A tough decision can be made easier with these charts showing you the best five and worst five schedules for upcoming seven-day periods. Some of you used them last year but for the benefit of new readers here is a refresher. The number next to the team indicates the ‘multiplier’ to use on a player’s point-per-game pace to give you an idea how many points to expect for that week.
Although it seems like Sidney Crosby has been out for ages, he's only missed nine games (including Thursday night) since his December 5 injury. While there has been no word as to his condition, we can try to take some solace in knowing that most other teams in the League have played two or three more games than the Penguins over that span. So at least if he does come back, Pittsburgh will still have a higher amount of games to be played than most teams. If you still own some other Pittsburgh players (especially in weekly leagues), be warned that they only play once in between Sunday, January 1 and Friday January 6.
The surprising Jets have been clawing their way to a playoff spot over the past month and were finally sitting in 8th place prior to Thursday's games. Ever since the mid-December white wash Detroit handed them, Winnipeg has went 4-2-1. Take away that loss and they're 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. Winnipeg's schedule over the next few weeks, and the remainder of the season for that matter is downright bizarre. After only two road games in the month of December, they go on to play nine of 13 in January on the road, and 14 of 19 overall. They follow that awful stretch up with nine of their next 10 at home.
A few weeks back, I made note of the Ducks need to make some noise in the final month of the year if they wanted a shot at the playoffs. It doesn't look like they listened. They began December nine points back of 8th place and now sit 15 points back. Their league low two road wins has grown to a earth shattering three, which was only because of their win on Monday against San Jose, which came almost two whole months after their last road win. Some good news is that they have started scoring a bit more on the road; only 18 GF in their first 11 road games, but have 16 GF in their last seven. If you own Bobby Ryan in a yearly league, don't trade him just yet. Starting Thursday against Vancouver, Anaheim plays five in a row at home. If they don't turn things around by the end of that stretch, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ryan shipped out of town.
The Wild and Panthers play a league low eight games over the next 21 days. Minnesota has lost their stranglehold on the Northwest Division, and are now in danger of dropping out of the race completely. While their next six are against Western opponents, they've already played 39 games, which is as many as three games more than some of the teams right below them in the standings. Florida has the Capitals to worry about, and while they are up seven points, Washington also has two games in hand.
|Friday Dec 30 to Thursday Jan 5, 2010