The Daily Puck
Andrew Fiorentino, RotoWire Writer
Around the Rink
There were only three games Wednesday, but we saw a couple of blowouts by teams not known for goal-scoring, as the Rangers and Wild combined for 13 goals scored and none allowed - 7-0 and 6-0, respectively. Observe the Wild's bizarre camaraderie in victory.
The biggest news comes from the Rangers game, in which Marian Gaborik had this year's first four-goal game (and added an assist). He'd managed just three goals in his past 19 games after ripping off 42 last year. The Rangers are going to need Gaborik to continue to pick up more of the scoring slack, as they just lost leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky for a month. With Dubinsky joining Ryan Callahan, Vaclav Prospal, Alex Frolov (not that he was doing anything) and Erik Christensen on the injury list, there's a lot of slack to pick up.
The rookies Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello combined for a beautiful game of give-and-go for the final goal in that one - check it out. Those two are going to rack up a lot of points together, and with all those injuries affecting the Rangers, you can expect to see Zuccarello step into a bigger role. For now, Sean Avery is playing alongside Gaborik, and he picked up three assists Wednesday.
As Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski says, this will blow your mind. Check out the video to see the NHL game as you've never seen it before.
Jarome Iginla withdrew from the All-Star Game to spend time with his sick grandmother. Isn't that sweet? Danny Briere takes his roster spot.
Speaking of which, if you haven't heard, the All-Star captains have been announced: Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom. Staal suggested previously that he'd take Cam Ward with his first pick, which to me all but guarantees that his team will lose. With Alex Ovechkin having a down year, my money is on Steven Stamkos being Lidstrom's first pick.
Projected Goalie Starters
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 ET
Buffalo (Ryan Miller) at Boston (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 ET
Anaheim (Jonas Hiller) at Toronto (J.S. Giguere), 7:00 ET
Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00 ET
Pittsburgh (Brent Johnson) at New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7:00 ET
Washington (Braden Holtby) at Islanders (Rick DiPietro), 7:00 ET
Ottawa (Brian Elliott) at Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 ET
Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00 ET
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Colorado (Craig Anderson), 9:00 ET
Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) at Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin), 9:00 ET
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10:00 ET
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Brandon Dubinsky, LW (leg) - Has a stress fracture and out 3-4 weeks, but said if it was the playoffs, he'd be playing, provoking a pained groan from thousands of fantasy owners
Ryan Callahan, RW (hand) - Aiming for Feb. 1 return
Erik Christensen, C (knee) - Hopes to start skating in 7-10 days
Ruslan Fedotenko, LW (shoulder) - Out 2-4 weeks after leaving Wednesday's game
Drew Stafford, RW (groin) - Doubtful for Thursday
Andrew Ference, D (upper body) - Expected to return Thursday
Frederik Sjostrom, RW (leg) - Has missed three straight; may return Saturday
Mike Brown, LW (suspension) - One more game left
Marc-Andre Bergeron, D (knee) - Injury may delay his call-up from the AHL
Evander Kane, RW (undisclosed) - Won't play Thursday
Jim Slater, C (concussion) - Won't play Thursday
Chris Mason, G (knee) - Placed on IR earlier this week
Fredrik Modin, LW (undisclosed) - Placed on IR
Sidney Crosby, C (concussion) - Probably out through the All-Star break
Evgeni Malkin, C (undisclosed) - Out Thursday
Matt Taormina, D (ankle) - Examined by doctors and may need season-ending surgery; we'll know more later this week
Matthew Corrente, D (shoulder) - Out 2-4 weeks
Bryce Salvador, D (concussion) - May be out for the year
Michael Neuvirth, G (lower body) - Hasn't been practicing and won't suit up Thursday
Semyon Varlamov, G (lower body) - Still hurting too, and will be the backup to Braden Holtby on Thursday
Alexander Semin, LW (thigh) - Likely will remain out through the weekend
Rick DiPietro, G (illness) - Will start Thursday; I'll take the over in that one with him vs. Holtby
Milan Jurcina, D (upper body) - Out Thursday
Frans Nielsen, C (groin) - Will play Thursday
Mark Streit, D (shoulder) - Skated earlier this week, but still far off
Alexei Kovalev, RW (knee) - Feeling better and could be back Friday; out Thursday still
Jason Spezza, C (shoulder) - Skating in full gear, but weeks away
Chris Pronger, D (foot) - Will play Thursday
Jimmy Howard, G (knee) - Back in goal Thursday
Pavel Datsyuk, C (wrist) - Could be back immediately post-All-Star break
Andy McDonald, C (concussion) - Skated Wednesday, but no timetable yet
Dave Scatchard, C (knee) - Out 4-6 weeks
Francis Bouillon, D (upper body) - Didn't play Tuesday; no word yet on Thursday status
Marek Svatos, RW (lower body) - Missed third straight game Tuesday; no word yet for Thursday
Kyle Cumiskey, D (concussion) - Will return Thursday
Adam Burish, RW (foot) - Day-to-day, but could go Thursday
Gilbert Brule, C (ankle) - Practiced Wednesday, but not likely to return Thursday
Devan Dubnyk, G (illness) - Missed Wednesday's practice, but likely will be the backup Thursday
Jordan Eberle, C (ankle) - Hopes to play by end of month
Ales Hemsky, RW (concussion) - No timetable
Ryan Whitney, D (ankle) - Out for the year
Ryane Clowe, LW (leg) - Won't go Thursday
Benn Ferriero, C (face) - Will play Thursday on a new line with Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager
Scott Nichol, C (suspension) - Four games will keep him out ‘til Feb. 2
Andrew Alberts, D (shoulder) - Out 2-3 weeks
Ed Jovanovski, D (lower body) - Has missed three straight; no word on Thursday status
David Schlemko, D (undisclosed) - Hit the IR
Marco Sturm, LW (lower body) - Placed on IR retroactive to the 18th
Ryan Smyth, LW (leg) - Took a slapper off the leg in practice Wednesday; no updates yet
Wayne Simmonds, RW (leg) - Could be back Thursday
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS - Bergeron had been in the midst of a "meh" season until mid-December, when he started to rack up multi-point games like nobody's business - EIGHT of ‘em since Dec. 16, including four in a row last week. He's got 13 points in 10 January games (to go with a plus-10), and if you want to go back to Dec. 16, 21 points in his last 17 games.
Danny Briere, RW, PHI - Briere picked a good time to heat up, scoring goals in five straight games leading up to his selection as an All-Star substitute. All he's done in January is pick up 12 points in just eight games.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, ANA - Visnovsky recorded double-digit points from the blue line in November and December, and he's one away from doing the same in January. He just snapped a five-game points streak in which he notched a goal and eight assists.
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT - He's pulling less than a point per game, which he's never done, is goalless since Jan. 5, and now has gotten hurt for the second time this year. It's been a rough go for Geno, and you've got to hope that his career doesn't become defined by the sort of injuries that have limited him this year and last.
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI - He did score in the Hawks' last game, but that gave him just two points in his last six contests after a red-hot run over the last two months. Nothing to worry about here, but I do wonder when he's going to step up his game that extra notch to become a point-per-game performer. Of course, he's still young and healthy, so there's plenty of time.
Dion Phaneuf, D, TOR - Hard to believe that Phaneuf has got just eight points this year, and just one in nine January games. At least he gave you 15 PIM yesterday. He's averaging close to three shots on goal a game, though, so there's definitely some bad luck in play here - 1-for-85 is an unsustainably bad shooting percentage.
Brett MacLean, LW, PHO - MacLean, just called up from the AHL, isn't going to play heavy minutes until he earns them, but his offensive potential is without question - the 22-year-old has scored 37 points in 40 AHL games this year and added the game-winner in his NHL debut Dec. 29. If you can afford to pick a guy up on spec, he's the guy.
Evgeni Nabokov, G, DET? - Nabokov probably won't see a ton of starts as Jimmy Howard's backup - if, indeed, he makes it through waivers and the Wings are able to sign him - but who knows, if Howard's bit of a knee injury gives him more trouble, Nabby could end up with a good line on some PT for a great team. Even if Howard is fine, though, Nabokov instantly becomes the best backup goalie to own for fantasy purposes. If you're in a format that allows him to be picked up, do it now.