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.

NEWS AND NOTES

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.

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