Monday, March 24, 2014

Week Twenty-Three Newsletter

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It was a week where I was out of town in Kelowna for some family gatherings, if you were wondering why the standings were not updated very much this week.  With some time spent on Monday, getting all the points in from the middle & end of the week in, we now have some up-to-date standings, heading into Week Twenty-Four's action, which gets started on Monday night.

Scott Charges Allan

Allan finished the week in 1st place again through Week Twenty-Three, but that 22-point lead that he had at the end of Week Twenty-Two has now diminished to only 3 points and now we have a real race for the big money for the last three weeks of the season.  Scott was able to knock down 19 points from that lead with a huge week, which will be elaborated upon later on in the Newsletter.

The Race for Third Worth Mentioning

With Scott opening up a gap between himself and 3rd place, Chris' team, the race for getting your money back will now heat up as its own entity.  Chris holds a 1-point lead over Wilton through Week Twenty-Three, while Dale C. charged up the standings in the week, jumping up to 5th place and only sitting 7 points back.  Stacey M. dropped a bit and is now 16 points back of 3rd, 15 points back of 4th.

Third Segment Racing

The race changed in the third segment, thanks to both Scott and Dale C. seeing big weeks, as Scott now sits atop the race with 199 points, followed by Allan at 194 and now Dale C. at 189.  Wes also had a pretty big week, lifting up to 4th in the race at 184 points and then there is an 11-point gap down to 5th, Mike's team.

With some of the scoring that has been going on in this segment, I don't think we're nearly done here yet either.

PhotobucketI don't know about you, but I kind of think it is a little strange not to see Henrik Lundqvist not occupy this space in the season before the halfway point in the season, let alone with only three weeks left to play. That might just be me, but it does seem right to see him up there now.

The Olympic Silver Medal-winning goalie has lifted his overall totals to some more expected totals.  Lundqvist finished Week Twenty-Three with 9 points, lifting his total to 70 points on the year, good for 13th overall in pool scoring.

Lundqvist started his week in the midst of an Eastern Conference shootout against the Ottawa Senators, but came away with the win in an 8-4 barn burner.  He was able to make 35 saves in the game, despite giving up nearly a handful of goals.  On Saturday, he helped Rick Nash's return to Columbus be a successful one, stopping 25 pucks in a 3-1 win.  Finally, on Sunday, Lundqvist stopped all 21 New Jersey shots for a shutout in a 2-0 win.  In this game, he also finished with an assist, making it a 5-point game in the end.  3 wins, a shutout and an assist make for 9 points in the end.

The big week also pushed his pool team, belonging to Dale B., up the standings a little bit, which is the point in the end.

PhotobucketWe've seen this team twice in the Newsletter and for good reasons.  Scott's team is making the two races to finish the regular season into something great to watch in the end.  Scott's team took a grinder to Allan's lead and shaved off a significant amount of points, dropping the lead down to 3 points in the end, thanks to a 39-point week.

This is Scott's second Mover & Shaker nod of the regular season, the first came back after Week Eighteen, when he had 40 points and moved up to 4th.  Since then, he has had one of the hottest teams and Week Twenty-Three, albeit one less point than his best week in the season, was still rather amazing.

Scott's team was blessed with points from all but one player and that one player has been knocked out of the rest of the regular season, due to injury.  Everyone else chipped in, making his team rather consistent, top to bottom, which is helping his cause for the big money at the end of the tunnel.

Tampa goalie Ben Bishop led the way with 6 points, followed closely by Philly forward Scott Hartnell and Tampa forward Ondrej Palat, who each finished with 5 points each.  Also worth noting was Wild forward Mikael Granlund, who had 4 points in the week.  Two players finished with 3 points, while six players each potted a deuce in the points column.

Scott now sits 3 points back of 1st overall and is tops in the third segment standings... if you didn't read above.

PhotobucketIn the Basement this week is our actual Basement Dweller in the overall standings, as Doug's team has suffered some losses again and may have shaken his death rattle, as his team is now 23 points back of Leo in 23rd spot.  His 16-point week was a pool-worst, but being one of the better Basement weeks this season, it wasn't going to help his cause.

Remarkably, this is only Doug's second Basement Dweller nod this year, which is surprising given that his team has finished 14 weeks in last place this season.

Doug's team only had four donuts in the week, but his best player, New York's Mats Zuccarello, only had 4 points and there were quite a few singles on his team, which won't make for much support in the totals.

NEWS AND NOTES

The groin injury that has sidelined Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich has forced him from the line-up for the remainder of the regular season. Laich has been hampered by the injury all season and now it has come to a head, where he'll undergo surgery to repair the damage in the end.

The Detroit Red Wings injury troubles continued this week, as on Tuesday, the team announced that they will be without forward Justin Abdelkader for the next couple weeks, due to a lacerated leg.  Abdelkader suffered the injury the weekend before, the Sunday, so he should only be out for another week by now.

In a midst all the offensive turmoil that the Edmonton Oilers have been going through, they were dealing with the ankle injury of Nail Yakukpov, which kept him out of the line-up for all their games in Week Twenty-Three.  There has been no update on his condition, as of yet, but there is no guarantee that he would make the line-up again, even if he is healthy.

There was also a game missed by Jordan Eberle this week, as he dealt with a knee issue.  Eberle did return on Saturday, as the Oilers got destroyed by the Flames on Hockey Night In Canada.

The Anaheim Ducks are now expecting to be without defenseman Cam Fowler for the remainder of the regular season, possibly further into the playoffs, as he has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL in one of his knees. The Ducks are in the thick of the Pacific Division race and the Western Conference race and now their line-up has taken a big hit.

On another note, the Ducks missed out on a game from forward Nick Bonino, as he missed a mid-week game with a lower-body injury.  Bonino's production had taken a hit over the past few weeks, not being as dangerous as he was in the middle of the year.

Two Columbus Blue Jackets forwards, Cam Atkinson and R.J. Umberger, both returned to the line-up throughout the week after both players were healthy scratches through the week. Atkinson was a scratch late last week and Umberger missed out on a couple of games mid-week.  The Jackets are in the thick of the Eastern Conference race and are looking to keep their line-up fresh.

On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks placed Patrick Kane on the Long-Term Injury Reserve, as he was hurt earlier in the week, suffering something in the lower-body. The Blackhawks have all but secured their playoff spot in the Western Conference, so resting Kane for a long playoff run may be in their best interest.

Although the Carolina Hurricanes recalled defenseman Ryan Murphy for, what appears to be, the remainder of the regular season, it doesn't appear that they will use him a great deal, as he has been a healthy scratch for the better part of the week, likely looking to remain in the press box as the seventh or eighth defenseman.

Things are not getting much easier for the Vancouver Canucks, as they remain on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Alex Burrows was hurt again, taking a slash from Nashville's Shea Weber earlier in the week and now centre Henrik Sedin left Sunday's game with a leg injury. Both will be on the list as out day-to-day, but more updates are expected soon.

The rotation on the Boston blueline continues in Week Twenty-Three, as Torey Krug found himself back in the press box on the weekend for the Bruins. Krug has joined the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Andrej Meszaros as regulars in this rotation.  With three weeks left, we may still see these names on the list before too long.

On Saturday, the Dallas Stars were without forward Erik Cole, as he is listed as out day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The injury is somewhat mysterious, as he had missed practice, which what was believed to be just a maintenance day, but he had missed a game and now it is unclear as to how many he'll miss going forward.

Habs forward Lars Eller was to be a game-time decision for Monday night's game against the Boston Bruins and as I write this, I can confirm that the young sniper is out for tonight's game, currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Eller suffered the injury on Saturday against the Maple Leafs and there is no immediate timetable for his return.

Also on Monday, the Winnipeg Jets are without forward Andrew Ladd for their game against the Dallas Stars. He'll be away for personal reasons, but he is expected to return later on in the week, as their next game is on Thursday in San Jose.

The Nashville Predators will be without prospect star defenseman Seth Jones for the foreseeable future, as the young blueliner has been sidelined with a concussion.  Jones suffered the concussion over the weekend and it doesn't appear that the team will rush Jones back and risk any more damage, before it is absolutely necessary.

Also on Sunday, the Predators were without forward Patric Hornqvist, who was attending to his wife, who was giving birth.  He should be back later this week.

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