Monday, April 04, 2016

Week Twenty-Six Newsletter





There are not very many honours left for Chiacgo's Artemi Panarin to win now, since he has just picked up his first Player of the Week nod in the hockey pool, taking Week Twenty-Six's honour, as the only player to pick up 8 points in the week.  Panarin is the likely leader for the Calder Trophy this year and his numbers are certainly there to back him up and one would think that a Player of the Week nod in this pool will help those voters go over the top for his selection.  Right?

Panarin and the Blackhawks played in three games this week and after getting shutout against the Wild on Tuesday night, the 24-year old Russian had back-to-back games with 4 points a piece, scoring a pair of goals against the Jets on Friday and then another goal against the Bruins on Sunday.

In total, the freshman has now posted 28 goals and 72 points in 77 games this season, which is good enough for 22nd overall in pool scoring, making him into a huge bargain pick for Ryan, both in the overall sense and in the rookie pool, where he is absolutely dominating the latter.  Ryan snuck out the Russian phenom in the 9th round of the pool, which is incredible, since he is currently ranked as a 1st round pick after this week.

A second Mover & Shaker in this third segment of the season has meant that Derek W. has had one red-hot team in recent weeks... five weeks to be exact.  His side ran away with the Mover & Shaker in Week Twenty-Six, finishing with 36 points, 3 points better than his nearest competitor in the week and with that big week, his team crept into the top 10 in the standings, finishing 10th, ousting Stuart from the spot and possibly eyeing up another big week and a slight improvement to his overall standing.

In the week, Derek's team were led by Blake Wheeler of the Jets and Steve Mason of the Flyers, as they each finished with 6 points in the week, helping to guide the way.  Mason's story being the more interesting of the two, as the Flyers push for a last-minute playoff spot in the East, riding the shoulders of their number one goalie.

Also having a big week for Derek's team was David Backes of the Blues, as he finished with 5 points, also taking a pretty significant lead role in the success of the pool team.

Only one player, due to injury, was unable to collect any points for Derek's team this week, which was Mikhail Grabovski of the Islanders, who has been out for some time with an undisclosed injury.

Derek's team has been very up-and-down this season, peaking at 8th place this season, the last time his team was up that high was Week Fourteen, but that high does seem to be somewhat out of reach, as his team is already 9 points back of 9th place and then 15 points back of 8th.  He has had a couple of hot goalies this last little while, so it isn't too far out of the question, assuming they both get red-hot in this last week.

In this third segment, his side is tied for 5th, since the start of Week Nineteen, having 207 points in these last eight weeks, still 23 points back of the segment leader, Brian, who has had a great finish to the year.  If it wasn't for a 172-point segment (14th) in the middle of the season, Derek's team really could have stayed in the money conversation longer.

Next up, it's the basement, and it's the other Derek that occupies the infamous spot.  Derek & Dan's goon squad has been fairly inconsistent in the scoring department, despite finding their way out of the overall basement, which they had a piece of for a while this year.

In Week Twenty-Six, their elite brand of goons finished the week with only 12 points and there are some injury problems that have led to their lack of scoring.  Losing both their Sabres representation and not having their Canadiens rep until Saturday didn't help much either.  It also doesn't help when their 1st round pick, Henrik Lundqvist, goes cold for the Rangers in the week and fails to pick up a point either.

Half of their offense came from Jakub Voracek of the Flyers and Mark Giordano of the Flames, who each finished with 3 points each and then it was a bit of a mixed bag among the rest of their healthy players in the week.

For their sake, they have the PIM pool pretty well wrapped up and they've found themselves safe from last place in the overall standings, so this is just a small blemish on their year, as we wind down to the finish this week.

So, what do we have left this week?  We've got two key races, the race for 1st place and the race for 3rd place.  The gap between 2nd & 3rd is now 23 points and that won't be made up this week, so we won't even try to give hope there.

Jeremy opened up another 2 points on his lead, heading into the final week and his team has a significant advantage in the projected games race, as his team has five more games that could be played.  It isn't impossible that Brenda & Seward could make up that 9-point gap, but it is seemingly improbable.

In 3rd place, Brian is holding on.  His team only really has to worry about two teams behind him, as John P. and Kristy & Don's team are both 7 points back and neither have a chance in the tie-breaker, so they would need outright better weeks to get into that last money spot.  Kristy & Don's team have the projected games to be played advantage, 11 games better than Brian and 9 games better than John P., so there's that to consider as well.

We have ourselves some pretty good races to watch!

Well, Derek & Dan have an 81-minute advantage, heading into the new week, over Wes' team and Wes' team is injured beyond belief.  There is no way that Wes' team is going to make that up, which is too bad, since this was looking like the mini-game that was going to go right to the end of the year.

This mini-game was over before it really started.  Since one of Ryan's rookies finished as the Player of the Week, earning all 8 of his freshman points in the week, it was just an added kick to the competition's groin.  The 162 points Ryan's team has earned from his rookies this year is almost, but not quite, double that of his nearest competitor.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Remarkably, with skater games continuing to dwindle, goalie minutes falling off a little... average scoring in the NHL schedule has gone up in the pool, if only marginally.  There were a few more points to be had in the week, as we had 51 NHL games played and we had some pretty high scoring games, which was great.

It's going to be a busy week to finish off the regular season, with 50 games on the schedule, thanks to some rescheduled games from the Winter storms earlier in the year.  Hopefully, this keeps everyone interested.

NEWS AND NOTES

One of the biggest pieces of news from the weekend was the news that Pittsburgh Penguins number one, Marc-Andre Fleury, had suffered a concussion in the week and his timetable for a return is up in the air. Protocol would have his participation limited to the end of the week, if at all this week, but the way the news came down, his availability for the last week of the regular season is quite doubtful and then we have to start talking about the start of playoffs. Not good news at all.

For John R., his team has successfully made its way out of the pool's basement, which is a little better on the pride side of things.  With only this week left to go, his team should be considered to be safe from dropping down into the 27th spot.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is set to undergo surgery to help deal with a blood clot and this will keep him out of the Lightning lineup for anywhere between 1-to-3 months, which will first of all, end his regular season, and secondly, likely remove him from playoff eligibility.  With all the question marks surrounding Stamkos' future with the team, a lack of a good playoff run will provide more questions than answers about his future with the club and how well the Lightning will do in the playoffs.

I'm not too sure that Wes could be any unluckier with his injuries this season.  They have cost him so much this year, between both the overall points standings, dropping to last place and not having anyone to help, and then the PIM pool, where his team isn't healthy enough to sit in the box, it has been very disappointing for him.

On Saturday, the Coyotes were without forward Martin Hanzal, because of an upper-body injury and it sounds like that the injury will also cost the veteran centre, at least the start of this week as well.  The Coyotes have yet to confirm that he's done for the rest of the year, but with nothing else to really play for, there may not be any need to bring him back, unless there is no risk of further injury.  He's currently day-to-day.

Stuart's team fell out of the top 10 this week and injury problems may keep him out of the top 10, if they persist.  Now, he's going to have to fall back on his side bets for any money this year.

It's kind of older news, but defenseman Nathan Beaulieu suffered a broken thumb last week and that is going to cost the young defenseman the rest of the regular season.  Beaulieu has had a rocky season this year, dealing with some injury problems this year, but still finished with 19 points in 64 games this year with the Habs.  He may still be a good option for a late blueliner pick next season.

Bad news for Cindy's team, as that's their second player that won't be able to finish out the season at 100% health.  Her team is 24 points better than her brother's team, so at least there should be some pride in that.

There was no injury information that was shared from Brandon Pirri's absence from the Anaheim lineup on Sunday, so one could only be led to believe that he was a healthy scratch for the game against the Dallas Stars. Pirri has had some injury issues already this year, but there is a possibility that he needs a little bit more rest ahead of the playoffs... well, that's one theory.

Pirri belongs to our current Mover & Shaker and Derek earned the honour without the game played last night, so that's something.  If Derek's team is going to move up any more in the standings, Pirri will have to get in there and finish the year on a high note.

It's hard to say whether or not the upper-body injury that Mattias Janmark is dealing with is related to a previous injury he had in the last month, but this one will keep him out for a little bit, according to the coaches, so it might be safe to assume that his regular season may be done.  Janmark had a pretty good year with the Stars, 29 points in 73 games, but that's about where it will end, by the look of things.

Clayton's team doesn't have much else to play for, except to possibly finish in the top half of the standings.  His team will begin the week in the dead centre, 14th place, 10 points back of 13th.

A mysterious injury on Sunday night forced St. Louis goalie Jake Allen from the net after the 1st period, leaving Anders Nilsson to start the 2nd period without much notice.  It's all still very hush-hush from the Blues on Monday morning, but this will be of grave concern, if Allen isn't able to go and Brian Elliott is already on the shelf, just as we start the last week of the regular season and lead into the playoffs.

Scott's team needed a big week in Week Twenty-Six, but didn't quite get there. HIs team is now 26 points out of the money and now iwthout one of his key players, so his season will limp to the finish.

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