Monday, October 30, 2017

Week Four Newsletter





Despite some late pushes by a couple of NHL teams over the weekend, the nod for the Week Four Player of the Week goes to Long Island's John Tavares, who finished with the outright lead of 7 points for the week, no tie-breaking necessary.

The Tavares impact was felt in two out of three games this week, as he posted a hat-trick and an assist on Tuesday night against the Coyotes, was shutout on Thursday by the Wild, but then got back on the horse with another hat-trick against the Predators.  That's a 6-goal week for Tavares, a fairly impressive week, to say the least.

The 7-point week did lift Tavares' overall total to 13 points in 11 games, currently good enough for 15th overall in pool scoring, a definite bargain for Wilton in this year's draft, as he wasn't selected until the 2nd round, 34th overall. 

This is the fifth time Tavares has hit the Player of the Week in the last seven years.

Going back in the history books, it has been a long while since Dale C. was atop the weekly scoring ranks... Week Nine in the 2014 season was the last time, to be exact.  In fact, the last two times he has ended up in the Mover & Shaker position, the other time being back in Week Four of the 2011 season, his team finished in 6th place in the standings.  Very strange.

Dale's team moved up from 14th to 6th with his 34-point week in Week Four, a solid jump up in the standings and now his team only sits 6 points to 2nd or 3rd or 9 points to 1st place, a gap that could be made up with another solid week.

It was a solid week all around, as they were led by four players, each finishing with 4 points a piece.  That group was Evgenii Dadonov of the Panthers, Mike Hoffman of the Senators, Phil Kessel of the Penguins and Carey Price of the Canadiens.  Three more players had 3 points a piece, while only two players on his team were shutout, one thanks to being injured.

Dale's team is fairly well-rounded, when you take all three positions into account.  His team ranks 8th for forwards scoring, tied for 5th for defensemen scoring and tied for 10th for goalie points, so far this season, giving him his solid 6th place in the standings.  His team has stayed relatively healthy, ranking 7th in skater games played and top for goalie minutes, so he's certainly getting the opportunities, his team will just have to cash in a little bit more to make it into the money.

It's a pretty harsh welcome into the hockey pool, when you're team falls into the Basement Dweller position early on and that just flushes your team to the bottom of the standings.  Unfortunately for Scott B., his team has hit some pretty rough patches, thanks to injury and just some overall poor play to start the season.  On the bright side, however, he will get the pick of the litter, if this trend is to continue, when we start picking in the Waiver Draft, a month from now.

Scott's team was only able to drum up 10 points in the week and yes, that was a good enough total to drop his team into 25th place for the time being.  Milan Lucic of the Oilers was his guiding light, having 3 points in the week, but that couldn't make up for the eight players on his team that failed to pick up a point, two due to injuries throughout the week and two more were hurt or sick at one point or another through the week as well.

In terms of the mini-games, his team has already been knocked out of the survivor pool, his team took a bit of a tumble in the plus/minus pool, so he might have to go hunting for potential All-Stars in the Waiver Draft, since that might be his only shot at his money back this year.

There was a point in time this week, where Jeremy didn't hold on to the lead, rather he was being challenged by Chris and I believe that was in the early part of the week, but now that Week Four is in the books, Jeremy has now made it four weeks in a row in 1st place, but his lead has now dwindled down to 3 points.

Benson jetted up the standings with a 31-point week, claiming 2nd place, via the tie-breakers, with Chris, both teams are each sitting 3 points back of Jeremy.  Brian fell out of the money spots, but is only 3 points back of Benson and Chris, so that race is still running pretty hot.

3rd place to 10th place is now a 12-point gap, as the money teams are starting to pull away a little bit, but it only takes a rough week for one of those teams to be brought back down to the rest of the group (or worse).  Still lots of hockey to be played, so never fear!

The poor play of Henrik Lundqvist was the eventual death rattle for Brian's team in the goalie survivor pool, as he was the only team to be eliminated in Week Four, while Mike Condon saw limited action as well, as his number two.  Brian's team ranks 13th in goalie minutes played, but that wasn't quite enough.

Talking about goalie minutes in this mini-game, Dale C., who has the most active goaltending duo in the pool, his team has already been eliminated.  The number two team in the column belongs to Tony and he's still in and he could be considered the favourite to win.

Qualified, in somewhat of an order this past week, for Week Five are as follows: Chris, Mike, Benson, Tony, Stacey M., Wilton, Stacey C., Cam, Jeremy and Grant.

Steve's team might be having a hard time getting into the scoring lines on the boxscores, but they are not having any troubles being on the ice for goals when they're scored 5-on-5 or shorthanded, as they have been racking up the pluses in Week Four.  Steve's team was a combined +16 in Week Four, bringing his mini-game leading total up to +22.  That is 8 points better than both Grant and Eric and 12 points better than Dale B.. 

Kristy & Don were among those leaders, but their team fared the worst in Week Four, on the ice for a -13 rating in the week, dropping their number down to +7, good enough for only 8th place (tied). 

The pool was a combined +13 in the week, which is the second best week of the four, so far, and that has been a bumpy road to start the year.  It has been very up-and-down, but that is to be expected, I suppose.

We've already seen four weeks of play, so how about those goon teams?  Yes, we know that this is not a paying pool, but we've got the stats on the forefront of the standings page, so we should talk about them, right?

Wes has found himself looking for the PIM pool title in the last couple of seasons, falling out of the money races and into the Waiver Draft mini-games, only to come up short both years.  This year, however, the PIM pool is not active, yet he has himself quite the goon squad, compared to other teams, as his team now leads the unofficial pool by 28 minutes.  Radko Gudas of the Flyers leads the way for his team, notching 40 minutes in penalties in the first four weeks of the season, while four other players are already into double-digits. 

So, why not take a quick peek at the rookies?  There were a few teams trying to buy into the rookie stocks before the wheel of mini-games had spun and these teams were not lucky enough to have the wheel land on the desired spot.  Nevertheless, the rookies were taken and it is a little bit of a race out there.

Clayton and Cam's teams haven't been mentioned much in this week's Newsletter, but that's what the unofficial rookie pool will be for, I guess.  Both of their teams now sit at 22 points through four weeks of the season, well clear of Brian's 3rd place team, which has 10 points.  Both Clayton and Cam have three rookies on their teams, Clayton's led by Clayton Keller of the Coyotes and Cam's led by Will Butcher of the Devils, both are into the double-digits in scoring and off to good starts.  This could have been a fun one, if it was an official pool.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Well, Week Four is in the books and thank goodness it's over!  What a crappy week on the scoresheet, as it is by far the worst week for scoring in the pool this season.  The first three weeks were good, averaging over 13 points per NHL game on the schedule, but Week Four and it's 47-game week, the pool could only muster 11.55 points per NHL game, giving us only 543 total points, the lowest total since Week One, when the league only played five days.

Injuries are starting to pile up, which isn't helping our cause.  Participation in the pool is down, both among skaters and goalies, so we are in desperate need of these guys to get healthy again and we could really, really use that Waiver Draft sooner, rather than later... but rules are rules!

NEWS AND NOTES

Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf isn't having a whole lot of luck to start this season.  Already battling some lower-body issues, Getzlaf took a puck in the face yesterday against Carolina and was forced from the game in the 2nd period.  He was still being evaluated after the game and there hasn't been much of any updates since.  Couldn't imagine it being too bad, but concussions have stemmed from a puck up high before, so you just never know.

Eric's 3rd round pick could have been a real bargain, if it wasn't for all of these injuries.  Getzlaf has 7 points in six games, but he just can't seem to stay in the lineup these days and that's becoming quite an issue.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson was removed from Saturday night's game against the St. Louis Blues, due to a lower-body injury and it sounds like it will indeed keep him out for some time.  Atkinson wasn't able to skate on Sunday and is now likely unavailable for tonight's game against the Bruins, as the Jackets have called up Tyler Motte to take his place in the lineup.  For now, he'll be considered to be day-to-day.

Atkinson hasn't quite been as productive as he was last season, only picking up 5 points in his first 11 games this year, which has to be a disappointment for Steve's team early on.  Steve's team is the only one not to have any goalie points this year, so if he starts losing more forwards, it could make for a very long year.

The Dallas Stars are in Vancouver tonight to take on the Canucks and there are some question marks about the status of forward Martin Hanzal for this game.  Hanzal has been listed as questionable for the game, but we don't really know why or because of what.  He might be suffering through an injury in the early part of the year, as he only has 1 goal in 11 games this season, well down from where he should be, especially on an offensively-charged Stars team.  So, it might be high time to rest him up and get him healed now, since there is a lot of hockey left to be played.

For Neil's 17th placed team, Hanzal is one of the reasons why his team is so far down in the standings, because it has been a disappointing start for the Czech forward.  A week or two on the shelf now will probably be worth the same, as if he was playing... not much, so get him healed and get him productive again is the best course of action.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Brock Boeser is also questionable for tonight's game, due to a foot ailment that he has been dealing with, likely from blocking a shot last week.  Boeser didn't practice over the weekend and the Canucks have made a call-up, just in case, but he'll likely be a game-time decision to play against the Stars or not.  If he can't go, I would expect him to be listed as day-to-day.

Boeser has been great for Dale B., picking up 9 points in eight games so far this season, so missing time isn't ideal for the reigning champ.  The Canucks will probably want to save him from doing too much damage, but they are running hot, in part to Boeser, so it will be a tough decision to make.
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