Monday, January 19, 2015

Week Fifteen Newsletter

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Well, this was the last full week of the schedule before the All-Star break shortened week in the NHL and it looks like it was a pretty good one.  This coming week isn't going to be nearly as good, but it will have the Skills Competition, so it isn't all bad.

I would have thought that the Player of the Week would have pulled a couple more points out of the busier week in the schedule than just 8 points or there would be more than one player that had 8 or more points.  Sure, there were a few players with 7 points, but there was only one player who was the flat out leader and he only played in two games this week.

Vancouver Canucks netminder Ryan Miller took the top spot in weekly scoring this week, thanks to back-to-back shutouts on back-to-back nights on the road, first making 30 saves against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night and then making another 28 saves against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.

Miller currently ranks 6th overall in pool scoring this season, thanks to 22 wins and 5 shutouts, lifting his overall total to 54 points this year.  There is no question that Miller is far exceeding his projections this season, as his play for the Canucks has been far better than we accounted for and it is a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

Grant S. has been the main benefactor of his great play too, as the goaltending points have been clutch for Grant to make it up to 2nd place in the standings this season.  This is now back-to-back Player of the Week nods for Grant, as David Backes earned the nod last week for him.

Miller is no stranger to the Player of the Week nod, but it has been quite a while since he has seen the light of this blog.  Overall, this is his fourth mention in the blog, but his first since the late stages of the 2012 season.

PhotobucketYawn!  With their seventh trip to the Mover & Shaker nod for the week, Kristy & Don continue to run away with the pool, likely making this year one of the least exciting seasons to date.  I'm sure they're enjoying it though.

This week, they managed to pick up 41 points and thus extend their lead to 49 points, up 9 points from the end of Week Fourteen.

Their Week Fifteen successes are owed to Frederik Andersen of the Ducks, who had 7 points, Tomas Plekanec of the Habs and Kristopher Letang of the Pens, who each had 6 points, while Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals hd 5 points.  They did have two players on their active roster, who didn't register a point in the week, but that really didn't help any of us catch them, now did it?

Well, the pool's top duo will have an injury or two to contend with, but with their lead so great and just about everyone else picking up points for them, it does seem rather unlikely that they'll be caught this year.

PhotobucketOh my!  Someone new hits the Newsletter this week, unfortunately, it's in the Basement Dweller section of the page.

Mike has yet to be named this season as one of the top or bottom teams, but he did have a Player of the Week, so he isn't exactly brand new.  Nevertheless, it wasn't a great week for him and that's why he's here.

Things have kind of gone sideways since the Waiver Draft, where there were a couple of miscalculations on his switches, not foreseeing the immense impact that Jets forward Mathieu Perreault would have after Week Nine and the lack of impact his replacement would be.  Mike has given up 18 points from the players he dropped, compared to the players he picked up this year, which is a pool-worst at the moment.

His 15 points this week, which makes back-to-back 15-point weeks, has now dropped his team down to 20th place in the standings, down from 12th at the end of Week Nine.  Mike's team only sits 12 points above the three teams that linger at the bottom of the table and he has been dropping points to them rather consistently, which is bad news.

Brendan Gallagher of the Habs and Marc Giordano of the Flames tried to keep him afloat, with 3 points each, but they can't do it alone.  There were seven zeroes on his team this past week, which really stinks, because of all of his skaters had played, they are just ice cold at the minute.

If his team doesn't pick up the pace, he might be in the conversation in the trophy talk, down below in the Newsletter, before too long.

TROPHY TALK

Well, the lead for the big trophy is now 49 points and still growing, while the second segment trophy gap is now up to 26 points, with only three weeks left to play, so that almost seems out of reach as well.  The same old story gets a bit old to write about, so there isn't any need to elaborate.  Kristy & Don are dominating this year and that's that.

To Grant S.'s credit, his team is also doing its fair share of dominating, as well, as his gap is now 45 points to 3rd place and for a while there, his team was in the conversation for Mover & Shaker, but that dropped off on the weekend.

The 3rd money position continues to stay red hot, as we've had another change of possession and a newcomer to the spot, as Cam had a big week and jumped both Clayton and Wes for the spot, holding a 1-point lead over 4th and a 4-point gap over 5th, which isn't safe, by any means.  We might see a bit more of this race in the daily blogs, if the goaltending match-ups work in their favour, as well.

The donkey trophies, they still have good races too.  The Olli race got a whole lot hotter, as 1 point separates 21st from 23rd, as Wyllie currently hangs on, due to having only 81 goals for, while Ryan holds the tie-breaker between the three teams with 113 goals, but Allan is 1 point up on the two, but only has 85 goals of his own.

The Jordan, for the least amount of skater games, has some life, as Benson is working his way out of the bottom of the standings here.  His team had nine more games than Allan and the gap is now down to three games and Allan's team has been ravished by injuries of late.  Dale C. and Wyllie are still dropping games to Benson, as well.  Benson has only seen 445 skater games, followed by Allan at 448, Dale C. is at 456 and Wyllie is at 457.  That's a pretty tight race.

WINNING EVERY WEEK

We're still sitting at two teams, as Kristy & Don picked up three wins and Brenda & Seward picked up a couple of wins from their keepers.  The pool's top duo is now down to one goalie, however, as Pekka Rinne is expected to miss a couple more weeks, at least, leaving the job up to Frederik Andersen.  The pool's second duo continues to roll along, thanks mostly to Henrik Lundqvist, because Ben Scrivens didn't find a win in the last week.

Will the All-Star shortened week finally end a run?  This will likely count as the widowmaker week in this competition and most competitions.

ROOKIE SCORING

Mike may have been the Basement Dweller this week, but his rookie, Jake Allen, did win a game, which closed the rookie scoring race down to 2 points, chasing down Wilton and Johnny Gaudreau for top spot in the pool standings that way.  Grant S. and his rookie, Aaron Ekblad, also picked up a point to keep somewhat of the pace this week, and is only 8 points behind.

This competition wouldn't be hurt by the shortened All-Star week, which makes it more likely to be used as a money game next year.

LIGHTING THE LAMP

The least likely of the three I have here is the goal-scoring survivor pool, mostly because it has an arbitrary level of goals to hit and I'm not sure which one I would want to use, if I did.  I had previously thought three goals would have been good, but while the goalie wins is down to two teams now, three goals is now down to nine teams, dropping Brian this week.  If I had it as four goals in the week, we would be down to five teams and the All-Star break would be a huge speed bump.

At four goals, the teams still active in the race: Grant S., Kristy & Don, Stacey M., Wilton and Mike.  If we stay down at three goals, Grant K., Ryan, Brenda & Seward and Stacey C. would still be in the race.

We'll see how it looks after the break.

ROUND 11 IN THE DRAFT

Pick # Round Pool Player NHL Pos Points
240 11 Tony Dourado Ryan Callahan TAM F 34
245 11 Stacey McDonald Darcy Kuemper MIN G 32
251 11 Derek Wilton Carl Soderberg BOS F 30
252 11 Dale Corley Alex Galchenyuk MTL F 29
250 11 Brenda Farrell Tyler Ennis BUF F 28
231 11 Stuart Greenley Mark Scheifele WPG F 25
233 11 Grant Kanwischer Shane Doan ARI F 25
238 11 Clayton Corley Jonathan Huberdeau FLA F 25
246 11 Wes Moroz Tommy Wingels SAN F 25
247 11 Mike Somerville Brendan Gallagher MTL F 25
241 11 Leo Macht Jussi Jokinen FLA F 24
242 11 Dale Bradley Chris Kreider NYR F 23
248 11 Benson Greenley Drew Stafford BUF F 22
236 11 Ryan Miller Riley Sheahan DET F 21
239 11 Kristy & Don Sam Gagner ARI F 21
253 11 Scott Gilmore Charlie Coyle MIN F 19
235 11 Troy Berkley Mike Richards LOS F 15
244 11 Grant Saskiw Matt Carle TAM D 14
243 11 Stacey Campbell Paul Martin PIT D 10
232 11 Cam Wagner Olli Maatta PIT D 9
237 11 Derek Wyllie Michal Neuvirth BUF G 6
234 11 Brian Towers Anders Lindback DAL G 0
249 11 Allan Scott Lubomir Visnovsky NYI D 0

How important has the 11th round been this season?  Only two players were dropped from this round at the Week Nine Waiver Draft and there have been a lot of points picked up in this round.  This led me to having a look at the comparison of points picked up per round by the pool and rounds one through seven go as planned, the 1st round worth 979 points, the 2nd, 846 points, and so on.  Well, the 11th round moved all the way up over the 8th round, thanks to 462 points, 10 points better than the 8th round.

That's impressive.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

It really didn't look like we were going to have all that impressive of a week, by the time we hit Friday.  Averages were down and hope was fleeting away.  But thanks to a pretty busy weekend and some alert scorers, the pool collected it's second-best total of points in a week, despite some real disappointing results from NHL creases.

The pool saw 12 points per NHL game on the schedule, finishing with 588 points in 49 NHL games, which was pretty darn good.  Not the best average of the year, but a damn fine total, which may only get topped by another 54-game week, later on in the year.

Injuries to Pekka Rinne in Nashville, Jimmy Howard in Detroit and Steve Mason in Philadelphia have now left the pool with three black holes of goalie minutes, where we are not seeing any minutes collected.  Previously, our worst weekly average for goalie minutes per NHL game was 98.1 minutes, which means we missed a few starts here and there, but this week, we dropped down to 87.5 minutes per NHL game, which was a big kick in the pants.

NEWS AND NOTES

Not much in the way of player notes in Sunday's action, as the only real mention was Shane Doan returning to the Coyotes' lineup for their game against the Jets. Doan blocked a shot earlier in the week, forcing him to miss a game, but he was good enough to return, but with the game on his stick in the shootout, trying to force extra shots, he wasn't able to convert, as his Coyotes dropped the game, 4-3 in the skills competition.

Doan did pick up an assist in the game, which was good news for Grant K., who also had a pretty bad week, dropping from 13th to 17th.

The early word on Monday morning is that Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov is practicing with the main group, which means he should be close to returning from his shoulder injury, which he suffered early last week, missing out on a few games.  This hasn't been 100% confirmed, but it does appear to be the case.

More good news for Grant K., who could really use some right about now.  Komarov has been a bit of a bust since the Waiver Draft, but if he can at least stay healthy, he would be a better option than who Grant could pick in his place.

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