I kid, of course, but it's still astounding the run that Stamkos is on to start the season, as he picked up another 4 goals and 2 assists this week. At 20 years old, he's leading the league in goals, points, powerplay points, and game-winning goals. He's on pace for 72 goals and 135 points. I was incredibly lucky to be picking third overall in all three of my pools and was able to select Stamkos after the consensus first two picks of Ovechkin and Crosby. And to think, I almost decided to draft Nicklas Backstrom instead. That would have been very, very stupid.
That said, Stamkos will need to shoulder even more of the offensive load, as Vincent Lecavalier, who has 9 points in 14 games, will be out for at least a month. Sure, he's not the same player who scored 52 goals in 2006-07, but his absence will still put more pressure on the first line, especially Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. I also have St. Louis in two of my pools, who has been outstanding as well, with 19 points in 17 games. I am confident they will be able to keep rolling, but I'm not sure whether the same could be said for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, the standings don't affect my fantasy teams.
Pool One - Office Pool
Team: Aldergrove Awesome
Week Five Result: 7-5-1 Win
With two wins in a row, I can almost start getting cocky about the Awesome. At least, until I remember that they're still below .500 and in 7th out of 12 teams. Ugh. As per usual, Stamkos and St. Louis led the way, with 5 goals and 6 assists between them. Niclas Bergfors was also a solid performer, with a goal and 3 assists. Even my two New Jersey Devils players started producing, with 2 goals and an assist from Jason Arnott and 1 goal, 1 assist, and 17 penalty minutes from David Clarkson.
More importantly, Jonas Hiller picked this week to be fantastic and my opponent's top goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, picked this week to be terrible. That gave me 3 wins in the goaltending statistics alone. Even Chris Mason's brutal performance this week wasn't enough to cost me, as Ilya Bryzgalov was reasonable enough to balance everything out.
Pool Two - Nucks Misconduct
Team: I Miss Kyle Wellwood
Week Five Result: 7-2-1 Win
There's nothing like walloping a beat-up team, right every-team-that-has-played-the-Islanders? My opponent, Twincest, had two players eligible for Injured Reserve, Michael Leighton and Simon Gagne, and an additional two players who were Day-to-Day, Drew Stafford and Craig Rivet, and didn't play this week. In a 20-team league like this one, that many injuries can decimate a team as there are essentially no decent replacements available via free agency.
I won every category except penalty minutes and, oddly enough, wins. Stamkos and Ryan Kesler had 4 goals each, Tobias Enstrom added 4 assists, and both Bergfors and Plekanec had a goal and 3 assists each. Plekanec actually had a better week than that putting up a goal and 6 assists in three games, but two of those games fell on days when I had Kesler and Stamkos in the lineup instead.
It was an odd week for my goalies, however, as I didn't get any wins. Dwayne Roloson was reasonable enough, with a 2.28 GAA and a .919 SV%, but didn't get any goal support. Chris Mason, on the other hand, was awful, posting a 9.31 GAA and a .765 SV%. Only one goaltender had a worse performance last week; fortunately, he played for my opponent. Nikolai Khabibulin had a 10.70 GAA and a .692 SV%, destroying the excellent stats posted by his other goaltender, Jonathan Quick. So, with a cumulative 3.82 GAA and an .875 SV%, I still won those categories.
Pool Three - Friends Pool
Team: Emily Carr Echidnas
Week Five Result: 6-3-1 Win
Yes, a victory in every pool this week. This win lifts the Echidnas out of the basement into a lofty 8th place out of 10 teams. Huzzah!
This match-up was skaters versus goaltenders, as I won every skating category and my opponent, Trentons Finest, won every goaltending category except for shutouts. Again, Stamkos and St. Louis were the top performers, with excellent weeks from Bergfors, Plekanec, and Dustin Byfuglien. I'm still baffled that Byfuglien was still available in free agency two weeks ago. He's currently tied for first in goalscoring for defenseman and is third in points behind Kris Letang and Nicklas Lidstrom. Combine that with 27 penalty minutes and he is fantasy gold.
As for goaltending, it appears that Brent Johnson waited until I acquired him to start being terrible. He and Miikka Kiprusoff were just plain awful last week and cost me the goaltending categories. I'm almost at the point where I feel the need to blow up my goaltending, trade Kiprusoff along with a forward for a goaltender who might actually win a few games. I'm ecstatic that the Flames are terrible this year, but it's killing Kiprusoff's fantasy value.