Monday, March 31, 2014

Week Twenty-Four Newsletter

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New Leader With Two Weeks To Go

One week after knocking down a monster lead to something more manageable, Scott surpassed Allan early on in Week Twenty-Four and was able to make a 7-point lead stick through Sunday's action.  The lead isn't very big, but the race to the end continues to remain rather interesting.

In order to join this race, Wilton would have to make up 12 points this week and Chris would have to find 14 points, or else the race for 3rd place is all that they would have.

Third Segment Race Remains The Same

Well, Scott has had the hottest team down the stretch and his Third Segment Race standings suggest that, as he has a 12-point lead over Dale C. with only a couple of weeks to go.  Allan sits in 3rd, 15 points behind and Stuart is 29 points behind in 4th.  This could be a pretty big finish for Scott, if he can nail it down this week.

Only 106 NHL Games Remaining

It will be a busy finish to the regular season, as there will be 52 games in Week Twenty-Five and 54 games in Week Twenty-Six, so there will hopefully be ample opportunity to get some more points, assuming that all of our players stay healthy.

If your team is in a race, I'm sure you'll be licking your chops at these games.  Dale C. should be licking his chops, as he leads the pool with 102 projected games remaining, which leads the way and the only team to have more than 100 games left to be played.  Allan is on the opposite end, as his team appears to only have 75 games left to be played... which could be trouble!

PhotobucketI'm glad that there was a clear winner for the Player of the Week nod, because if there was a tie for the honour at 6 points, there would have been a lot of players to sort through and get the tie-breakers sorted.  That wouldn't have been much fun.

Nevertheless, it is a second nod for Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, who finished with 8 points, the only player to hit the mark in Week Twenty-Four.

Price was able to go 3-0-0 with a shutout in the week to earn his second trip to the Player of the Week paragraph this season, his first one happened in Week Nineteen, just prior to the Olympic Break.

Price shutout the Sabres on Tuesday, then beat the Red Wings on Thursday and the Panthers on Saturday, making 86 saves in the process for his 8 points.

This brought Price's season totals to 76 points, good enough for 11th in overall pool scoring, 6th among all goalies.

This is also one of the few times this season, something I really haven't kept track of though, that the Player of the Week in the hockey pool isn't one of the NHL Three Stars, which are announced on Mondays.  Kyle Turris, Patrice Bergeron and T.J. Oshie earned the nods there.

PhotobucketThere wasn't much mention of Price's pool team in the Player of the Week nod, but his team, which belongs to Sracey M. took the top honours here as well, picking up 39 points and jumped back into the race for the prizes, making up some ground on the teams that had separated themselves from the pack.

Remarkably, for how well Stacey's team has stayed afloat in the top half of the standings this season, this is her first Mover & Shaker acknowledgement this season.  With this week, her team jumped back into 5th spot, now only 4 points back of 4th place and the jersey prize.  Stacey's team has been hovering around 5th & 6th place for the better part of six weeks, only a few weeks removed from a week in 1st place.

Stacey's big performers in Week Twenty-Four were Price (8 points), Kyle Turris of the Senators (7), Erik Karlsson of the Sens (5) and four other players with 3 points a piece.  Two of Stacey's active players were held pointless, but her team more than made up for that lack of scoring, when everyone else picked up points.

With only a couple weeks left, Stacey's team has only been average, at best, over the last few weeks, so this Mover & Shaker award couldn't come at a better time.  Now her team has to keep this pace up and she could possibly come away with 3rd place money.

PhotobucketIf you're in the top half of the standings, still within an outside shot of the prizes, this isn't the time to be seeing your name in the Basement Dweller spot.  Sadly, this is the case for Mike, who's team was in the midst of the prize talk a little while ago, but has since seen some poor numbers, especially after the Olympic Break.

Mike's Week Twenty-Four score of 14 points was tied by Tony, but with only 4 of those points being goals, he couldn't get past the tie-breaker, as Tony's team finished with 6 goals.

Since the Olympic Break, Mike's team has only mustered up 98 points, one of four teams to not hit the 100-point mark since the return from Sochi.  After Week Nineteen, just before the break, Mike was sitting in 7th place, only 8 points back of 1st place.

Mark Letestu, Mike Ribeiro, Chris Stewart (injured), Jonathan Bernier and Alex Stalock all came up with donuts for Mike this week, leading the way to the bottom of the weekly standings.


It has been a rough few weeks for Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, who had some elbow injury problems earlier and is now dealing with another undisclosed injury, after running into his own net's post on a defensive play, which forced him from a game in the early part of the week. He has been listed as out day-to-day, but he has missed a few games since then and his availability is still up in the air. Likely with the lack of postseason play upcoming, the Sabres will not be in any rush to get him back in the line-up.

On Thursday, Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders made the list with a lower-body injury, listed as out day-to-day, and was unable to play at all over the weekend.  The Islanders, who are not in a playoff spot either, likely are not risking Okposo's future health, especially after a career year for the power forward.  Already without John Tavares, the Islanders may be resigned to play their young players for the rest of the year.

It was another healthy scratch for Anaheim's Teemu Selanne on the weekend, as his Ducks were playing back-to-back games over the weekend and that just isn't his thing in his final NHL season.  With the Ducks poised to make Cup run of their own, it is really looking like these nights off may have been a good idea.  In the last two weeks of the season, the Ducks will have two more back-to-backs to play, so we expect Selanne to miss two more games.

It doesn't appear that Roberto Luongo is having much more luck in his new (old) home with the Florida Panthers, as he sustained an upper-body injury, when Carolina's Radek Dvorak ran over him in a game last week.  Luongo is not slated to travel with the team on their current trip and will be missing out on some key starts down the stretch.  They are more key for Chris in the hockey pool than they are for the Panthers in the standings.

Los Angeles Kings forward Dwight King missed a game on Thursday night, due to personal reasons, but was able to return to the line-up on Saturday night.  I don't think the personal reasons are any of our business and likely not worth digging into, but that was the reason why he missed out on one game this week.  I think I will move on from here.

For what was reportedly the first time in his career, Dany Heatley was a healthy scratch for a game this weekend, as the Minnesota Wild have run out of places in the line-up to put him.  Heatley, who has struggled for the majority of the 2014 season, has seen time at just about every spot in the line-up, including on the fourth line, but the coaching staff obviously thought it was time to see if they could find someone else to fill his spot more effectively.  There was no word as to when he is expected to return to play.

The Montreal Canadiens were without forward Tomas Plekanec on Saturday for their game against the Florida Panthers, as he was also dealing with some personal issues over the weekend.  Plekanec was expected back with the team on Sunday, in order to practice on Monday, so his stint out of the line-up will be short-lived.  Nothing more to it than that.

The Pittsburgh Penguins scratched defenseman Olli Maatta for one game this week, Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he figured back into the line-up on Sunday, when the team took on the Blackhawks. The rookie defenseman has been decent this season, but with a stop in Sochi, it does seem quite likely that he could have used the rest, as the Penguins appear to be getting ready for a lengthy playoff run.

Bad news for the Colorado Avalanche, as they will be without forward Matt Duchene for the next four weeks due to a knee injury, which he suffered on Saturday afternoon against the Sharks, when he collided with teammate Jamie McGinn. It sounds like Duchene will miss the first round of the playoffs as well, with a slight possibility he could be back if the series runs into six or seven games.

On Monday night, the Ottawa Senators will play host to the Carolina Hurricanes and they'll do so without forward Jason Spezza and defenseman Jared Cowen, each sidelined with lower-body injuries.  The Senators are in the middle of a dogfight for an Eastern Conference wild card spot, a fight they are not necessarily in control of their destiny in.  The uphill battle just got a lot tougher with these two injuries.  Both players are listed as out day-to-day.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 27)

Another hernia surgery to report on Thursday, as Florida Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert has gone under the knife for some repairs. Just like the report of a hernia surgery this morning, this one will also keep Gilbert from playing again this season. The Florida Panthers were not in playoff contention today and playing through the pain now seems somewhat silly.

Gilbert was a Waiver Draft pick-up for Chris this season, picking up 20 points in 49 games since being picked and 28 points in 73 games overall.  This is Chris' second season-ending injury as well, which jeopardizes his position, currently 4th, 20 points out of 2nd and 1 point up on 5th.

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 27)

On Thursday morning, I couldn't find anything to suggest an injury, so it is fair to confidently assert that both forward Daniel Winnik and defenseman Francois Beauchemin were healthy scratches for the game against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.  The Ducks have already clinched their playoff spot for the Spring Dance, so there could be some resting of veteran players down the stretch, keeping them relatively fresh for an extended run.

The biggest impact here is Winnik, who belongs to Dale C., who finished Wednesday night in 6th place, only 4 points out of 3rd place.  If he is going to be one of those regularly rested players, that will hurt some chances down the stretch.  On the flip side, Beauchemin belongs to Doug, who continues to be in 24th place.

The last two-plus weeks remaining in the regular season will be watched from the press box for Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan, who is slated to undergo hernia surgery. Ryan, who has missed the last couple games with a lower-body injury, won't be relied upon for a playoff run, as the Senators' hopes have dwindled to just about nothing in the last couple of weeks, so the option for surgery didn't appear to be a bad one. He should be 100% when training camps open up in September.

Of course, preparing for the 2015 season will not help Brenda this season, as her team features Ryan on it and her 3rd round pick (51st overall) was going to be one of her last hopes for any chance at prizes this year.  Brenda's team finished Wednesday night in 10th place, now 22 points out of the prizes.  No Ryan for the next 16 days will likely devastate any hopes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 26)

Well, it looks like development has trumped having a body in the press box down the stretch, as Ryan Murphy has been sent down to Charlotte of the AHL by the Carolina Hurricanes. Murphy has been a healthy scratch for the majority of games since his last recall and that has likely hindered his development a little.  Since the Canes are nowhere near the Eastern Conference playoff race, there should be little need to have the rookie blueliner up with the big team, unless he's going to get big league minutes.

It would seem likely that Murphy shouldn't be with the big club anymore this season, with only a few weeks to go, unless there is an injury or two, of course.  That will put a speed bump in Allan's path to the big money, a spot he has lost already this week, now sitting 2nd, 2 points back.

A bout of the flu removed Sergei Bobrovsky from Tuesday night's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings.  The Jackets were eventual 4-2 winners in the game, but it was Curtis McElhinney who ended up registering the win and it sounds like the Columbus back-up will likely get the next start as well, but that hasn't been 100% confirmed.  The Jackets don't play again until Friday, which should give Bobrovsky some time to recover.

That was more bad news for Allan, who could have used those 2 points to tie Scott for 1st place last night.  If there is any more starts lost, his gap between himself and 3rd place, which stands at 19 points, may shrink considerably.

The New York Rangers confirmed on Wednesday morning that rookie forward Chris Kreider has suffered a broken bone in his hand and he will likely be out of the line-up for the remainder of the regular season and likely will miss some time in the playoffs, assuming the Rangers will stay in the top three of the Metropolitan Division.  Kreider reportedly suffered the injury against the Blue Jackets on the weekend.

More money position impact, as Kreider was a Waiver Draft pick-up for Chris this season, who currently sits in 3rd place, 4 points up on 4th and 5th, 5 points up on 6th.  Kreider has been decent since being picked up, scoring 25 points in 50 games for Chris.

The Ottawa Senators are dealing with a number of injuries and a few of them have some impact in the hockey pool these days.  Bobby Ryan is out day-to-day with a lower-body injury and has missed a couple of games already, while both forward Mika Zibanejad and defenseman Chris Phillips missed Tuesday night's game against the Panthers with upper-body injuries, both listed as out day-to-day.  That's a pretty solid chunk of their regular line-up out with injury, but the remainder put up a valiant effort, losing 3-2 in the shootout in Florida.

Brenda's team, which sits in 10th place, was hit the hardest here, as her team features both Ryan and Phillips and now sits 18 points back of the prizes, with only a few games left to play down the stretch.  Also in the race, Stacey M., who has Zibanejad, sits only 1 point out of the prizes and is currently the leader in the Mover & Shaker race for the week.  Things might not be so bad for Stacey's team at the moment.

The Phoenix Coyotes are in the middle of the Western Conference wild card dogfight and they are trying to find ways to claw out wins through some line-up tweaks.  On Tuesday night, the tweaks seemed to work, as they beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh with both Mike Ribeiro and Derek Morris in the press box.  Ribeiro hasn't seen much time in the press box this year, but you can't say the same for Morris, who has been a regular up there.

Mike, who sits in 9th place, missed out on a game from Ribeiro's scratch, while Morris belongs to Ryan V. this year, who currently sits in 21st.

Sounds like Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks is nursing a sore hand after blocking a shot with it on the weekend.  Couture missed Tuesday night's game against the Oilers, to which he wasn't necessarily needed in a 5-2 win.  The scoring winger is expected to be back in the line-up soon, the weekend being the worst-case scenario, from what I've read.

Couture belongs to Dale B. this year, who took him in the 3rd round of the draft, 54th overall, and hasn't quite got the returns for the pick, as he ranks 95th in pool scoring with only 47 points in 57 games this year.

Finally, the Washington Capitals lost in the shootout to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night and they also lost the services of their number one pivot, Nicklas Backstrom, who suffered an upper-body injury when he was hit into the boards by Drew Doughty.  Backstrom was reportedly held out of the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons, but since we're so close to the playoffs, all of the injuries to top players will be held close to the vest these days.

An injury at the top of the table!  Scott, who just moved into top spot this week, has suffered a major injury to his 1st round pick (13th overall).  Backstrom currently sits 19th in pool scoring and has been a major reason Scott has seen such success.  If this is a long-term injury, his lead may be short lived.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 25)

As expected, the rotation continued to spin, as Torey Krug returned to the Bruins blueline, while Andrej Meszaros came out for the game between Boston and Montreal.  With Dougie Hamilton going gangbusters on the scoresheet these days, it seems less likely that he'll continue to be a part of the rotation, but I'm thinking that it wouldn't take much to get him back in, especially if his defensive game falls off a bit too.

So Wyllie gets his player back in, while Wes sees his defender come out for a game.  There isn't much impact on the money here, just worth noting on the news page.

The Phoenix Coyotes, who currently hold the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, may be holding their collective breath, as they await results of tests on their number one goalie, Mike Smith, who left Monday night's game in New York with a leg injury.  Smith had to be helped off the ice, late in the 3rd period, after a collision in his crease.  There has been no indication about how severe the injury is quite yet, but the first impression of the injury wasn't good.

Thomas Greiss will get the start for the Coyotes tonight against the Penguins.

There is no impact on the money, but Smith is part of the pool-best goaltending tandem that belongs to Wes, who has seen 140 points from the crease, only 4 points better than Dale B. and 6 points better than Allan.  Greiss was not taken in the draft at any point this year, so starts and points will be lost in the pool.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they will be without star forward Evgeni Malkin for the next 2-to-3 weeks with a foot injury, which has likely ended his regular season with only a couple handfuls of games left to go.  With Pittsburgh all but clinched in the Eastern Conference, I would imagine that any nagging problems may be dealt with as some Injured Reserve placements.  I could see rest coming to a few other Penguins, if something were to happen down this last stretch.

Again, not much impact on the money races, as Malkin belongs to Stuart, who sits in 20th place.  There is potential for Stuart to fall down to 22nd place, before the end of the season and with a lack of Malkin, it seems like a real possibility.