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The Daily Puck: Playing Like Patrick Dull

John Toperzer

John Toperzer

John has written for since 2003 and serves as the beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. He also contributes with a Daily Puck article every Monday. He’s worked for the Pirates for 15 years, written for the Penguins’ Web site as the first game-day editor, and rooted for the Steelers dating back to the Immaculate Reception.

Around The Rink

Ilya Kovalchuk ripped an overtime game-winner Friday on his first shot of the game.

– The NHL’s initial news release left Evgeni Malkin off of the All-Star ballot. For some reason, Paul Martin’s name is still on it (instead of Kris Letang and/or Alex Goligoski).

– Fantasy hockey happiness is picking up Deryk Engelland for goon points and seeing him get his first NHL goal and finish plus-3, as he did Friday: Fantasy hockey sadness is realizing you forgot to activate him and have an empty Yahoo! spot on defense with zero’s staring back at you.

– I wonder how Jose Theodore’s hair is looking these days. His hockey play hasn’t changed much.

– Four NHLer’s netted their first career goals Friday, including Engelland, Greg Mauldin, Mattias Tedenby and Alexander Vasyunov. Special props to Mauldin, who played six games in 2003-04 and then didn’t play in the NHL again until 2009-10 (for one game) before last night.

– Wow, Jarome Iginla went minus-4 Friday with no points. He has two goals and eight points in 15 games. Take away his three-assist night in Columbus and he’s got five in 14. That’s worse than Kovalchuk.

Hot – All-Star Snub Edition

Kris Letang – He’s in a three-way tie for the league lead in points by defensemen with 16 (3, 13) in 17 games. Throw in 30 PIMs, 25 hits, 12 blocked shots and a plus-8 rating and you’ve got an All-Star caliber blueliner.

Alexander Semin – The Russian has 10 goals and 15 points in his past nine contests. Another All-Star caliber performance.

David Jones – Returned to action Friday with a bang, netting a pair while adding an assist. Jones has six goals and nine points in 12 games for the Avs.


Patrick Sharp – After a sensational start, Sharp has just two points and a minus-7 mark in his last six.

Jonathan Tavares -- Another slumper, Tavares has just two points and a minus-7 in his last seven.

Recommended Pickup

Ryan Callahan – He’s a beast in the hits category, averaging five hits per game in November. Callahan also has 21 blocked shots and 51 shots on goal. Add nearly a point per game (14 in 15) and you’ve got an under-the-radar fantasy stud.

Probable Starting Goalies

Ottawa (Brian Elliott) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 p.m.
Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) at Toronto (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), 7:00 p.m.
Florida (Tomas Vokoun) at Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 p.m.
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7:00 p.m.
Colorado (Peter Budaj) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard), 7:00 p.m.
Washington (Michal Neuvirth) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8:00 p.m.
Chicago (Marty Turco) at Nashville (Pekka Rinne), 8:00 p.m.
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) at San Jose (Antero Niittymaki), 10:00 p.m.
Islanders (Dwayne Roloson) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 p.m.

For more up-to-date info, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury Updates – All Players Listed as Probable, Questionable or Out

Ottawa vs. Boston

Brian Elliott – Questionable, missed Thursday’s game. Pascal Leclaire returned, giving up six goals.
Brian Lee – Questionable, missed Thursday with a kink in his neck, playing as 7th defenseman now.
Filip Kuba – Questionable, also didn’t play Thursday but could make season debut Saturday.

Marc Savard – Out, Bruins have mapped out a return sometime around the turn of the calendar.
Marco Sturm – Out, looking to return sometime around Jan. 1 with Marc Savard.
Johnny Boychuk – Out, skating and shooting, could return as soon as next weekend.
David Krejci – Out, not far away from day-to-day status, working out on stationary bike.

Vancouver vs. Toronto

Ryan Parent – Questionable, missed Thursday’s game with a sore groin, nearing a return.
Alexandre Bolduc – Out, due to begin skating in the next several days.
Guillame Desbiens – Out, broken hand will keep him out of lineup indefinitely.
Sami Salo – Out, the fragile veteran is not expected back until sometime around Christmas.

Dion Phaneuf – Out, continues to miss out on all of the fun going on in Toronto right now.
Colby Armstrong – Out, due back in another 1-3 weeks according to initial prognosis.

Florida vs. Philadelphia

Steve Bernier – Questionable, not likely to play after suffering cheekbone cut Friday.
Jay Garrison – Questionable, missed Friday’s win over Minnesota with groin injury.
Byron Bitz – Out, still a ways away from returning after sports hernia surgery.

Michael Leighton – Out, he’s returned to the ice and is due back within two weeks.
Matt Walker – Out, won’t be back until mid-December at the earliest.

Carolina vs. Montreal

No injuries reported

No injuries reported

Colorado vs. Detroit

Colby Cohen – Probable, returned Friday and saw more than 12 minutes of action.
Adam Foote – Questionable, didn’t play Friday but could be a game-time decision Saturday.
Ryan Wilson – Out, due back within week, newly acquired Ryan O’ Byrne led d-men in TOI Friday.
Kyle Cumiskey – Out, on injured reserve but could be activated for any game, check updates.
Peter Mueller – Out, latest reports have him possibly returning in late December.
David Van der Gulik – Out, tore ACL on Tuesday and is out for the season.
Kyle Quincey – Out, diagnosed with a concussion several days ago.
Craig Anderson – Out, team is hoping he’ll be back before the end of November.

Chris Osgood – Out, plan is for the Detroit goalie to return late next week.
Kris Draper – Out, the team is hoping for a December return for Draper.

Washington vs. Buffalo

Semyon Varlamov – Out, Dany Sabourin started for Hershey Friday but Varlamov could go Saturday.
Boyd Gordon – Out, expected to miss the next week with a lower-body injury.

Craig Rivet – Questionable, did not play Thursday against the Rangers, check updates.
Drew Stafford – Out, no timetable for a return from an upper-body injury.
Nathan Gerbe – Out, getting closer after missing time with a Tyler Myers induced broken jaw.

Pittsburgh vs. Atlanta

Jordan Staal – Out, FSN-Pittsburgh estimated Friday that Staal is still five weeks away.

Bryan Little – Probable, expected to return to lineup Saturday after missing six games with concussion.
Patrice Cormier – Out, back on the ice skating but not close to seeing game action.

St. Louis vs. Phoenix

St. Louis
David Perron – Out, missed Thursday’s game and will likely need more time to recover from concussion.
Brad Winchester – Questionable, did not play Thursday and could miss Saturday as well.
Carlo Colaiacovo – Out, targeting Monday return, hasn’t played since October 28.
Barret Jackman – Out, not expected to play until sometime in December with knee injury.
T.J. Oshie – Out, will likely miss the next three months, late season return possible before playoffs.
Roman Polak – Out, still has another seven weeks or so, putting a possible return date in January.

Shane Doan – Out, team hasn’t released a timetable for return.

Chicago vs. Nashville

No injuries reported

Martin Erat – Probable, Erat is expected to suit up Saturday night after missing four games.
Matthew Lombardi – Out, still two weeks away from a possible return.
Ryan Suter – Probable, he’s missed far more time than was originally thought but is expected Saturday.

Calgary vs. San Jose

Ales Kotalik – Out, no current timetable for a return.
Raitis Ivanans – Out, didn’t play in Friday’s loss against Phoenix, has suited up just once this year.
Adam Pardy – Out, the blueliner has played in only two games for Calgary this season.

San Jose
Derek Joslin – Out, has yet to make his season debut after undergoing thumb surgery.

Islanders vs. Los Angeles

Kyle Okposo – Out, nothing new to report on Okposo, who’s thought to be looking at December return.
Mark Streit – Out, see above on Okposo, except for a possible February return.

Los Angeles
Willie Mitchell – Out, expected to miss another 3-5 weeks with a fractured wrist.
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Out, not expected back for at least another three weeks from broken finger.


Oliver Ekman-Larsson – sent to the AHL after a rough start to his NHL career.
Ian Cole – sent back to the AHL.
Nazem Kadri – recalled by Toronto. Kadri has 14 points in 14 games for the Marlies.
Keith Aulie – defensive prospect recalled by Toronto.
David Bolland – activated from the injured reserve list and is expected to play Saturday.