Hopefully you tuned in last week as we introduced to you the first annual Cage Match Tournament – a contest pitting players up against each other head-to-head in a points only keeper league where you the reader gets to vote and decide who wins!
To kick things off we saw the play-in games in each bracket – the #8 seed vs. the #9 seed. As a general rule there are never any upsets in the 8-9 matchup and yet the contest is always an upset. When the teams – or in this case players – are so close to one another that it could go either way, someone has to go home upset and understandably so.
Here are the week one results:
#9 Matt Duchene over #8 Jeff Skinner – 123 votes to 97 votes
The tournament's first mini-upset comes out of the Howe Bracket as the ninth seeded Matt Duchene took out the eighth seeded Jeff Skinner. There is not a lot to say here as ultimately the results were tight. Both youngsters were carrying very little momentum into the tournament as they have both missed significant time with injuries this season so ultimately it was anyone's game. Duchene has the longer track record however and perhaps the less worrisome injury. Looks like Skinner will have to pack his bags but keep your head up kid, there's always figure skating.
#8 Henrik Zetterberg over #9 Marian Hossa – 121 votes to 82 votes
This time last year Marian Hossa was a write-off, a has-been, an afterthought. To find himself in this tournament was an achievement unto itself. Having shaken off his injury woes Hossa was coming into this tournament hot and currently ranks 13th in league scoring. His surge this season was not enough to win a game in the tournament though, so he'll have to take solace in graduating to the level of also-ran.
For Zetterberg this was about survival. No doubt he is one of the most lethal in the game and more importantly he was coming into the tournament hot. Without his hot run of 11 points in his last eight games there is no telling where he would have ended up but for now he survives.
#8 Joe Thornton over #9 Jarome Iginla – 117 votes to 84 votes
Forum member, Carcillo, noted that since 2007-08 all that separates these two was three whole points. This was a Cage Match of cagey veterans and they absolutely brought it. Jumbo Joe just brought it a little harder. Thornton has simply been the better player this season and that no doubt reflected here.
Jarome hardly seems disappointed. In fact, he won't stop smiling. Jarome, you lost, you are supposed to be disappointed. Nope, still smiling. I guess he's just happy Joe finally won something that mattered.
#8 Bobby Ryan over #9 Patrick Sharp – 128 votes to 86 votes
Bobby Ryan took care of business in the Lemieux Bracket ousting Patrick Sharp by the largest margin so far (42 votes). Ultimately the young Ryan overcame his struggles this season with sheer youthful exuberance. His upside was too high and he would not let Sharp keep him down.