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The Daily Puck: Playing Like Patrick Dull

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.