Around the Rink
-- "24/7" showed us that Washington's Mike Green was suffering from a sprained MCL last weekend when the Caps claimed he was simply sick. Green's fantasy production has sickened fantasy owners in 2010-11.
-- Sometimes I think Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin sounds like a better line than it actually is. Crosby reverts to his lifelong passer first mentally when the two are together, while Malkin defers to Crosby more times than not. Opponents need not worry about Pittsburgh's other lines when the two are together. Chris Kunitz can't get back soon enough (hopefully Monday) to break up Sid and Geno.
-- The Winter Classic All-Star game is shaping up like a Harlem Globetrotters matchup versus the Washington Generals. Pittsburgh is bringing back HOFers like Mario, Paul Coffey, Ron Francis and Bryan Trottier while the Caps are skating Peter Bondra, Nick Kypreos and Errol Rausse. Where's Mike Gartner and Al Iafrate? I'd rather see the Penguins alumni square off against an NHL All-Star alumni team captained by Bondra.
-- The 10,000 tickets for the Alumni game sold out in less than 10 minutes. Heinz Field holds 60,000 fans, but Pens president David Morehouse said that the NHL feared the game might "interfere" with the main event, limiting the size of the draw. Tickets are going for more than 10 times the face value of $25. Think they could've gotten $50?
Tim Connolly – Scored a goal in his second game back from a groin injury Friday. He's likely been dropped in a ton of leagues; cheap pickup. He has to produce the way he has for years, doesn't he?
Justin Braun – San Jose defenseman hasn't cooled off with nine points (1,8) in 12 games.
Devin Setoguchi – The ultimate clunker, he scored two goals Thursday in his return. Let's see if the former 65-point getter has anything left in his tank at the advanced age of 23 or if he's another Jonathan Cheechoo.
Matt Hunwick – OK, maybe the move to Colorado hasn't jumpstarted Hunwick's career the way this writer thought it might. Hunwick has one assist and a minus-4 rating in nine games for the Avalanche, even though the team has been red hot. Boston did well to get Colby Cohen for Hunwick.
Sergei Gonchar – Does anyone in Ottawa know what's going on with Gonchar? Is it the system or is it him? Four goals and 16 points in 34 games with a minus-19 rating. Can you name the only NHL player with a worse plus-minus?**
Brian Elliott – Six goals allowed on 25 shots Friday night. He's won one game in his last nine decisions (1-5-3). Elliott holds a .807 save percentage (63 of 78) in his last four appearances. Where's Robin Lehner?
**James Wisniewski has a minus-22 plus/minus rating
TJ Galiardi – Back after breaking his wrist against Calgary on Nov. 9, Galiardi netted a goal in the Avs' 6-5 win Friday. He's likely a low-cost acquisition, and he plays on the NHL's highest scoring team. If nothing else, he's worth a shot.
Probable Starting Goalies
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Philadelphia (Brian Boucher) , 1 p.m.
Washington (Michal Neuvirth) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7 p.m.
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7 p.m.
Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 7 p.m.
Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) at Columbus (Mathieu Garon), 7 p.m.
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Islanders (Rick DiPietro), 7 p.m.
Anaheim (Jonas Hiller) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7 p.m.
Buffalo (Ryan Miller) at Tampa Bay (Mike Smith), 7:30 p.m.
Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick) at Nashville (Anders Lindback), 8 p.m.
San Jose (Antero Niittymaki) at St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak), 8 p.m.
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 10 p.m.
RotoWire Goalie Grid
Injury Roll Call
Rangers vs. Philadelphia
Derek Boogaard – Questionable, missed Thursday's game and remains day-to-day.
Vaclav Prospal – Out, return from knee injury pushed back to mid-January.
Ryan Callahan – Out, expected to miss 6-8 weeks with broken hand.
Chris Pronger – Out, looking at a least a one-month recovery from broken bone in foot,
Jody Shelley – Probable, two-game suspension is over but he could be a healthy scratch.
Matt Walker – Out, expected to miss a month after undergoing hip surgery.
Washington vs. Boston
Marcus Johansson – Questionable, missed Wednesday's game with flu, day-to-day.
Alexander Semin – Questionable, dealing with lower-body injury, check updates.
D.J. King – Out, placed on IR to open up roster spot while dealing with undisclosed injury.
Jeff Schultz – Out, missing ice time with a fractured thumb and face time on 24/7.
Boyd Gordon – Out, expected to miss 1-2 weeks with undisclosed injury.
Mark Stuart – Out, needs five weeks or so to recovery from finger fracture.
New Jersey vs. Atlanta
Matt Taormina – Out, missed Friday's game and has yet to return from ankle injury suffered Nov. 12.
Mark Fraser – Out, skating but no timetable for return revealed from hand injury.
Bryce Salvador – Out, suffering since November from concussion.
Zach Parise – Out, hopeful for an early February return.
No reported injuries.
Toronto vs. Vancouver
Jean-Sebastien Giguere – Out, aggravated groin injury in Thursday's game.
Mike Brown – Out, looking at another 2-4 weeks with broken finger.
Christian Ehrhoff – Questionable, returned to practice and could play Saturday, check updates.
Mason Raymond – Out, broken thumb timetable expected in the next couple days.
Dallas vs. Columbus
No reported injuries.
Derek Dorsett – Questionable, X-rays negative on leg Thursday but unlikely for Saturday's game.
Derek MacKenzie – Questionable, eligible to come off of IR on Saturday but groin status iffy.
Phoenix vs. Islanders
Ilya Bryzgalov – Questionable, didn't dress for Thursday's tilt and status unknown, check updates.
Mark Eaton – Out, expected to miss 1-2 weeks with groin injury.
Trent Hunter – Out, no timetable given from a knee injury.
Mike Mottau – Out, at least two weeks away from game action with eye injury.
Kyle Okposo – Out, no recent update but he's back skating and thought to return before January.
Doug Weight – Out, on IR with back injury.
Anaheim vs. Carolina
Teemu Selanne – Questionable, day-to-day with groin injury, check updates.
Aaron Voros – Out, expected to miss three weeks with fractured orbital bone.
Jay Harrison – Questionable, day-to-day with upper body injury.
Jiri Tlusty – Out, expected to miss 1-2 weeks with upper body.
Buffalo vs. Tampa Bay
Shaone Morrisonn – Questionable, has resumed skating but concussion symptoms linger.
Steve Downie – Out, not yet skating after suffering high ankle sprain.
Los Angeles vs. Nashville
Matt Greene – Out, head still hasn't cleared up since collision earlier in week.
Marco Sturm – Out, looking for a season debut on Dec. 23 from knee but that's not certain.
Willie Mitchell – Out, lower body injury puts him on a week-to-week time frame.
Patric Hornqvist – Questionable, missed Friday's win with day-to-day upper body injury.
David Legwand – Out, will need a couple days of skating before returning from lower-body.
Pekka Rinne – Questionable, traveled to New Jersey with team but no need to rush with Lindback.
Cody Franson – Out, will miss this weekend attend grandfather's funeral.
San Jose vs. St. Louis
Douglas Murray – Questionable, missed Thursday but close to returning from lower body injury.
Erik Johnson – Questionable, thought to perhaps return from knee injury as soon as Saturday.
Alex Pietrangelo – Questionable, could also return as soon as Saturday from upper body injury.
Andy McDonald – Out, no timetable for a return from concussion, placed on IR on Dec. 16.
David Perron – Out, no news on Perron's status with concussion since the beginning of the month.
T.J. Oshie – Out, hoping for a return prior to season's end from ankle injury.
Minnesota vs. Calgary
Cal Clutterbuck – Questionable, banged up and perhaps game-time decision Saturday.
Matt Cullen – Probable, missed team's last two games but is thought to be ready to go Saturday.
Raitis Ivanans – Out, hasn't played since suffering fight in opening game.
Matt Climie – Recalled by Coyotes from AHL San Antonio.
Zach Boychuk – Recalled by Hurricanes from AHL Charlotte on emergency basis.
Dale Weise – Recalled by Rangers from AHL Connecticut.
Adam Cracknell – Assigned by St. Louis to AHL Peoria.
James Reimer – Recalled by Maple Leafs from AHL Toronto.
Keith Aulie – Assigned by Toronto to AHL Marlies.