afternoon tilt against the Canadiens. He is currently listed as out day-to-day and his availability for Week Nineteen is somewhat questionable.
A recurring groin injury has Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the shelf, as he sat for the Super Bowl matinee game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Laich has obviously been playing through this injury this season, which has kept his numbers down from his usual scoring self, so it will be interesting to see how Washington plays this before the break.
Link to the Injury/News Page