Monday, October 26, 2015

Week Three Newsletter





Kicking off the week without a tie is a great way to get going.  Evgeny Kuznetsov established himself as a proper offensive threat in Week Three, finishing the week with 9 points, clearly taking the honours for Player of the Week.  He certainly had the hype, as he joined the NHL, but it took him a little over a season to finally get acclimatized to the league and now his talents are pushing through.

Kuznetsov played in three games in the week, registering a 3-assist game against Calgary on Tuesday, another assist against Vancouver on Thursday and then a monster game against the Oilers on Friday, potting a hat-trick and another 2 assists.  It was certainly a coming out party on Friday for the kid.

Those kind of numbers are going to work wonders for your season totals, especially this early in the season.  Kuznetsov's 9-point week brought his total up to 11 points, which has him ranked 13th overall in pool scoring, the midway point of the 1st round, if we were to re-draft today.  This would make him into an extreme bargain for Brian, who picked him in the 7th round, 180th overall.

Sure enough, once you get a huge bargain pick like Kuznetsov and you were fortunate enough to surround it with some pretty good talent in the same week, you're going to get the Mover & Shaker nod in the week as well, so Brian walks away with two headline spots in Week Three.

The Mover & Shaker from down under finished the week with 33 points, which shimmied him up the standings, where he started the week in 18th place and finished the week in 4th place.  Sure, we're still operating in some pretty close quarters in the early part of the season, but to move 14 spots in the standings is still pretty impressive.

After the Player of the Week nod on his team, Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames finished the week with 5 points, followed by Jamie Benn of the Stars, who had 4 points.  His top three players finished with 18 points between them, which was either tied or better than 10 teams below him in the pool in the week.  That's pretty scary.

Brian's team only had two naughts during the week, which meant that he was seeing some very spread out scoring in the week.  His team also ranks 10th place in skater games played, staying relatively healthy, while his goaltending may leave a little to be desired, ranking 18th in minutes played, but he does have one starter, so that should keep him afloat.

This is Brian's 4th Mover & Shaker nod in just a little over one season's worth of playing in the pool, so he's catching on and becoming quite the force.

On paper, when you looked at John R.'s team to start the year, you may have only questioned his second goalie decision, but otherwise, it was looking like a pretty decent team.  Unfortunately, with some of the scoring woes of some of the top teams, his side hasn't quite panned out early on, like you would have assumed it would and that all rounded itself out in Week Three, where he couldn't find points to save his life.

The week only garnered 11 points, which dropped his team down to last place (27th), but there is still some upside to his team, they just need to get their act together.

In the week, Marc-Andre Fleury picked up 4 points to lead the way for his side, but eight players were all scoreless, including his pair in Carolina, Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner.

Injury troubles on his blueline are going to be another contributing factor to keeping him down a little bit lower than some teams, but once a few of his superstars, like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Marleau finally get going, things should start working out for him.

Okay, I thought by now, I would have had the prizes worked out, but I haven't been able to locate any more fun prizes over the last couple weeks, so it might just be a cash season.  That decision will hopefully come down this week.

After back-to-back weeks in 2nd place, Neil has finished a week in 1st place and he opened up a little bit of a lead on top of that as well, looking down from a 5-point cushion.  Last week's leader, Dale B., didn't fall too far from the top, dropping down to 2nd place, while John S. remained as the 3rd place holder.  In review, the top three teams didn't change, just a flip-flop of 1st and 2nd.  That's not nearly as dramatic as one would have hoped.

I promise... I'll have a breakdown of the prizes this week.

One prize we know of already is the rookie pool and Ryan's team, the post-draft favourite, continues to mosey along with a couple of the best rookies on his side this season.  Connor McDavid had a 4-point week to help lead his team in the week and he picked up another point from Artemi Panarin, bringing his season total up to 18 points.  Ryan's situation gets a little bit better, as the Flames goaltending now has his fourth rookie on his team, now to see if he's getting any points.

Just behind Ryan, something we'll monitor as well, Troy has 9 points in 2nd and Scott has 6 points in 3rd, as they'll try to keep pace as best they can.  If they can stay in arm's length, they might be able to work something out in the Waiver Draft to help their causes out.

And then there were 13.

Kristy & Don and Clayton were both eliminated from the goalie survivor pool in Week Three, as neither team could rustle up a win from their two goalies.  Kristy & Don couldn't find a win from either Semyon Varlamov or Roberto Luongo, while Clayton only had Ryan Miller and he went winless in only two starts.

John S. and Derek W. have to be the early favourites in the competition, as they lead the pool in wins through three weeks, with 8 and 7, respectively.

The schedule in Week Four is quite busy, 48 NHL games, so it is good for teams to keep moving through to the next week.

Meanwhile, in the PIM pool, Eric's goon team still leads the way in the race, despite only picking up 8 minutes in penalties through his team.  His 68 PIM are still 6 minutes better than the preseason favourite, Wes, who is still well in the race.

The goons of the week belonged to Brenda & Seward, who racked up 23 PIM in Week Three, moving up the ranks, as they now total 45 PIM.  Still a line brawl away from 1st place in the pool, but they're still within a rabbit punch from the top... or a few.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

It was a down week in games played in the NHL schedule, as there were only 41 games on the docket, but scoring throughout the pool was the best of the three weeks so far, just barely eclipsing the average points per NHL game of Week One.  Injuries and suspensions reduced the average number of skater games played per NHL game in the pool, which took down the average number of PIM per game, but that's to be expected.

We saw a few more injuries in the week and there are not very many players scheduled to be back this week, so it could be a wash in the improvements from our pool in Week Four.  Hopefully the scoring stays up, since that's what we're all here to see.

NEWS AND NOTES

It's almost hard to believe that the Columbus Blue Jackets registered their first win without forward Ryan Johansen, but that was exactly the case. Johansen was sent home back to Columbus from the team's road trip, due to an illness and he was unavailable for the game.  As of Monday morning, there still wasn't a great deal of detail on the illness that Johansen is suffering from, but his agent suggested that it isn't thought to be too serious, but it is fatiguing his client and hasn't had enough energy to play.

For now, he'll be considered day-to-day with the illness, which is about the best news that Eric could expect for one of his top forwards.  Eric's team finished the week in 15th place, 24 points back of 1st place and in order to close that gap, he'll need a healthy Johansen.

The Islanders coaching staff were busy on Saturday night, trying to make examples of some of the big guns of the team. Forward Ryan Strome and veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky were both healthy scratches for their game against the St. Louis Blues.  Even with the Islanders pulling out a win, the team is still expected to have both players back in their lineup on Monday night, when they play host to the Calgary Flames.  This was a short-term stint in the press box for both.

At the end of the day/week, it was a lost skater game for each Clayton and Benson, respectively, nothing that either team needed, as they try to keep pace with the top three teams in the pool.

Scary moment for the Philadelphia Flyers over the weekend, as forward Michael Raffl ran into Rangers forward Jarret Stoll, getting caught right on the button with an unintentional elbow. Raffl's scarier moment came ont he bench, when he seemingly lost consciousness and thus ended his night.  Reports on Monday suggest that Raffl has passed all of the concussion testing and he isn't expected to miss any time.

This is good news for our reigning Mover & Shaker, who is making his ascent up to the money spots.  Brian took Raffl in the 11th round this year and only has 1 assist through seven games.

One more Islanders note before we close down the Newsletter for the week... the team has placed defenseman Thomas Hickey on the Injured Reserve, due to a lower-body injury, but have said that they will release a timetable for his return later on in the week.  I'm sure with the update, there will be a few more details and if it is longer than the week's obligation on the shelf, we'll have a post for it.

Nevertheless, we'll have to strike the projected games to be played from Cindy's Week Four total, which will be reflected with the weekly reset.  I don't think it would be fair to speculate any further than that, but I can say it will be increasingly difficult to start making up that 30-point gap to 1st place without another skater.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website
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