Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goalie Announcements (Jan 16)



We're back, in terms of our regularly scheduled goalie survivor programming on Tuesday and with those bye weeks still in place for this week, things remain quite interesting moving forward.

The goalie survivor pool is down to two teams, Wilton and Grant, and both should have ample opportunity to get their win, even if it comes down to the end of the week.  Grant, who is banking on the Washington Capitals, don't play until Thursday night, while Wilton's teams, Vegas and Tampa, have games through the week and the Golden Knights are coming off their bye week tonight with a game in Nashville.  Does Wilton get a start here?

Marc-Andre Fleury (Scott) versus Pekka Rinne (Dale B.)
Well, if you couldn't tell by the header graphic, we have seen confirmation that Wilton will not get a start tonight, as Scott's goalie from the Golden Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury, will get the nod in Nashville tonight.  The Predators will be countering with their number one goalie, Pekka Rinne, giving Dale B. yet another start this week, after winning last night and grabbing another 2 points.  Dale's team is looking rather unstoppable, as the other money teams have been struggling through injuries and other assorted ailments.

Nevertheless, we'll be looking closely at the survivor pool for at least another few days, which is good blogging for this guy over here!

Recent Contract Extensions (Jan 16)



Giving a guy a chance in a regular role can really do some good for some players, like Deryk Engelland.  The 35-year old veteran really took to his new role in Vegas, picking up points like a pool worthy defender, 3 goals and 13 points in 41 games.  That's good enough for 379th overall in pool scoring, 74th among all defensemen, well within the parameters of being pool worthy this season.

It's that sort of play that has given Engelland a contract extension, a 1-year, $1.5 million deal, plus bonuses as a 35+ contract, suggesting that he will be back for another year with the Golden Knights.  It's hard to argue with the team's reasoning here, as the team has been very successful in year one.

Steve was able to pick up Engelland in the Waiver Draft this year and for a defender, he hasn't been too bad, certainly an upgrade on Julius Honka of the Stars, having already collected 4 points in 16 games since being activated.

Sweden Announces Olympic Hockey Team

On Tuesday, the Swedish Hockey Federation announced who they will be sending to South Korea for the Winter Olympics and there are quite a few recognizable names on this list, which has me leaning towards the Swedes as the early favourites for gold, before seeing the remaining teams.  They would be my favourite of the four teams to be revealed, thus far.

Goaltending is such a strength for the Swedes, as they have a couple of goalies that has had plenty of NHL experience and another that is up-and-coming for the Rangers (Hellberg), as he waits for his chance in Europe.  If they decide on either Enroth of Fasth as their number one guy, either way, they are getting plenty of experience there. 

17 of the 23 players on their roster have been drafted by an NHL team and the Swedes have also included 17-year old prospect Rasmus Dahlin, who is expected to be the 1st overall pick in this June's draft, but that's long after the Olympic tournament is over.  Dahlin impressed at the World Juniors over the holidays and he could be a real spark plug for this team offensively, which is going to be exciting to watch.

I would imagine that the Swedes are going to be a very good team to pick from this year and they'll go fast.

Player Name POS
Jhonas Enroth G
Viktor Fasth G
Magnus Hellberg G
Dick Axelsson F
Alexander Bergstrom F
Dennis Everberg F
Carl Klingberg F
Anton Lander F
Par Lindholm F
Joakim Lindstrom F
Joel Lundqvist F
Oscar Moller F
Linus Omark F
Fredrik Pettersson F
Viktor Stalberg F
Jonas Ahnelov D
Simon Bertilsson D
Rasmus Dahlin D
Johan Fransson D
Erik Gustafsson D
Patrik Hersley D
Staffan Kronwall D
Mikael Wikstrand D

Canes' Aho Out Indefinitely



The Carolina Hurricanes confirmed a couple of diagnoses for their young forward Sebastian Aho, as he suffered both a concussion and a lower-body injury when he collided with Flames defenseman Mark Giordano on Sunday and is now out indefinitely. 

It's hard to gauge what the worse of the two injuries actually was, since it was a pretty good blow to the head and a knee-on-knee collision, but with the way some of the concussion testing has been going for a number of players, the knee injury could be the worse of the two.

The 20-year old Finn has been good this season, scoring 16 goals and 37 points in 45 games this season, ranking 57th overall in pool scoring after Monday night's action.  Losing this kid will be a terrible blow to the Hurricanes, as he has been their best player this season.

For Kristy & Don, this is their best forward being crushed by injury, not to mention being their second best player on their team.  The duo has been getting some consistent scoring through their lineup, but Aho has been exceptional this season and his injury could dash their hopes of making it into the top three in the standings.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Czech Olympic Hockey Team Announced

On Monday, the Czech Republic Ice Hockey Federation released their 26-man roster for the Pyeongchang Olympics next month and there are a few recognizable names on the list, but we haven't seen them in a little while.

The most notable player on the list is Martin Erat, who we haven't seen since the 2015 season, or possibly Roman Cervenka, who had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames.  By my count, only 12 of these players were drafted by NHL teams, at one point or another, and only a handful have any NHL experience, so when we go to draft, the Czechs will be a lot of crap shoots for our pool teams.

Of course, the bulk of the players are playing over in Europe and most of them should be fairly familiar with each other by now.

Player Name POS
Patrik Bartosak G
Pavel Francouz G
Dominik Furch G
Michal Birner F
Roman Cervenka F
Martin Erat F
Milan Gulas F
Roman Horak F
Petr Koukal F
Jan Kovar F
Dominik Kubalik F
Tomas Kubalik F
Tomas Mertl F
Lukas Radil F
Michal Repik F
Jiri Sekac F
Michal Vondrka F
Tomas Zohorna F
Michal Jordan D
Jan Kolar D
Tomas Kundratek D
Vojtech Mozik D
Jakub Nakladal D
Ondrej Nemec D
Adam Polasek D
Ondrej Vitasek D

Goalie Announcements (Jan 15)



Week Sixteen kicks off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means that there will be some early action, three out of four games will have an afternoon start.  None of the four games have any impact on the goalie survivor pool though, so we'll have a quick peek at the games as they are.

Kari Lehtonen (Brenda & Seward) versus Anton Khudobin (Eric)
It's a backup kind of day in Boston, who gets started nice and early today at the TD Garden.  Brenda & Seward get a rare start from Kari Lehtonen and the Stars, as they visit the Bruins, who will go with Eric's Waiver Draft goalie, Anton Khudobin.  The duo could use the win to help them get into the top half of the standings, while Eric's team is hoping that it doesn't get roped in with the last two teams in the pool, as it stands 14 points clear of 24th.

John Gibson (Tony) versus Jonathan Bernier (Scott)
The Colorado Avalanche are hot, hot, hot... and Scott's team is cashing in on that success with the new number one, by default, Jonathan Bernier, who is again getting the start for the Avs, in their afternoon tilt against the Ducks.  It was still pretty early, when this post was done up, but there is a 50/50 chance on what goalie shows up for the Ducks tonight, as it could be either John Gibson or Ryan Miller.  The Ducks didn't play last night, so the argument for Gibson is strong, but an afternoon game is one of those that you don't mind having your backup play in... so it truly can go either way.

Martin Jones (Chris) versus Jonathan Quick (Chris)
It's yet another Chris on Chris match-up in the State of California, but today it gets started at around 2pm MT, far earlier than normal.  It is expected that both number one goalies are going to be in net between the Sharks and Kings, giving Chris two starts and the best he could hope for is a 0-0 draw heading into the shootout.  There are a lot of pool teams that are hoping for anything but that and in afternoon games, there can be a lot of goals scored.  We shall see!  Chris opens the week 28 points out of the money and should get 2 points, at least, from this one.

Thomas Greiss (Dale B.) versus Carey Price (Dale C.)
Finally, in the late game, a 5:30pm MT start, sees the Islanders in Montreal to take on the Canadiens and it is the two Dales in the pool seeing their goalies go head-to-head.  Surely, the money chasers are hoping for a big win from Carey Price and the Habs, keeping Dale B. from increasing his lead with Thomas Greiss in the Islanders net.  Dale C. would also like those 2 points to help out his team's cause of getting back into the money conversation, which is still 29 points away.

Week Fifteen Newsletter





Johnny Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames were not among those players and teams that found themselves in bye week hell in Week Fifteen, because their bye week starts today and goes all the way through to Saturday night, when they play the Winnipeg Jets.  No, Gaudreau made the most of his week, playing in four games and leading all players in the pool with 8 points, to take his first Player of the Week nod... ever and the first Calgary Flames player to take the crown since Jiri Hudler did it in Week Twenty-Two of the 2015 season.

Gaudreau started off the week with a trio of assists against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, added a goal and an assist in Tampa Bay on Thursday, just a goal against the Panthers on Friday and capped the week off with another pair of assists in Carolina on Sunday.  2 goals and 6 assists in four games, brings his overall totals up to 15 goals and 54 points in 45 games this season, good enough for 3rd overall in pool scoring.

For Steve, this is the sort of distinction that would have been better to come for his team at the start of the year, when his team was not settled down near the bottom of the standings, but at this point, I'm sure this will work too.  Steve and Scott are now embattled for the last spot in the standings and it's becoming quite a good show.

Speaking of timing, I'm sure Wes would have appreciated his team being a Mover & Shaker at the beginning of the season too, instead of just past the midway part of the season, after a slow start to the year.  Nevertheless, Wes' team had a very good Week Fifteen, finishing with 33 points and moving into striking distance of the top 20, now only 1 point out in 22nd place.

Wes' team was one of the sides that wasn't hurting for skater games in the mid-season bye week part of the schedule in Week Fifteen, as his team ranked 3rd in skater games played, behind Chris and Grant, where you'll see in the Basement Dweller, some teams really did struggle.  Wes' team had 29 skater games in the week and led the pool in minutes played from his goaltending with 302 (five starts).

Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo of the Buffalo Sabres led the way for Wes' team with 5 points each, while Mikko Koivu of the Wild, Ryan O'Reilly of the Sabres and Jacob Markstrom of the Canucks all had 4 points each.  Only one player on Wes' active roster was held to naught in the week and for the most part, his team has remained fairly healthy for the last little while.

Unfortunately for Wes, his gamble on the Buffalo Sabres really turning their fortunes around didn't quite work out for him, except for this week, as they have sort of led to his disappointing season, where his forwards rank 23rd in the pool in scoring, while his defense hasn't been a big help and his goaltending has been good (tied for 7th).

His team is now 68 points out of the money with a second Waiver Draft to go in a couple of weeks, but it might be too little, too late for his team now.  His only hope at getting his money back now is Eichel playing in the All-Star Game 3-on-3 tournament and putting on a show of his own.  It's certainly possible, but a bit of a long shot, given that he is Wes' only representation in a few weeks.

Neil's team was among those hit the hardest in bye week hell in Week Fifteen, as his team, already reeling from injuries and healthy scratches, only saw 14 skater games last week and only a couple of starts from his goalies, leading to a season-low of 7 points.  His overall standing didn't change from week to week, as his team remained in 19th place, but his team is now 9 points back of Mike's team in 18th.

Paul Stastny of the Blues and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks were his only two bright spots in the week, each finishing with 2 points, while the rest of his team really didn't see too much action.  His team really missed the likes of Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning, who has kept his team away from the Basement Dweller for the year, leading up to this point, as the Lightning return to action on Thursday.

There haven't been a lot of bright spots on Neil's side, besides Kucherov, as his forwards rank 12th in the pool, his defense has really struggled in 24th and his goalies have only been okay, tied for 11th.  It all hasn't added up well for his team, which is holding steady in the standings these days.  His team is 56 points out of the money and swapping out defensemen isn't going to give him that boost he needs.

Well, it isn't too often that we go through the first part of the Newsletter and not have a mention of one of the teams up and around the money, but there we have it.  The top three didn't change in order this week, it's still Dale B., Benson and Wilton leading the charge in the money spots, 1st to 3rd separated by 13 points, which is still a reasonable enough gap for movement this year.  No one has been running away with it.  This is Dale's 5th straight Newsletter in top spot and in most years, once a team hits that streak by this time in the season, it's hard to stop.

The top 10 is still very much worth looking at, as the gap from 3rd to 10th is 29 points, something that a good hot streak and a home run in the next Waiver Draft could go a long ways from sorting out.  That home run swing is somewhat improbable, but not impossible, so these teams will need those hot streaks or Mover & Shaker weeks to come fairly soon.

Well, if you haven't been watching the blog, you wouldn't have known that the two surviving teams, Grant and Wilton, were safe after Tuesday night's action, despite the bye week hell that teams were going through.  Week Sixteen will have its fair share of bye week complications as well, so it may still remain fairly interesting.  If these two teams can make it through unscathed, then the All-Star week will be the next hiccup.

There was a very notable week in the plus/minus department, as Stacey C.'s team had the 2nd-best week in the season, to date, finishing with a +19 rating in Week Fifteen and jumping up to 7th place in the mini-game standings.  Mini-game leader, Steve, also had a decent week, finishing with a +14 rating and his team increased their overall lead to 33 points and is 52 points ahead of Stacey's team.

Now, a lead in this category is far more volatile than the scoring leads, given that this total has the ability to go down at any given time in the season, but so far, Steve's team is looking very stable, if not solid defensively.  This is good news for him, as this gives him a very good shot at his money back in a season, where his team hasn't been able to score much.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

The bye weeks have made for some real positives in the scoring department, as the average games have seen some excellent scoring numbers.  This week's average NHL game was giving us 14.3 points for the pool, 2nd to Week One's average of 14.9 points, but that week also had 31 NHL games on the schedule, so the overall tally wasn't all that impressive.

Week Sixteen has 43 NHL games in it, not quite as high as some weeks we've seen, but certainly better than last, where a lot of teams will have finished up their bye weeks, some are getting started, but everyone should be back at it by the weekend and the schedule will start to improve for a short while, before the All-Star break.

NEWS AND NOTES

Two notes from the Calgary Flames, both came ahead of their game against the Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon. The first was the placement of Jaromir Jagr on the Injured Reserve, opening a spot up on their roster for forward Ryan Lomberg and the second was the scratching of Sean Monahan, who became the latest of the flu-stricken players in the NHL. He missed out on Sunday's game and was considered day-to-day.

The Jagr days appear to be done in Calgary, which will be a required change for Ryan's team at the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft, which is only a couple of weeks away now.  Monahan, on the other hand, won't be out for very long, meaning that Wilton doesn't have too much to worry about here.

The New York Islanders also made a roster move, which really doesn't make a huge impact on the pool, as Andrew Ladd was placed on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the 5th, which means he should be eligible to come off at any time.  It does suggest that the Islanders forward isn't going to be ready for the team's next game, opening up a roster spot for an emergency recall of forward Tanner Fritz, ahead of Monday's game in Montreal.  Ladd is dealing with an upper-body injury.

This will affect Stacey M.'s projected games total at the start of Week Sixteen, as Ladd's games are due to come off, without any expectation of him rejoining the lineup anytime soon.  Her team continues to hover around the top 10 and this injury may hinder her team's chances of moving up any further.

The Carolina Hurricanes are holding their breath, as they are awaiting word of the extent of Sebastian Aho's injury, what is believed to be a lower-body injury, suffered against the Flames on Sunday.  The injury is said to be around the knee area, after colliding with Mark Giordano and the young Finn wasn't able to put any weight on the leg, as he was helped off the ice.  This has some potential to be some pretty bad news.

Aho is currently ranks 2nd among those players taken in the 8th round of the draft, making him into a really good bargain pick for Kristy & Don this season.  One of the key picks that have helped them stay within arm's reach of the money spots this year.  Any long-term effects of this injury could be devastating.

The Vancouver Canucks continued their road trip on Sunday in Minnesota and with non-pool forward Brandon Sutter coming back into the lineup, that meant someone had to come out and unfortunately for the pool, that was Daniel Sedin, who was dealing with some back spasms and couldn't go.  It doesn't sound like anything too major, just part of the wear and tear of everyday life in the NHL.  He's currently day-to-day and the Canucks are starting their bye week today, so he'll get some much-needed time off.

Cam's team has really fallen off the pace in recent weeks, seeing his team drop down to 16th this past week and a bye week for the Canucks isn't going to help his cause any.  This could be a rough finish for him and he'll be looking intently on the All-Star Game for a chance at his money back.

Finally, the New York Rangers are very guarded around Ryan McDonagh and why he couldn't go on Sunday against the Penguins. The captain of the team wasn't skating in practice over the weekend and was a game-time decision for the tilt against their rivals from Pittsburgh, but the Rangers aren't saying too much right now. We're considering him day-to-day for the moment, but this seems like the kind of situation that could get worse, before it gets better.

Of course, that's not great news for Dale C.'s team, which currently holds down the 10th spot in the standings.  Dale's team does rebound out of the bye week hell just fine, so there is hope for his team yet, but McDonagh's absence on the blueline will hinder his team, if it is for any extended period.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cogliano Suspended Two Games



Is there any better way to celebrate a brand new 3-year contract extension than by taking an opponent's head off in the days following? I don't know, ask Andrew Cogliano.

Cogliano was dealt a 2-game suspension by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Sunday afternoon, for his high hit on Los Angeles' Adrian Kempe on Saturday night, which is explained in the video down below. 

Possibly, one of the most interesting stories about this suspension is that this will be the first games that Cogliano has ever missed in his NHL career and it will end the longest-active iron man streak in the NHL at 830 games, 132 games short of the all-time record.

The 30-year old will now miss two out of four games next week, including games against the Avalanche and the Penguins, eligible to return on Friday, at home to Los Angeles, the return match-up from the suspension.

As minor of a suspension this is, Wilton will finish Sunday night off with five names on the news page, three of which are currently out and two are going to come off on the reset tomorrow morning.  This is way too much news for a team among the money leaders and not something he'll want to see continue for much longer.  Can his team hold on through this rough patch?

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Jan 14)



The Detroit Red Wings had a costly day out in an afternoon tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing the game 4-1, and losing a couple of players, including pool forward Justin Abdelkader.  Abdelkader was lost to the team, due to a lower-body injury, and was not expected to play in this afternoon's game against the Blackhawks. The Red Wings called up rookie forward Dominic Turgeon to help ease the burden of the injured bodies, expecting him to dress today against Chicago.

Abdelkader was a Waiver Draft pickup for Neil's team this year and he hasn't quite panned out very well, although he does have 4 points since being activated, which is still better than the 1 point that Zach Parise has got, since his return to the Wild lineup.  Neil's team will miss Abdelkader though, as his team currently sits as the Basement Dweller for the current week.

Scary moment in the Montreal/Boston game last night, as Canadiens forward Phillip Danault took a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the back of the head, in the process of blocking the shot, and the damage was quite severe. Danault had to be stretchered off the ice and was sent to hospital for tests. The good news, released not too long ago, was that Danault was released from hospital this morning and is back home resting, so it sounds like he's in the clear for anything major. No timetable for a return yet, obviously.

Mike's team hasn't had a good week in Week Fifteen, as they were only 2 points clear of the Basement Dweller nod at the start of play today, but the Canadiens don't play again this week, so this injury won't have any effects going forward.  It might be a week or two on the shelf, as they go through all the tests, so it could have a lasting effect for a while yet.

The Philadelphia Flyers were in New Jersey last night, but they had no problem with the Devils, winning 5-3, even without star defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who was held out, due to illness.  The bug is running through the league and hitting some pretty good players, but it doesn't seem to be as serious as some flu bugs we've seen in seasons past, where players would miss two or three games.  The Flyers play again on Tuesday on Broadway, I would expect the scoring blueliner to be back for that game.

Kristy & Don's team had a mediocre week in Week Fifteen, having only 14 points before the start of play on Sunday.  Their team dropped a spot, from 4th to 5th, but are still right there in the mix.  One game without Gostisbehere isn't the end of the world.

Goalie Announcements (Jan 14)



Yes, there were a few goalies that came out to surprise yesterday and that likely means there are a few more surprises in tow for Sunday as well.  Only four games left to finish off the week and it looks like the real race is down around the Basement Dweller nod, as four teams are now vying for the title, all yet to hit double digits in points this week.

Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.) versus Jeff Glass (N/A)
Stacey C. opens up Sunday afternoon, 8 points clear of the Basement Dweller nod this week and it seems very likely that he'll get a key start, thanks to back-to-back day games, from Petr Mrazek.  With plenty of teams below Stacey in the weekly standings, he doesn't absolutely need this win to stay out of the Newsletter, it would just help overall.

And Jeff Glass gets the nod again for the Blackhawks, playing on back-to-back days.  They seem to like this guy, so he should be high up on your list for the next Waiver Draft.

Mike Smith (Ryan) versus Scott Darling (Clayton)
The post had to be done fairly early today this morning, to accommodate the Red Wings and Blackhawks game and there was absolutely no indication who would be going in net for the Hurricanes today.  The Hurricanes played a back-to-back set earlier in the week, where Scott Darling was the better of the two goalies and there was some indication that he could get the look today against the Flames, which would be good news for Clayton, who is also 8 points clear of the Basement Dweller, but still in need of points.  Ryan should be confident in thinking that Mike Smith will get the nod this afternoon, there's no reason why not.  His team is just 1 point better than Clayton's this week.

Henrik Lundqvist (Brian) versus Tristan Jarry (Derek B.)
Brian is one of those four teams in line for the Basement Dweller nod this week and he opens the last day of the week only 1 point clear.  It was thought that Henrik Lundqvist would get the call yesterday against the Islanders, that wasn't the case, so we certainly expect him to get the nod today.  It's a tough test with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town, but Tristan Jarry gets the call on back-to-back days, thanks to the absence of Matt Murray, so they may be able to play on his fatigue today.  Good news for Brian, I guess.

Jacob Markstrom (Wes) versus Alex Stalock (N/A)
Wes is actually in line for the Mover & Shaker nod this week, as his team is 3 points clear of Grant's at the top of the weekly lead and he gets a start from Jacob Markstrom and the Vancouver Canucks, as they head into Minnesota to take on the Wild.  The Wild played the Jets yesterday afternoon, while it was a travel day for the visitors, so it will be interesting to see how that goes for either side.  With the Wild playing back-to-backs, another available goalie for the Waiver Draft, Alex Stalock, plays for your approval.