After a long, school-fueled hiatus, the updates are back for the first round of the playoffs. Actual content after the jump, to keep the post size manageable on mobile browsers.
So the first round of the playoffs is in the books. The two-week matchups are a little different, I think I would have preferred eight teams to make the winner's bracket (Maybe go head-to-head in your division before a one-week semi final?), but it took out some of the random element of one player getting hot and shifting a matchup completely. It didn't completely eliminate that, though, as we'll see when we get to the individual recaps.
At the end of the season, I'm going to put together a Roto-ranking for the league, so we can see how each team would have fared with a rotisserie scoring system. Obviously it's not going to be perfect: the head-to-head matchup skews things a bit, as owners use the waiver-wire to address weaknesses against specific opponents. That said, it should produce fairly accurate results and it's a different take on what happened this season.
Two Prongered Assault vs. Polar Bear Rebellion: 8-2-0
This, like the other winners-bracket matchup, was ultimately decided by goaltending. In spite of a miserable first week, Evgeni Nabokov was far better than the Antti Niemi/Steve Mason tandem employed by the Polar Bear Rebellion, sweeping the goalie categories. Jeff Carter's Injury also cost the PBR -- with Carter playing another three games, SOG and G are probably much closer categories, but even if he hadn't been injured and PBR had emerged with both of those, the goalie disparity would have been too much to overcome. 2PA has been the best team all season long and the depth in that lineup showed up in a big way during this matchup. Ovechkin mired in a slump? Simon Gagne and Ryan Clowe pick up the slack (4G, 2A, +3, 19 PIM, 31 SOG for Gagne, 3G, 5A, 16 PIM, 19 SOG for Clowe).
Cab Ride With Citizen Kane vs. Gould's Grinders: 5-2-3
Again, goalies. Ryan Miller had an uncharacteristic shelling early in the matchup and his numbers never recovered to the point where he could challenge a red-hot Pekka Rinne in any category except wins, where they tied, because the GM of CRWCK got skittish and didn't start Rinne against DET or MIN. Oops. On a roster with Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards, Patrick Kane, Mark Streit, and Shea Weber on it, you'd have expected one of those guys to be the hero. You'd have been wrong. Jason Pominville and Kristian Huselius were the two biggest producers these two weeks. They both had absolutely a pair of absolutely monster weeks, offsetting huge weeks from Daniel Alfredsson and Brad Richards on the other side. GG was hurt by Milan Michelek's injury, costing six games played and almost assuredly breaking a tie in the assists category.
My Jokes Getzlafs vs. Two Bit Crew: 7-3-0
You're about to sense a theme here. Goalies. MAF wasn't great, but he was better than the Varlamov/Rask platter in all three categories for the two weeks and that was enough to win the first round of the consolation ladder for MJG. 2BC picked up 33 assists during the matchup, but even that very, very high number couldn't overcome six assists from Teemu Selanne and Tyler Myers among other contributors up and down the lineup. In addition, while 2BC won goals 14-10, MJG got 4 of their 10 on the PP, winning that category 4-3. Very close matchup between very good teams, but Fleury was simply better than the pair of rookies he was opposing.
Team Pervertedlyslow vs. Harrisonburg Dukes: 7-3-0
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Goalie play determined this matchup. The skaters were ridiculously even: One goal difference, one assist, three penalty minutes, sixteen seconds of ATOI, and two shots. Ilya Bryzgalov played just a bit better than Miika Kiprusoff and there's a win. I'm thinking there ought to be a factor in next season's draft: coached by Dave Tippett. Remember when Turco had good fantasy numbers? Bryz exploded this year? Hmmm.
Among the skaters: Peter Mueller. How, wha...6G, 5A, +2, 2PPG, 20:06 ATOI from a forward and 19 SOG. In six games. Think that trade's working out for COL? Derek Roy nearly offset him for the Dukes: 4G, 7A, +2, 2PPG in 20:27 of ice per night. Great matchup, but Bryz shuts the door.
Natty's Ice vs. Ice Warriors X: 7-1-2
Craig Anderson had a bad couple of weeks (1W, 4.117 GAA, .864 SV%) and Jimmy Howard was carefully managed by Natty to a 2-0-1 edge in the goalie categories. The skating wasn't much closer category-wise, but it was a lot closer when the actual numbers are broken down. Two goals, two assists, even at three a piece in power-play markers and three shots on net. Those break the way of the Swede and we're talking about a very different match, but only SOG actually went that direction. On the other hand, Natty's Ice were the convincing winners in PIM, +/- and ATOI, so combining that with goalie superiority and you've got yourself a winning formula.
Dale City Mages vs. Don't Toews Me Sombrero: 4-4-2
The minions of Sombrero Guy were torpedoed by Tim Thomas and his awful (offal?) start. Jonas Hiller's stats were actually better than Roberto Luongo's, but a 9.06 GAA and .750 SV% is going to torpedo just about anyone's goalie. The best players for the respective teams were Rene Bourque and Dany Heatley, but neither did anything particularly distinguished over the two week stretch, just contributing solidly in a lot of categories. DCM was hurt by having some injuries among its 5(!) Canucks players -- Samuelsson and Mitchell being on IR definitely hurts.
Deb's Goon Emporium vs. Williamsburg Face Wash: 7-3-0
Skating? 4-3. Goalies? 3-0 Debs Goon Emporium. Jose Theodore and Brian Elliot outperformed Quick, the skaters took care of the rest, so long as the rest didn't involve scoring any goals. 5G in two weeks for the Goons, James Neal being the biggest culprit. 0G, 2A, 10SOG in 7 games for a power forward? James, what happened? On the WFW side of the score, Tim Connolly, injured? I'm shocked. But seriously, he's been producing very well over the second half of the season and his absence surely hurt WFW's chances in this. Could he have gotten 5A in 3 games? For a guy like Connolly, it's not out of the question. His talent has always been there, but health is his bugaboo.
Disgruntled Goats vs. Champaign Ice Beagles: 7-3-0
The goalie play was pretty even, Marty Brodeur grabbing a win in the victories category despite inferior GAA and SV% numbers. Marleau pulled almost an A per game over an eight game span for the Beagles, but could only pot a single goal. That'd prove costly, despite a three goal performance from Wolski (Speaking of trades that worked out well, Wolski-Mueller looks like it was positive value for both teams, a lot like Latendresse-Pouliot) and a five-goal two weeks from Phil Kessel, the Goats were able to pull out the win in Goals. Sadly, Dan Boyle had a great week (sad for me as a Caps fan, I've grown a full-fledged hatred for him after his little stunt on Semin) with 4G, 4A, 8PIM, 2PPG and 27 SOG in 8 games played. For all that, he's -1, so suck it, Sharks.
Prestige Worldwide vs. Winnipeg Jets: 6-3-1
When Cristobal Huet is your only goalie, you're in trouble when his only start gets him a ~7.5 GAA and a ~.74 SV%. Ugly. The Jets got goal production from every slot in its lineup, excepting Danny Briere who chipped in 5A. That was, however, bested by David Krecji, posting 3G and 7A over the two week matchup, going with Nik Antropov's 4G and 2A for the week, powering the PWW squad to a skating victory.
Let's Go Whalers! vs. The Royal Tenenbaums: 7-3-0
If you asked me which goalie I'd want between Jaroslav Halak and Tomas Vokoun, I'd pick Vokes every day and twice on Sundays. I'd have been wrong this week though, as Halak posted a .930 over five games to go with a 1.78 GAA. Now, none of the teams MON faced were world-beaters on offense, while FLA faced both the Caps and Lightning during that two week span - I'm sure that had some impact on the results. Patrick Elias (3G, 6A, +3, 24 SOG) and Daniel Sedin (4G, 3A, 1PPG) double-handedly kept the Tenenbaums in the skating categories, but it wasn't quite enough to stop a Whalers! effort all the way up and down the lineup. No one really stood out for the ersatz Hartford squad, other than Halak, but if you get contributions from everyone, that's enough. Having the opponent missing Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone doesn't help, either.
Two Prongered Assault vs. Cab Ride with Citizen Kane
G: 19 - 26 (CRWCK) A: 29 - 33 (CRWCK) +/-: 5 - 4 (2PA) PIM: 69 - 41 (2PA) PPG: 5 - 5 (TIE) ATOI: 21:26 - 21:44 (CRWCK) SOG: 198 - 211 (CRWCK) W: 3 - 4 (CRWCK) GAA: 2.962 - 2.140 (CRWCK) SV%: .8914 - .9191 (CRWCK)
Final: 7-2-1 CRWCK
That'd be nice, but I doubt that Jason Pominville and Kristian Huselius bail me out again, or that Pekka Rinne posts 3 shutouts in two weeks, or that AO keeps slumping. Still, I look forward to a good matchup, and good luck K_C!
I want to say thanks to everyone for playing in the league this season, I had a lot of fun with my first dip into fantasy sports. Looking forward to doing it again next season!