And, quite frankly, he's going to be a stud all season long, so I'm going to keep Stamkos talk to a minimum. It's not going to be Stamkos that wins me a fantasy hockey crown; he was a no-brainer pick. It's going to be all the fringe players and the unexpected success stories that determine things. This week, my big performer was Miikka Kiprusoff for the Emily Carr Echidnas, who posted two shutouts this week to lead the Echidnas to victory.
Pool One - Office Pool
Team: Aldergrove Awesome
Week Two Result: 5-7-1 Loss
Two straight losses in my office pool means I'm in for some sharp barbs at work. At least they were close losses, which means I can certainly recover and make my way up the top of the standings through the rest of the season. The Awesome currently have an 11-14-1 record.
My goaltending let me down this week. Ilya Bryzgalov and Jonas Hiller were reasonable, but Chris Mason was awful, posting a 4.68 GAA and an .892 SV%. With Ondrej Pavelec returning, he might lose the starting job...but not necessarily as the team in front of him hasn't been any good either. In any case, I lost all of the goaltending categories except shutouts as my opponent, The Helmut Twisters, didn't get any either.
Offensively, it was assists all the way, with Mike Comrie, Martin St. Louis, Sergei Gonchar, and Ed Jovanovski all posting 3 apiece. David Clarkson led the way in penalty minutes with 11 (making up for his complete lack of scoring), helping me win that category, with St. Louis posting 23 shots and Gonchar blocking 8, to win both those categories as well. The wildcard, shorthanded points, was won by Jovanovski's 1 shorthanded assist.
I decided to cut ties with Dan Carcillo, as he has done approximately nothing through the first couple weeks of the season. In his place I picked up Josh Bailey, who Canucks fans will remember from the 2008 NHL entry draft, as the Islanders took Bailey much higher than expected, allowing the Canucks to select Cody Hodgson. Bailey has become a decent two-way forward and has started off the season on a tear with 3 goals and 3 assists, before missing a couple games with a minor hip injury. I'm hopeful he can keep up his scoring.
Pool Two - Nucks Misconduct
Team: I Miss Kyle Wellwood
Week Two Result: 5-4-1 Win
With another win, I Miss Kyle Wellwood moves up to 7th overall out of 20 teams with a 10-6-4 record overall. As with the Aldergrove Awesome, goaltending was a weakpoint, as I lost each goaltending category. The culprit was once again Chris Mason as Dwayne Roloson was outstanding and Jonathan Bernier decent enough.
The only other category I lost was +/-, but I lost that by an absurd amount. Apparently, I Miss Kyle Wellwood is terrible defensively, posting a -14 altogether. That's because most of their production comes on the powerplay: my players racked up 12 powerplay points, with Tobias Enstrom and Marek Zidlicky providing the production from the blue line.
The worst player this week was Fedor Tyutin. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel when I selected him, but he was terrible this week, posting just one assist and a -4 rating. He's gone, replaced by rookie Matt Taormina, who's getting prime powerplay minutes in New Jersey. Also gone is Niclas Bergfors, the key piece in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade for the Thrashers; he's been a healthy scratch and hasn't done much when he's been in the lineup. In his place is Antti Miettinen, who has 6 points so far through 7 games.
Pool Three - Friends Pool
Team: Emily Carr Echidnas
Week Two Result: 8-2-0 Win
This week's massive win makes up for the 1-8-1 shellacking I received last week and bumps me up from 10th to 7th with a 9-10-1 record. Miikka Kiprusoff's excellent performance this week made up for Chris Mason's awfulness, with an assist from Antti Niemi, who was awful for my opponents, the Boston Dereks. The Echidnas ran away with the goaltending categories, including shutouts.
Goals were plentiful for the Echidnas, with Henrik Zetterberg, Patrick Marleau, Martin St. Louis, and Nathan Horton all putting up 2 goals. Assists were also easy to be had, led by Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos with an impressive 5 each. The only weakness this week was +/-, with Marleau's brutal -5 dragging everyone else down.
I took some chances in free agency at the end of this week, cutting ties with Niclas Bergfors, Nikita Filatov, and Chris Mason. In their place, I added Tomas Kopecky, who has had a solid start on Chicago's top line and has LW/RW eligibility, James Neal, who has 8 points and an excellent +8 rating, and Brent Johnson, who has been great for Pittsburgh and may get more starts with Marc-André Fleury struggling. If not, there are other options out there and Kiprusoff and Bryzgalov are a fine tandem otherwise.