Monday, March 26, 2018
Week Twenty-Five Newsletter
It's a work trip kind of week, so the updates may be few and far between, but they already sort of have been on the blog... maybe I was just preparing you for the inevitable. Nevertheless, the scoring may find itself being a little slow as well, but I am up bright and early to get this Newsletter done, so you can at least count on that.
Don Cherry had pointed it out over the weekend, you can tell that Connor McDavid is really going to be something, as he continues to compete, even though his Edmonton Oilers are no longer in the playoffs. A 10-point week in Week Twenty-Five is a good indicator of that, as he walks away with his second Player of the Week nod of the season.
The top pick in the draft, took top spot in the pool scoring race with his monster week, by virtue of the tie-breaking formula, as his 39 goals and 99 points in 76 games actually has some goals, compared to Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning, who also has 99 points, but no goals.
McDavid and the Oilers played in four games this week and he had points in all four. An assist against Carolina on Tuesday, 2 goals and 2 assists against Ottawa on Thursday, another pair of goals against Los Angeles on Saturday and then he capped it off with another 3-point effort (goal and 2 assists) against Anaheim on Sunday night.
With two weeks to go in the regular season, garbage time for the Oilers, McDavid now has a 4-point lead over the next skater, Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning, for the Art Ross Trophy, but more importantly, he does have that leg up on the hockey pool MVP nod.
I'm not sure that the saviour of the Oilers will be enough to be the saviour of Steve's hockey pool team though. Steve's team did make up some ground on Scott's team, trying to move out of last place in the standings, but there is still a 9-point gap to make up in the next two weeks. If McDavid can continue this clinic over the last six games of the season, then maybe.
It was quite the race on Sunday night, as the Mover & Shaker nod did finish up with a photo finish, which needed the audit to verify in the end, but Clayton's team held out for its second Mover & Shaker week this season, finishing with 43 points and it helped his team make the race for the last money spots into a bit more of a fun watch.
Clayton's team only had a couple of no-shows for points in the week, one due to injury and one took a loss in their only start, so it was a well-rounded week from his team. Clayton Keller of the Coyotes led the way for his side, finishing with 7 points on the week, while Anze Kopitar of the Kings had 6 points and Jake Guentzel of the Penguins had 5 points. Three more players each finished with 4 points.
This season, Clayton's team has been one of the healthiest, in terms of skater games, ranking 2nd in the pool with 876 games played by his forwards and defense and his team also ranks 10th in minutes played by his goaltending tandem as well. This has certainly helped his team stay within arm's length of the money ranks for the better part of the season, even if his team really fell off the map in the scoring department.
After the big week in Week Twenty-Five, Clayton's team now sits tied for 3rd in the final segment of the season, tied with his standings rival, Tony, at 218 points, since the start of Week Nineteen, still 11 points behind 2nd place, Chris.
The injury bug was certainly the biggest reason why Jeremy's team continued to operate down near the bottom of the standings, and of course, being in the Basement Dweller position, he was at the very bottom for Week Twenty-Five. Jeremy's team only posted 10 points, thanks to only 28 skater games played and only 31 minutes worth of action in the crease, thanks to half an outing for Cory Schneider this week.
It has been a long season for Jeremy's team, which really suffered through without much goaltending this year, as Corey Crawford has been out since December and Schneider also seeing some time on the IR and also losing minutes to a red-hot Keith Kinkaid as well. His only bright spot this week was Elias Lindholm of the Hurricanes, who had 4 points, while only four other players were able to pick up points in the week.
Jeremy's team still has some room to fall in the last two weeks of the season, finishing this past week in 20th place, Wes only sits 5 points back and Stacey C. is 9 points back, both of those teams having significantly better weeks that Jeremy and have had better runs of late.
Stuart's team was in the running for the Mover & Shaker nod for this Newsletter, but only fell a point short of the nod, but that means he continues to run away with the season, now up to a 60-point buffer, with only two weeks to play.
The real race is now for 2nd and 3rd place, which has remarkably turned into a 4-horse race, now with Tony and Clayton in the mix, making up significant ground on Dale B. and Benson. Dale has a 10-point lead on Benson today, while Tony sits 7 points back of Benson and Clayton is only 8 points back. There isn't a lot of time left to make the move, but if one of these teams can hit a Mover & Shaker in the current week, things could really shift in the prize money dynamic.
It was quite a good week for Brian's team in the plus/minus pool, as his team was a combined +7, while Dale B. saw a -3 fall in the week, and the two teams swapped spots in the overall title race for this mini-game. The leader for much of the season, Steve, also saw another -3 drop in the week, and his team is now 14 points back of Brian's team for the title.
Grant's team had a notable week in Week Twenty-Five, taking home the 2nd-worst week of the season, with a -18 rating. His team dropped down to 12th in the pool and is now a combined +16 for the season.
The pool finished with a combined 660 points in the week, which wasn't terrible, by our season standards. It was just slightly above-average in scoring per NHL game, but with injuries the way they were dropping in the league, we lost about half a game of participation from the week previous, which does seem to add up, when it's all said and done.
NEWS AND NOTES
The 2018 campaign is now over for Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan, as he was said to be playing through a couple of lingering injuries and surgery was going to be required at some point. With the Flames out of the playoffs, now was a good time for the team to get a jump on the healing process, getting him under the knife for some wrist surgery and then give him the off-season to get back to 100%. His season finishes with 31 goals and 64 points in 74 games, which was a pretty darn good year.
Wilton's hopes of a top 10 finish are now hanging in the balance with this injury, as his team is in the mix for the top 10, holding strong with a mild lead after Week Twenty-Five. Can his team stick around in the last couple weeks without his second-best forward?
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev can't seem to catch a break this season, as he suffered his fifth injury of the regular season, missing out on Sunday's game against the Dallas Stars to a knee injury. There was no indication about how long the defenseman would be out with this injury, but with only two weeks left to go in the regular season and the playoff hopes all gone, the Canucks are certainly not going to rush Tanev back.
Speaking earlier in the Player of the Week nod, about Scott's team possibly heading back down to last place, it remains a possibility, with another injury to his blueline.
The Vegas Golden Knights are apparently staying fairly tight-lipped about the injury to defenseman Deryk Engelland, as he was unable to practice or play this weekend, missing out on Saturday night's game against the Avalanche. There's no real word about his timetable or the nature of the injury, so for now, he'll be listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. The Golden Knights might only be in their first season, but they are already in playoff mode.
Well, Steve is also down a defenseman now, so the race for last place in the hockey pool standings, remains in his stead and it looks to be pretty safe at the moment.