Around the Rink
Harsh news for those who own Ryan Getzlaf, who has been declared out for the next 4-to-6 weeks. Bobby Ryan has moved back to center in his absence, pushing Saku Koivu down to the second line. One interesting name to watch while Getzlaf is out is 20-year-old Brandon McMillan, who has been skating increased minutes of late.
The Penguins are no strangers to the goaltending of Dwayne Roloson, so it's no surprise they lit him up for five goals on 23 shots (before putting three more home on replacement Dan Ellis) in an 8-1 rout. Chris Kunitz picked up a hat trick; of all the semi-mediocre guys who were supposed to gain a boost in value from playing alongside Sidney Crosby, Kunitz is the only one I can remember who has really made good over the course of a season – or, well, half a season.
Ugly moment for Steven Stamkos in that game. He wiped out before even attempting his penalty shot. That’s three straight scoreless games for Stamkos, who must be the streakiest superstar in the NHL right now. Of course, it's tough to complain about his 31 goals and 56 points - a decent season for most guys.
Congratulations to the Russians for winning the World Junior Championship gold medal game. Despite entering the third period down 3-0, Russia exploded for five goals to take the title. There was a lot of movement by big-time prospects in this tournament, and this game alone – Kings center prospect Brayden Schenn was named MVP, Ryan Ellis of the Preds was named best defenseman, and the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, the team captain, scored the game-tying goal. Those three guys are going to become big names in the NHL one day. Take note.
The Russians were so happy, they got too drunk to fly home.
The Americans won the bronze-medal game over Sweden, by the way, with two goals from Rangers prospect Chris Kreider and 34 saves from Stars prospect Jack Campbell – another two names to file away.
By the way, check out my new column, The Coming Thing, where I’ll be talking about hockey prospects every week.
Projected Goalie Starters
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 ET
Philadelphia (Brian Boucher) at New Jersey (Johan Hedberg), 7:00 ET
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson), 7:00 ET
Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7:30 ET
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Colorado (Craig Anderson), 9:00 ET
Islanders (Nathan Lawson) at Oilers (Devan Dubnyk), 9:00 ET
Nashville (Anders Lindback) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Bernier), 10:30 ET
Buffalo (Ryan Miller) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Niklas Backstrom, G (lower body) – Still out, but could return Sunday
Antti Miettinen, RW (leg) – Missed Tuesday’s game. It is a minor injury, so consider him probable for Thursday
Josh Harding, G (knee) – Back on skates, but still likely out most or all of the year
Marek Zidlicky, D (shoulder) – May need season-ending surgery
Marco Scandella, D (illness) – Has missed two straight
Trent Whitfield, C (Achilles) – Placed on waivers and will go to the AHL if unclaimed
Nikolay Zherdev, RW (lower body) – Won’t go Thursday
Dainus Zubrus, C (undisclosed) – Ruled out for Thursday
T.J. Oshie, LW (ankle) – Traveling with team, but won’t play Thursday
Mike Brown, LW (finger) – Practicing, but still out
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G (groin) – Out another week
John Mitchell, C (knee) – Out 4-to-6 weeks
Roman Hamrlik, D (undisclosed) – Won’t play Thursday
Josh Gorges, D (knee) – Still rehabbing
Kyle Turris, C (upper body) – Questionable for Thursday
Paul Stastny, C (illness) – Missed Tuesday’s game; no word yet on if he’s feeling better
Chris Stewart, RW (hand) – Skating with coaches before practice this week and could be getting close
Cody McLeod, LW (groin) – Day-to-day, but has missed four straight and seven of eight
Kyle Cumiskey, D (concussion) – Should practice fully very soon
Peter Mueller, C (concussion) – Has made minor progress, but still fairly far off
Rick DiPietro, G (groin) – Not too concerned about his injury, but not playing Thursday
Mark Eaton, D (hip) – Getting his hip checked out; definitely out Thursday
Frans Nielsen, C (groin) – Didn’t practice Wednesday and questionable for Thursday
Jordan Eberle, C (ankle) – Out about another week or so
Martin Erat, RW (upper body) – Hopes to return Jan. 11
Cal O’Reilly, C (leg) – Will likely need surgery for broken fibula
Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW (lower body) – Practiced Wednesday, but still out for Thursday
Patrick Kaleta, RW (hand/wrist) – Won’t play Thursday or Saturday, and possibly longer
Torrey Mitchell, C (lower body) – Slated to return Thursday
Joe Pavelski, LW (lower body) – Won’t play Thursday
John McCarthy, LW (upper body) – “Still a ways off”
Niklas Lidstrom, D, DET – After his first career hat trick, at age 40, Lidstrom went scoreless for a couple games. However, it did not take him long to get back on track. Lidstrom has scored in each of his last eight games; and considering who we are talking about, of course it was more than a series of one-assist games – Lidstrom racked up four goals and nine assists in those eight contests. Only Dustin Byfuglien has more points among defensemen.
Shane Doan, RW, PHO – Doan has really caught fire lately, riding a seven-game scoring streak over which he has recorded six goals and six assists. Doan is close to a point-per-game pace (27 in 29), a mark he has only approached once in his career.
Shea Weber, D, NAS – Weber has been one of the most disappointing defensemen this year in fantasy, but he has got things going over his last three games, putting up six points (2 G, 4 A). He will need to keep it up and maybe take more chances for a Nashville team that is short on scoring.
Patrick Kane, RW, CHI – Kane’s return from an ankle injury has gone less than swimmingly, as he has three assists and no goals, with a minus-5 rating, in his five games back. He will get right soon.
Marian Gaborik, RW, NYR – Atop coach John Tortorella’s wish list for 2011 is a healthy Gaborik. When Gaborik doesn’t score, the Rangers have precious few other finishers, so his success is key to the team’s. Gaborik has just a goal and no assists over the last four games.
Ryan Miller, G, BUF – Miller appears here for the second straight week after ringing in the new year with a pair of clunkers, allowing a total of 10 goals against Boston and Colorado. The reigning Vezina winner has posted a sub-.900 save percentage in four of his last five outings and has seen his season GAA rise to a career-worst 2.77. Likewise, his save percentage has fallen to .907, just a point higher than his career worst since he became Buffalo’s No. 1.
Jason Pominville, RW, BUF – Pominville rang in the new year with a four-point night and is currently on a five-game point streak. His early-season struggles covered up his solid month of December, leaving him widely available in Yahoo! leagues – stunningly so for a guy who has scored 60-plus points in four straight seasons.