Monday, December 14, 2015

Week Ten Newsletter





How badly did everyone underestimate the Chicago Blackhawks and maybe more so to the point, how many Corey Crawford doubters are there left around the hockey world?  The salary cap crunch was supposed to dissolve whatever connections to a championship that the Blackhawks were supposed to have, but their core group of players, including their number one goalie, has seen to quite the opposite.

With a 10-point week under his belt in Week Ten, Crawford becomes the top goalie in the pool in scoring, now with 15 wins, 4 shutouts and 1 assist, carrying 39 points into Week Eleven, ranking 4th overall in pool scoring.

In three games this week, Crawford posted a 3-0-0 record with back-to-back shutouts, Friday, against Winnipeg and Sunday, against Vancouver.  In the only game he didn't post a shutout, he only allowed a single goal, stopping 91 of 92 shots faced.

Needless to say, Stuart's 1st round pick is a good one and he's now got a sizeable lead in his own side bet with John S. and Benson for the best 1st round picks between the three of them.

To no one's surprise, Stuart will also walk away with the Mover & Shaker Award for the week, as his team was good enough to post a whopping 34-point week in Week Ten, the only pool team to eclipse the 30-point barrier and even more impressive, was 8 points better than 2nd place in the week, which goes to Scott, who had 26 points.  Maybe it really was a bad week for scoring.

Yes, of course having the Player of the Week is significantly help your chances at getting the Mover & Shaker nod, but Stuart also had some quality help from some other players.  That's not to say that the Player of the Week wasn't important to him, Crawford only had 2 points less than this week's Basement Dweller, which is worth a mention.

Justin Faulk of the Hurricanes is turning into quite the pick this year, as his 6 points in the week has lifted him up to 25 points on the season and is making good on his 5th round selection.  St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also kicked in with 5 points this week and then after that, it was a lot of nickels & dimes in the small change department.

With the big week, Stuart's team moved up from 14th place to 8th place in the standings, but is still 17 points out of the money, so his side would still need another big week to get into that conversation on a full-time basis.  If his goaltending and defense keep up, this isn't an impossibility.

The big week also got him reeling in a couple more of those side bets that he has on the go, as he now leads in three of the seven bets, losing three and tied in the last one.  That's an even draw, if I've ever seen one.

It was a solid race for the Basement Dweller, which really shouldn't happen after the Waiver Draft is completed, but that's not for this Newsletter to decide, I guess.  Four teams were 2 points from each other in the standings, down at the bottom of the weekly total, but 12 points was enough to remain in the basement, when normally, it has been about 10 points.  Allan's team beat out Clayton, Derek & Dan and Neil for the nod, failing to register much for points through the week.

Allan's team had five players with 2 points a piece, including one of his two new pick-ups, Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who had one win for his 2 points.  Two more players had a couple of singles,  but it wasn't a great week for Allan's team, top to bottom.

Fortunately, if you can really call it that, for Allan, he only dropped one spot in the standings, going from 17th to 18th, but when you're having the least amount of points in the week, the gaps get bigger ahead of you.  Allan's team is now 47 points out of the money and he'll need his entire team to kick it into high gear, in order to make that gap up.

Sure, there is another Waiver Draft in eight weeks, but can his team really afford to wait that long?

Week Ten brings us the first finish to a week where Neil isn't in the money spots.  Neil's team was one of the Basement Dweller racers this week, which forced him out of the top three, as his team now sits in 4th place, 3 points out of the money.

John P. kept his 3-point lead from the end of last week, while Dale B. and Jeremy each sit with that 3-point gap to 1st place, Dale leading Jeremy by 1 goal in the first tie-breaker.  Jeremy holds a 1-win lead in the second tie-breaker, which would make things really interesting, if it came down to it.

Brenda & Seward and Troy are still within a good week's range of making some noise up at the top, they're 6 & 7 points out, respectively, and it only takes a solid week to make up that gap.  It doesn't have to be an amazing week, although they'd prefer amazing weeks, I'm sure.

The rookie pool remains as boring as ever.  Thanks Ryan!

Ryan's team picked up another 6 points, increasing their lead in it by another 3 points.  Even with another Waiver Draft to go, it will be awfully difficult for Troy to catch Ryan in this department, especially with Connor McDavid slowly making his way back.

We did have five more teams join the race, if that means anything... it doesn't.  It's probably best that we just move on from here.

As mentioned earlier in the week, we're now down to five teams now in the survivor pool. Derek W. was the last team to be eliminated, thanks in large part to an injury to Devan Dubnyk in Minnesota and the Flyers opting to go with Michal Neuvirth instead of Steve Mason.

We are now left with John P., Dale B., Jeremy, Stuart and Allan in the pool, which now includes the top three teams in the standings, plus 8th & 18th.  That's quite the spread in the standings, but that shouldn't come as much of surprise.  What does come as a surprise is that we have the money teams, the Mover & Shaker and the Basement Dweller, all in the same race.  Interesting.

Where are all the goons at?  I spent a great deal of time pumping this pool up to be an exciting one and between the four goons that Wes and Derek & Dan picked up, we saw a grand total of 3 assists and 2 PIM.  Really?  For shame!

The goon team of the week belonged to Brian, who had Brad Marchand and Adam Larsson terrorizing the scoresheets with their minutes and he had both players taken in the original draft.  One of his Waiver Draft picks, Jannik Hansen of the Canucks, did pick up 2 PIM of his own, so he's running neck-in-neck with the actual goon teams.

It's only one week in after the Waiver Draft, so we shouldn't worry too much.  These goons just need to get mad again.  Maybe that'll happen after Christmas or something.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

The NHL schedule didn't exactly let the pool stretch its legs with the new players that we picked up, having a mid-season low in games with only 43 on the docket, but the pool did work admirably well with the limited games.  Scoring was around the 13-point mark for each NHL game, which is good news!  Skater games were up near the start of the season numbers, while goaltending has still seen some empty pool creases around the league.  The PIM collection, as per my PIM pool update above, probably could have been a bit better too.

Nevertheless, the pool moved in the right direction and the the number of injuries were limited... I think.

It'll be a huge week to follow up a smaller week, as we'll see 51 NHL games in Week Eleven, so prepare for a lot of points.

NEWS AND NOTES

The only note I could really find this morning was that of Jonathan Bernier's impending return to the Toronto Maple Leafs, to which he is now expected to start on Tuesday night against the Lightning.  Bernier had an excellent stint in the AHL, registering 3 shutout wins, but they don't count to any totals in this pool, sadly.

Cindy's team has already found it's first couple wins of the season last week, thanks to Edmonton's Anders Nilsson, so hopefully this is the upswing her team needs to start climbing.  If it is indeed the upswing, this could mean bad news for Ryan, who is sitting on Garret Sparks.

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