Monday, January 05, 2015

Week Thirteen Newsletter

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All of the people who thought that the Dallas Stars were going to dominate from the drop of the puck on opening night have likely been a little disappointed with the start that they had gotten off to, but of late, they have been one of the hotter teams in the NHL.  Saying that, all the wins they have been racking up have meant that their minute leader, Kari Lehtonen, has been chalking up the W's in his numbers and in Week Thirteen, he earned the Player of the Week nod.

Lehtonen appeared in all four games for the Stars in the week and he went 3-0-1 with a shutout, earning 8 points in the week and was the outright winner of the week.

Monday, Lehtonen beat the Rangers, Wednesday saw a shutout over the Coyotes, Saturday was a win against the Wild and then he wasn't able to pull out the second half of the back-to-back, losing in overtime to the Blackhawks on Sunday.

With the big week, Lehtonen moved up to 18th in overall pool scoring, 10th among all goalies, with 17 wins, 3 shutouts and 2 assists for 42 points.  Lehtonen finished the week 7th in minutes played after Week Thirteen, which means that he has been pretty busy this season.

There is no question that Lehtonen has been the cornerstone of Benson's resurgence in the standings, as he is far and away his best player in the pool, making up 16.3% of his total points and his only player over 30 points to this point in the season.

This is Benson's 9th Player of the Week honour, where his first came in Week Nine of the 2010 season.  Four of which were Sidney Crosby, who he had in both 2010 and 2014 and two of them were Ryan Miller, back in 2011.  Lehtonen is no stranger to the Player of the Week nod, as this is his 5th nod since the 2007 season, back with the Atlanta Thrashers.

PhotobucketWell, this is just getting disgusting and kind of boring.  Now, with their 6th Mover & Shaker nod of the season, Kristy & Don have continued to run away with the pool, setting a season-high in points with 43 and extending their overall lead in the pool to 41 points.  We're now hitting the halfway point in the regular season and there just doesn't seem to be any stopping this train.

Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and Mike Ribeiro of the Predators led the way with 6 points each, while Pekka Rinne of the Predators had 5 points, and Alex Goligoski of the Stars and Frederik Andersen each had 4 points.  Every one of their players managed to register at least 1 point in the week, so all cylinders are firing at the moment and they continue to just luck out.

Their team leads in both defensemen and goalie scoring, significantly in both, and are well-above average in forwards scoring, so there just doesn't look to be any letting up.

PhotobucketAt the opposite end of the spectrum, it is somewhat surprising that we haven't seen Allan fall into the Basement Dweller on the Newsletter, especially since his team has now dropped down to 22nd overall in the standings.  For the first time this season, Allan makes his way here and his season has taken a turn for the worse, which there was every indication, before the puck even dropped, with all the injuries his team had suffered.

Allan's team only managed 15 points in the busiest of weeks, so far this year, and he managed to get most of his points from three of his players.  Antti Niemi in San Jose, Vincent Lecavalier in Philadelphia and Kyle Okposo on Long Island accounted for 10 of his 15 points, Niemi leading the way with 4.

In the standings, Allan's team got off to a roaring start, finishing 4th in Week One, but the decline came and continued, 6th in Week Two, 9th in Week Five, 12th in Week Six, 15th in Week Seven, 16th in Week Eight, 19th in Week Nine, 20th in Week Ten and now 22nd after Week Thirteen.  His team only stands 3 points clear of last place, which is now sitting on shaky ground, as his team sits 22nd in the second segment.

TROPHY TALK

Okay, so we know about 1st place... that's pretty clear.  Grant S. also put another 4 points on his lead over 3rd place, while losing 4 points to 1st place.  The race for 3rd place got a little bit more interesting, although Tony may be sitting just a bit safer, now 7 points up on 4th place, which has swapped hands a few times in the week, but Wes now sits in the spot.

Now, the group chasing down 3rd place is really interesting, as 10 points now separates 4th place from 10th place.  These teams are scratching and clawing to get over each other, but failing to get closer to 3rd place, which is somewhat funny, in its own sort of way.

As for the second segment, Brenda & Seward now only hold a tie-breaking lead over Kristy & Don, as both teams have 126 points, 13 points better than Wilton, who had a bit of an off-week in Week Thirteen.  Six teams are now in triple digits for the segment, but are falling behind quickly.

Week Thirteen also gave us a new leader for the Olli, as Wyllie takes over the mantle from Benson (who rocketed past three teams in the week), but Wyllie has company down at the bottom, as Allan and Ryan are only 3 points better and are not exactly lighting the place up.

Benson still has a good grip on the Jordan bobblehead, still 16 games worse than Wyllie in this race and not giving up many games in the process.  The week's worst in the category was Stuart, who only saw 32 skater games, thanks in large part to injuries, but his team is 48 games clear of Benson for last place.

WINNING EVERY WEEK

There is no letting up in this race, as the same three teams are winning like crazy.  Brenda & Seward won 4 games, Grant S. won 3 and Kristy & Don won 4 games.  Those are the three teams left to fail to win a game in the week.  It will be a much quieter week in the pool, which amps up the risk level for each of these teams.

ROOKIE SCORING

14 of 23 teams are in this race, some more so than others.  The top three teams are really what we want to look at, as Wilton, Mike and Grant S. have the best chance at winning this competition, if there was money involved this year.  Grant had the better of the week of the three, picking up 3 points, but Wilton still leads with 31 points, Mike is at 27 and Grant is at 22.

LIGHTING THE LAMP

I'm definitely thinking about three mini-games for next season's draft pool and the goalie wins survivor pool gave me another idea... a survivor pool where you'll need your team to score a certain number of goals in a week to keep going.  The going rate of scoring right now is 3 goals and with that said, we had 10 teams left in this survivor pool going into Week Thirteen.

After the week, given how busy the week was, all 10 of those teams managed to pick up at least 3 goals, all of which doubled (or better) the necessary 3 goals to stay in this race as well.  Brenda & Seward, Brian, Dale C., Grant K., Grant S., Kristy & Don, Mike, Ryan, Stacey C. and Stacey M. are all still alive, as their pool teams are not having any troubles scoring goals this year.

ROUND 13 IN THE DRAFT

Pick # Round Pool Player NHL Pos Points
290 13 Grant Saskiw Aaron Ekblad FLA D 22
284 13 Clayton Corley Sean Couturier PHI F 20
287 13 Leo Macht Karri Ramo CAL G 20
277 13 Stuart Greenley Joel Ward WAS F 18
285 13 Kristy & Don Troy Brouwer WAS F 18
292 13 Wes Moroz Trevor Daley DAL D 18
296 13 Brenda Farrell Alec Martinez LOS D 16
289 13 Stacey Campbell Brandon Sutter PIT F 15
297 13 Derek Wilton Alex Chiasson OTT F 15
291 13 Stacey McDonald Mika Zibanejad OTT F 13
295 13 Allan Scott Mikhail Grabovski NYI F 13
299 13 Scott Gilmore Josh Bailey NYI F 13
278 13 Cam Wagner Andrew Cogliano ANA F 10
280 13 Brian Towers Andy Greene NJD D 10
293 13 Mike Somerville Mathieu Perreault WPG F 9
298 13 Dale Corley Niklas Hjalmarsson CHI D 9
286 13 Tony Dourado Milan Michalek OTT F 8
288 13 Dale Bradley Michael Stone ARI D 8
279 13 Grant Kanwischer Stephane Robidas TOR D 4
281 13 Troy Berkley R.J. Umberger PHI F 4
283 13 Derek Wyllie Mikael Backlund CAL F 4
282 13 Ryan Miller David Booth TOR F 0
294 13 Benson Greenley Teemu Pulkkinen DET F 0

It's a pretty good pick when a rookie defenseman is leading any round in the draft, even when it is the second-to-last round of the draft.  Aaron Ekblad of the Panthers has already set a franchise record for points from a rookie defenseman and it is only halfway through the season.  He has been far and away the best player in this round.

All of the players in red have been dropped and there were a couple of oops in this round, as both Mika Zibanejad and Mathieu Perreault each ramped up their scoring totals after the Waiver Draft and they would have been near the top of the pile, if they stayed on with their pool teams.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

The busiest scheduled week in the NHL season will mean, more games, more minutes and more points and that was exactly what it was.  The big question was... just how many points are we expecting to pull out?  The answer in the end was a whopping 668 points!

The pool had its 3rd-best average in scoring, which is awesome, given that we had a big week in the schedule, so everyone managed to take in a bunch of points.

The other awesome statistic from the week was that we collected the best portion of goalie starts of the season, nearly averaging a full game worth of minutes from each NHL start, 110.7 minutes collected per game.  That suggests that we didn't miss many starts this week, which certainly helped our point totals in the end.

Week Fourteen goes back down to 44 games on the NHL schedule, so we'll see a let down in points collected, but if the average stays up, we won't be too disappointed.

NEWS AND NOTES

This weekend, the Tampa Bay Lightning sent defenseman Radko Gudas back home, while the team continued on its road trip, as the Czech blueliner deals with a lower-body injury.  The Bolts still have him listed as out day-to-day with his injury, but there is no timetable for his return.  I would expect to see him on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the beginning of last week, which would mean he would be eligible to come off at any time.

The hottest team in the pool loses one of their coldest players and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.  Any points from Gudas this season is a bonus for Brenda & Seward, as the rest of their team just motors right along.

There was a return to the press box for Anaheim forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who hasn't been nearly as effective as the expectations of him would have suggested he would be. Smith-Pelly will likely figure back into the Anaheim lineup before too long, but for now, he has been deemed the odd-man out.  The Ducks don't play again until Wednesday, when the Rangers come to town.

Smith-Pelly was a preseason Waiver Draft pick-up for Ryan, who dealt with injuries to start the year.  With only 15 points this season, he has been somewhat of a letdown, but what do you expect for not getting him until after the draft?

There is some minor injury concerns for the Florida Panthers, as Roberto Luongo didn't return to the game against the Washington Capitals after the 2nd period. Luongo was reportedly hit pretty hard by Alex Ovechkin, managed to finish the 2nd period and didn't come back to the ice for the 3rd. There is some speculation that Luongo was checked in the quiet room for a concussion, but he did return to the bench, so he may be just fine. Now we wait for confirmation of what the Panthers are going to do with this situation.

This is some bad news for Stuart, who has already been struggling of late with healthy bodies.  Stuart finished the week with five names on the injury list, although one will be taken off in the weekly reset, as Jeff Skinner came back from illness, bu that still leaves four names, which is rough.

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