Another week in the books in the NHL season and the hockey pool and there is another goalie in the Player of the Week section, as Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens took top spot in Week Six, thanks to an 8-point week.
For Price, this is his fifth nod in the Player of the Week section of the Newsletter since the beginning of the 2011 season. Price had a couple of nods last season, including his last one in Week Twenty-Four, helping Stacey M. into the money, but helping Wes stay in the top 10 this week.
In Week Six, Price went 3-0-0, shutting out the Jets on Tuesday, beating the Bruins on Thursday and sneaking one out against the Flyers on Saturday, before giving way to Dustin Tokarski on Sunday.
Price's 8 points in the week has now lifted his season total up to 24 points, thanks to 11 wins and a shutout, which has him in the thick of the pool scoring race, finishing the week in 5th place, 3rd among all goalies.
In the draft, Wes took Price with the 16th overall pick, so it is turning out to be a bit of a 1st round bargain at the moment. To no surprise, Price is his best player, making up for 17.4% of his total points in the season, 8 points better than Jason Spezza, who is his next best player.
It was a pretty competitive week in the pool and the Mover & Shaker Award needed a tie-breaker to figure out the winner, because two teams finished with 35 points a piece. In the tie-breaker, Grant S. defeated Stacey M., 12-9 in Week Six goals scored, to take the nod for the week, making it back-to-back weeks for our new pool leader.
Out of six weeks, we've only seen three teams score the Mover & Shaker Award, Grant becoming the second team to pick up back-to-back honours and it has paid off, as he finally unseated the pool duo for 1st overall, making a 9-point swing in the standings.
It was a pretty solid week for Grant, as his side was led by his last pick in the draft, Jori Lehtera of the St. Louis Blues, who has turned out to be one of the biggest sleepers in the pool, as an import from Europe in the off-season. Lehtera had 6 points for Grant in Week Six, while rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad had 4 points in Florida and then five other players had 3 points each in the week.
Just how good is Grant's team to this point? Well, his team ranks 2nd in goals scored, 1st in goalie wins, 8th in skater games, 1st in goalie minutes, 3rd in forward points and tied for 1st in goalie points. Yeah, he has had a pretty stellar six weeks in the pool and it will be interesting to see if his team can keep up this pace. This is about the time we find a team that will ride the rest of the season in top spot, but we have seen leads shrink just as fast as they can grow.
Not sure that this is necessarily a good thing, but we have someone new in the Basement Dweller position in Week Six.
Dale B. spent the last three weeks finishing up in the top 10, but a Basement Dweller week of 14 points saw his team drop down from 6th to 13th and his team is now 5 points back of the top 10 and he's 15 points back of the spot that he occupied only a week earlier.
Two injuries have plagued his team since the start of the year, being without Brandon Dubinsky in Columbus since the start of the year and defenseman Andrew MacDonald in Philadelphia for the last few weeks, has not helped his cause. Both players should be close to returning, but it is unclear when either will be ready to go.
Tuukka Rask of the Bruins led his team with 4 points in the week, but he had five donuts in his weekly total, which was the leading cause of his dwelling position. There is still lots of time left in the season, he's got lots of time to get his team back into the money race.
New leader! Yes, the wire-to-wire run for Kristy & Don has ceased, but not before a pretty good run of five straight weeks at the top. Grant S. has used a couple of huge weeks to take the lead away from the pool duo, but both teams have seemingly run away with the top two positions, as there is a 26-point gap between 2nd and 3rd.
Thankfully, the 3rd place money race is vibrant, as the week finishes with two teams at 151 points, as Dale C. and Clayton finish the week, 3-4, only 1 point up on Stacey M. and 3 points up on Grant K.. Tony, Cam and Troy are only one great week out of the spot as well, which should keep a few more people excited.
Benson reeled in a few teams in Week Six, looking to give away his lead for the Olli bobblehead for last place. Benson stringed together a 25-point week and now only has a 4-point gap between himself and Stacey C., while Brenda & Seward and Ryan are only 6 points away. I wouldn't say that Wilton or Wyllie are safe here either, as injuries have plagued many of these teams.
Dale C. may be in 3rd place in the standings, but his skaters have not played very many games, ranking last in the pool for Week Six game played, only 23 appearances by his skaters. This has put him in 2nd place for the Jordan bobblehead, only 4 games up on Benson, who currently has the sweep on for the bottom bobbleheads.
Weeks Five and Six had the same number of NHL games in them and the gains were marginal, thanks to some returns of healthy bodies. Skater games were up by 19, goalie minutes saw an extra period of play (up 25 minutes), which led to 2 more points scored by our pool players for a new season-high of 547 points in the week.
We have seen gains in a back-to-back weeks, even if they were small, but in Week Seven, the schedule will lessen to only 46 games, which has a good chance to proportionally lessen the number of points scored.
On the plus side, the news and injury page has cleared off a lot of players who returned to their respective line-ups, so that should mean we'll see a few more skater games played on average in the pool. Will that be enough to set another season-high in scoring?
Just as a comparison, the best week we saw with 24 teams in the pool was Week Seventeen, where the pool collected 626 points in 50 NHL games. I wonder how close our 23-team pool can come to that record. Would our modest pool be able to hit 600 points in a week? Last year's pool did it three times.
NEWS AND NOTES
It was another weekend off for Carolina forward Alex Semin, which can't mean good things for him or the team, especially since the Hurricanes are last in the Metropolitan Division. This is the second weekend that we have seen Semin scratched, missing two games each weekend, so it will be very interesting to see what happens with the enigmatic winger, especially at a $7 million cap hit for the next three seasons after this one.
Semin was a pretty big gamble by Dale B. in this season's draft and the gamble is far from paying off. In 13 games, Semin only has 5 assists, miles from where he should be at the cap hit that he is carrying.
The Columbus Blue Jackets received some bad news over the weekend, as they are now expecting to be without defenseman Fedor Tyutin for the next 4-to-6 weeks with a knee injury. On Saturday, they placed the injured defenseman on the Injury Reserve with a lower-body injury and Sunday, they dropped the news that it will be a long-term injury that will keep out the 31-year old Russian.
It doesn't looks like Benson can catch a break this season. Benson's team already holds the lead on the Jordan bobblehead trophy and with a few weeks to go until the Waiver Draft, it appears that he'll have a pretty good shot at building a lead for it as well.
With only 8 points in his first 12 games this season, some might think that it is an okay start to a career for some rookies, but not for Tampa's dynamo-in-waiting, Jonathan Drouin, who was a healthy scratch again on Saturday night for the game against the Islanders. There is no sense of urgency with Drouin, in the case of the Lightning, who are already quite happy with a number of other young players in their line-up, but Drouin is suggested to be the next big thing, but healthy scratches are certainly working against that theory.
I don't think anyone is going to fault Dale C. on the rookie gamble on Drouin, because I think most of us had him on our lists to pick up at some point. Taking him in the 5th round, 118th overall, might have been the biggest stretch, but the 19-year old is only 236th in pool scoring at the moment, not too far off of a 5th round pace.
The injury issues for the Anaheim Ducks continue to stack up, but they also got a helpful return as well, so I guess it isn't all bad. On Sunday, the Ducks placed forward Devante Smith-Pelly on the Injured Reserve, as he is dealing with an upper-body injury, which is believed to be his shoulder. There was no timetable given for his return, so it remains unclear how soon he'll be back, after his customary 1-week stint on the IR.
In positive news, the Ducks did get forward Corey Perry back in their line-up for Sunday's tilt against the Florida Panthers. His return didn't necessarily help, as the Ducks got tuned in, 6-2, by the visiting Cats. Perry had missed a couple of weeks with the mumps and had also given it to teammate Francois Beauchemin, who remains on the IR with the illness.
This just means more bad news for Ryan in the pool this year, who can't seem to catch a break either. Ryan is only 7 points clear of the bottom after Week Six and still has a 12-game buffer between his team and the Jordan bobblehead, but this injury will keep him in the mix. Dale C. is also in the mix for the Jordan bobblehead, but he had a player come back, which could provide some extra room between his team and Benson's, but Dale is only four games up on Benson in the race, walking a tightrope away.
An unfortunate turn of events for Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele, who left Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild with what is believed to be a knee injury, after a teammate fell on his leg in the offensive zone, during a scramble in front of the Wild net. The Jets forward left the game, not to return, but there wasn't any immediate word on the severity of the injury. We should likely hear more either on Monday or Tuesday.
Scheifele only has 2 goals and 7 points in 19 games this season for the Jets, which isn't going to cut it for Stuart and his 10th place team in the standings. This injury could be a pretty significant blow, as much as Scheifele hasn't really broken out yet this year, it only seems like a matter of time before he does. We'll keep an eye on this one.
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