Monday, December 07, 2015

Week Nine Newsletter



Welcome to the second segment of the hockey pool season.  Week Nine is complete and we have 2+ rounds worth of players shifting in and out of the rosters, starting today.  I know for some, players have been already been teasing some of you with some good performances, but now they count for good.

But first, we have to look at how our old and less exciting players had done the week previous.



It was a clean win for New Jersey's Mike Cammalleri, the only player in the pool to hit the 7-point mark in Week Nine, as he has been having quite the start to the season, leading the Devils through a rough patch in the franchise history.

In four games this week, the 33-year old veteran finished with 4 goals and 3 assists, which now brings his totals up to 11 goals and 30 points in 27 games, which now ranks him 8th overall in pool scoring this year.  Who saw that coming?

After being shutout against the Avalanche on Tuesday, Cammalleri put together a 3-game points streak, scoring a pair and adding an assist against the Hurricanes on Thursday, a goal and an assist against the Flyers on Friday and then another goal and an assist on Sunday.

In the pool, Cammalleri is one of the best bargains taken in the draft this year, as Neil took him in the 10th round, 263rd overall, a +255 pick improvement, which now ranks 3rd in the pool in that category.  Neil has taken this pick, among some of his other good picks this year, and found his way into the money ranks all year long.

In a week, where there wasn't a great deal of scoring all the way around, Brenda & Seward's team was able to find some points in the NHL schedule, running away with this weekly contest, picking up 36 points, 8 points better than anyone else in the pool.  It is these kind of weeks, which have been becoming more prevalent, where a big week in points can really move up a team in the standings.

Unlike a few of those recent weeks, Brenda & Seward only moved up a couple spots, bumping up from 8th to 6th, but they have really closed down the gap to the money spots, as they are now only 2 points out of 3rd place and only 13 points out of 1st place.

Jonathan Quick of the Kings led the way for the pool's second duo, picking up 6 points in Week Nine, while both Derrick Brassard of the Rangers and Predators forward Filip Forsberg picked up 5 points a piece and they were followed quickly by Adam Henrique of the Devils, Zdeno Chara of the Bruins and Karri Ramo of the Flames, who each had 4 points.

You can tell that they are very confident in their team moving forward, as they had only swapped out one defenseman at the Waiver Draft, acknowledging that they don't have a lot of gaps in their side and with only a short gap to the money, they'll be an interesting team to watch moving forward.

The big money is all that Brenda & Seward really have to look forward to, as their team hasn't been a factor in the mini-games, failing to get off the ground in the goalie survivor pool, no rookies (until this week) and their team is only slightly goonish, now 99 PIM out of the lead in the PIM pool.

In a low-scoring week, the race for the Basement Dweller gets to be really good... and it was!  5 points separated nine teams from the bottom of the pool, but it was one of the previous money teams that came away with the honour, as Jeremy had a non-money worthy week, only scoring 12 points in the week and dropping out of the money, dropping from 2nd to 4th.  Luckily for his side, the rest of the money teams didn't really do a great job of scoring either, so the drop wasn't too far.

Mikael Granlund of the Wild tried to keep him afloat in the week, leading his team with 3 points, but seven players on his side failed to pick up a point in the week, which was the biggest reason why his team couldn't float his way through a poor scoring week.

Maybe the most glaring mention in here is that this is a first-to-worst situation, something that is also quite the rarity in the pool, but the past has shown that it isn't quite impossible.  In Week Eight, Jeremy had a Mover & Shaker week, followed up by a Basement Dweller week... maybe his team just wants some constant attention.

It's now back-to-back weeks for John P. in top spot in the standings, as he has managed to retain the lead, opening up a 3-point gap from just escaping a tie-break situation in Week Eight.  We have a new team in 2nd place in the standings, as Neil, the only team to have remained in the money spots in all nine weeks, moved up to 2nd place again, while Dale B. moved back into the money, after a week away, and now sits in 3rd place.

As we touched on in the Mover & Shaker, only 2 points separates 3rd from 6th place, so this section of the Newsletter has a lot of play in it and with Mover & Shakers moving quickly into this conversation every week, everything still remains fresh and exciting.

Something that isn't quite fresh and exciting is the rookie pool, where Ryan continues to keep a substantial lead from week to week.  Ryan's team found 5 more points, compared to Troy's 3 points in Week Nine, which means that the lead is now 23 points after the week.

The Waiver Draft did make the rookie race a little bit more interesting, as there were 10 more rookies taken and they'll be made active today.  Ryan swapped out his rookie goaltender for another, while Troy was able to add a rookie defenseman to his roster, hopefully adding someone to close the gap.

No team added a pair of rookies in the Waiver Draft, so there is no real immediate threat to Ryan's lead, that I can see anyways.

Stuart managed to sneak his team into the Week Ten part of this competition with a Sunday afternoon win for the Chicago Blackhawks, as Corey Crawford kept him alive, but we couldn't say the same about Scott, who was officially eliminated this week after a pretty good run with both Martin Jones of the Sharks and Jake Allen of the Blues. Neither were good enough to win in Week Nine.

With that being said, Week Ten now begins with six teams remaining and a fairly low, 43 games on the NHL schedule.  Allan, Dale B., Derek W., Jeremy, John P. and Stuart are the only teams left who can come away with the $60 at the end of this contest.

Two of the remaining six made goaltending changes to help increase their chances at success in the pool, as Allan welcomes Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets to his lineup, while Jeremy added Al Montoya of the Panthers to his.  Will those moves pay off?

Thanks to the Waiver Draft, this should be a two-horse race to the finish, but nothing is at all guaranteed.  Wes and Derek & Dan made significant moves to give up on the big money and focus solely on their chances at getting their money back.  Wes added both Cody McLeod and Jordin Tootoo to his lineup, while the pool's third duo went big with Chris Neil and Derek Dorsett in their lineup.

Starting Week Ten, these two were the top two in the pool, before adding their muscle, Wes leading the duo, 245-193 to start the week.  That's a 52 PIM lead, but one could argue that the duo's pair has a bit more of a mean streak to it, so that lead may not be safe.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Wow, this was a bad week and I don't think I could stress that enough.  We had a season high of 50 NHL games this week, but the pool could only muster 10.5 points in each game, our lowest average that we've seen this season.

Leading up to that, we had also seen some season-lows in skater and goalie participation in the pool, as the pool averaged less than 19 skater games per NHL game and less than 100 minutes in the creases across the schedule as well.

We'll be knocking off a lot of names from the news page with the Waiver Draft change-over, which should immediate give us all a boost in both games played and goalie minutes.

NEWS AND NOTES

There is a goalie situation brewing in Anaheim, as Frederik Andersen appears to be ready to come back from his illness, which begs the question, what are they going to do with both Anton Khudobin and John Gibson moving forward? Well, what we know is that on Sunday night, Gibson was the starter, Andersen was the back-up and Khudobin was the odd-man out.  With Week Ten upon us and three healthy goalies in Anaheim, we'll soon find out what the team has planned.

This is the last week that Stacey C. has to worry about this, as Khudobin was one of his drops at the Waiver Draft, as he picked up Linus Ullmark of the Sabres to take his place, opting to find more minutes played for his side, but who knows how many wins that will translate to.

Blackhawks defenseman Trevor Daley managed to leave the ice under his own power on Sunday afternoon, after he had an unfortunate collision with Jets forward Chris Thorburn, where the defender fell and the forward clipped his head with his knee, accidentally. The fear for Daley was that he needed to be carted off, but he was able to skate off to get checked out. Daley wasn't able to return and we'll wait to see if there is anymore news in the coming day or two.

Now that the Waiver Draft is over, Cindy should be hoping for some good news for her team.  Her side has started to make some strides up the standings and her team could use the two picks that she made to see some more improvements and back into some respectable finish potential.

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