Monday, October 09, 2017

Week One Newsletter


Welcome to the first Newsletter of the 2018 hockey pool season!  For those who haven't been here before, this is the quick little recap I like to do after every week, going over the weekly activities, recap the best players, best teams and the worst team of the week, not to mention give a quick heads up on the mini-games as well.

Every Monday morning, I like to pull off the data from the NHL website and perform an audit of the points and other statistics from each week (and the season combined), just to make sure that everything is accurate and up-to-date.  But somewhat like clockwork, the Week One numbers on the NHL site are not quite up and it is really getting my goat!

This Newsletter will publish on-time today, as you are already reading it, I'm sure, but some of these numbers are unofficial, as the stats haven't been posted or made available for me quite yet.  There are some early afternoon games in the NHL, given the Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving Day holidays today, so nothing will be done with the points in the live sense, until the statistics are done in the audit.  The results below may change, although they probably won't, but don't be surprised if they do.

Otherwise, another warm welcome to all of you for another season!  Only 26 more weeks left to go!



It was a very unmistakable start for Alex Ovechkin this season... two games, a hat-trick in the first game and then a 4-goal effort in the second game.  The Washington Capitals may not need their top player to start decimating opponents in the first two weeks of the season, by any stretch of the imagination, that sort of thing is much better appreciated in April/May/June, but seeing that he is off to a pretty good start this year is a good sign.

Ovechkin potted the hat-trick against the Senators on Thursday night and had his 4-goal night against the Canadiens on Saturday night, giving him 7 goals and no assists and the current scoring lead in the hockey pool, by virtue of a the goal-scoring tie-breakers.

This is the sixth time that Ovechkin has been named the Player of the Week in the hockey pools and believe it or not, this is the first time he has been named since Week One of the 2014 season, four years ago.  This is also the third time he's been Player of the Week in Week One of the season, also adding on the 2010 season as well, go figure.  That's an interesting record.

Since I have been tracking the Mover & Shaker nods since the 2010 season, no one has had an opening week like Jeremy's team has, popping off 37 points and being in mid-season form, as they say.  The previous record was held by Kristy & Don, who finished with 27 points in the 2015 season, which also prompted the curse to be broken about Week One Mover & Shakers not being able to win the pool.  I'm not saying that this is going to happen, but it doesn't look good, people.

All but two of Jeremy's players picked up points in the opening week, which is certainly hitting one's stride right away, but it wasn't only just picking up points, it was having a good week on top of that.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is tied for the league's scoring lead, assisted on every goal that the Player of the Week scored this week, so he finished with 7 assists to lead the way for Jeremy.  Jakub Voracek of the Flyers, Mike Green of the Red Wings, Alex Pietrangelo of the Blues and Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks all finished with 4 points as well, while Chris Kreider of the Rangers and Ondrej Palat of the Lightning had 3 points each.

Eyeing up his top players, I am beginning to wonder how we let him get away with all of these guys on one team... maybe this was our faults?  Well, he could just be very lucky too.  It's a long season, this couldn't possibly keep up, could it?

This is the start of the third season with Jeremy in the pool and this is already his sixth Mover & Shaker nod and he does already have his name on the trophy, winning in his first spin in the pool.  You're not going to let him win again, are you?

There haven't been nearly as many records kept about the Basement Dweller nods, but maybe one year some digging and collecting of data will need to occur, but I can assure you, the curse of the first Basement Dweller of the season is real and no one has ever recovered from this.

Brenda & Seward had a very poor start to the season, unable to get any results to go their way this past week.  They were tied for 22nd in skater games played, they had a couple starts (and a relief appearance) and it just wasn't adding up for them.  Their team finished with 9 points, already 28 points behind 1st place, and they are now left with hoping for a miracle to happen.

Brayden Schenn of the Blues was their only bright spot in the week, picking up 4 points to lead the way, but two forwards were unable to play and Erik Karlsson hasn't been given the green light yet, so her team waits for all their cylinders to fire and then they'll take off like a shot.

The duo do have some company near the bottom to start the season, as newcomer Scott B. and Tony are only a point or two away, so it isn't like they are mired in last place... they can climb out, any time they are ready to.

With the same structure of the pool again this year, I would have to think that the money race will be paying 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, very similar, if not the same as last year.  I will post that here in the next few days, just to be sure.

As it stands, Jeremy has his huge lead over Benson, but then it really gets interesting, as 5 points is all that separates 2nd place to 10th place, which is one of the joys of the first week of the season.  Big leads don't always seem to last either, as it is not uncommon to see a double-digit lead disappear in a week's time, so Jeremy's team better keep its foot on the pedal or else it may fall off rather quickly.

By my count, 18 teams qualified for Week Two of the goalie survivor pool out of the opening week of the season, which is a pretty good return on a 25-team league.  Last season, 19 teams qualified for Week Two, so we are down one team, but I don't think that's going to hurt the quality of this pool at all.  We were down to our last two teams by the end of Week Fourteen, but teams do fall fairly quickly in the coming weeks.

It will be quicker to point out who was eliminated, rather than who stayed in, so here goes: Brenda & Seward, Dale B., Eric, Kristy & Don, Neil, Steve and Stuart.  All seven teams will not be going any further in this year's survivor pool, but that's not all we have in this pool to win money, so keep your chins up.

So, with the audit unable to get done on-time this week, the plus/minus mini-game will be left as a giant question mark for the time being.  This mini-game was only going to be updated with the audits, as I wasn't quite prepared to write them all in manually this week.  Maybe, if the race is much closer at the end of the season, I will take a little bit more time and update it as it happens, just for your viewing pleasure, but for now, it's a weekly update... when it gets updated.

The All-Star Game won't go until the weekend of Week Seventeen, so you won't likely be seeing much of this until maybe when the voting starts for the divisional captains.  It will be the 3-on-3 tournament again this year, so there should be plenty of points to go around.  Keep an eye on those players that aren't attached to teams, as they could probably help you in the first Waiver Draft, which goes in Week Nine.  Sadly, the second Waiver Draft is the week after the All-Star Break, so they won't count towards this game.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Unofficially, scoring was up in Week One.  By a lot!  Week One of the 2017 season saw 13.4 points per NHL game collected by the hockey pool, which jumped up to 14.7 points per NHL game, which is pretty good, considering there were 32 & 31 games, respectively, in those weeks.  We saw around the same number of games played and minutes played by goalies in each NHL game, so everyone is just scoring.  Let's hope that this trend continues, but not just for Toronto and Chicago, who have lit it up early on this season.

NEWS AND NOTES

Sounds like it was a scheduled night off for veteran defenseman Mark Streit last night, as the Montreal Canadiens were operating on back-to-back nights, playing against the Rangers on Hometown Hockey.  The 39-year old Streit may see a good number of these back-to-back games as nights off, which isn't uncommon for the older veterans, a risk you certainly take with these kinds of players.

Benson probably didn't mind too much, seeing as though his team did finish 2nd in scoring this week, although it is still behind the leader, Brian, by 13 points.  There are still 26 weeks left in the season, lots of time to chop down that lead.

It is looking like the Ottawa Senators injury situation on the blueline is being quite troublesome, as the team made a couple of recalls on Sunday, including highly-touted rookie Thomas Chabot. Chabot was one of the last few cuts for the Senators out of camp and I thought that the injury situation before his demotion was bad enough for him to stay, but now he's back and it will be interesting to see if he features in a game here this week. The Senators are in Vancouver tomorrow, so we'll have to wait and see as to whether or not Chabot will make his debut.

Chris' team got off to a good start, among the leaders in the standings after the first week and he was without one of his guys in the first week and gets him back for the second week.  This is pretty good news for his club.

There is some early afternoon hockey on this Columbus Day in the USA, which means there is some news ahead of these games, as the Boston Bruins have activated defenseman Torey Krug from the Injured Reserve, as he is ready to play, coming back from a fractured jaw. Krug only missed one game in the regular season, as it was a very short first week for the Bruins and no real harm was done to his season.

Stuart only missed one skater game this week, which isn't too bad, seeing as though his team is still tied for 7th in skater games played last week, only three games off the lead in that regard.  It hasn't quite translated for him on the standings page, as his team starts the week in 12th place.

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