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Saturday Daily Puck: Stuck on the Ground

Derek VanRiper

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Senior Baseball Editor for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210) from 11a-2p ET on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Around the Rink

Goalie Fight!



It wasn't Mike Vernon v. Patrick Roy (a fight to this day, that I insist Vernon won), but the Flyers elected to get their frustration out in a 7-0 loss by brawling with the Caps. Braden Holtby's first instinct was the right one, but he tried backing away from Ray Emery, but decided to take a swing while doing so, and Emery simply handled the situation like a guy who has been in a few hockey fights by pummeling his opponent as soon as he was off balance.

How does a team get to this point? Down 7-0. At home. To a Caps club playing without Alexander Ovechkin.

Years of bad contracts, really. Ilya Bryzgalov, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger (bad luck, but at least, his doesn't count against the cap) were the biggest ones, but other missteps along the way have left the Flyers without a viable option in goal and with a rapidly aging roster filled with contracts that will only look worse over time.

Through all of it, general manager Paul Holmgren has managed to keep his job since taking over for Bobby Clarke in 2006-07.

If the 3-9-0 start is any indication, Holmgren's days calling the shots in Philly could be nearing an end.

Perhaps Friday will be the turning point. A night where Steve Mason was given the hook, and Emery's beat down of Holtby was rock bottom. Vincent Lecavalier is day-to-day with facial injuries, and recently acquired forward Steve Downie was concussed in his team debut.

Eventually, Claude Giroux is going to start scoring again.

Unfortunately, there's little time to regroup as the Flyers will head to Jersey for a Saturday evening showdown with the Devils.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) 3:00
Ducks (Jonas Hiller) at Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:00
Blues (Jaroslav Halak) at Lightning (Anders Lindback), 7:00
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Devils (Martin Brodeur), 7:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Islanders (Kevin Poulin), 7:00
Hurricanes (Justin Peters) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00
Panthers (Scott Clemmensen) at Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00
Penguins (Jeff Zatkoff) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Canucks (Roberto Luongo), 7:00
Canadiens (Peter Budaj) at Avalanche (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), 10:00
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Oilers (Devan Dubnyk), 10:00
Predators (Carter Hutton) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30
Coyotes (Mike Smith) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30

Injury News for Teams Playing Saturday

Blackhawks

Jets

Mark Stuart, D (Hip) Placed on IR retroactive to Oct. 29.

Ducks

Saku Koivu, C (Head) Out until at least Nov. 6.
Teemu Selanne, RW (Mouth) Will not play for two weeks.

Sabres

John Scott, RW Suspended seven games for his hit on Boston's Loui Eriksson. Will not appeal.
Corey Tropp, RW Expected to return against the Ducks on Saturday.
Patrick Kaleta, RW Eligible to return from his 10-game suspension Saturday against Anaheim.

Blues

Magnus Paajarvi, LW, (Upper Body) Traveling with teammates, but won't play Saturday. Could return Tuesday.
Maxim Lapierre, C Was plus-1 in return from suspension Friday night.

Lightning

Flyers

Vincent Lecavalier, C (Face) Will not play Saturday after getting hurt in Friday's brawl.
Steve Downie, RW (Concussion) Out indefinitely after suffering injury his Flyers debut.

Devils

Travis Zajac, C Expects to play Saturday after rolling his ankle in Friday's practice.
Ryane Clowe, LW (Concussion) Making minimal progress recently.
Cory Schneider, G (Lower Body) Should be available as a backup against the Flyers.

Bruins

Johnny Boychuk, D (Undisclosed) Day-to-day; expected to sit Saturday against the Islanders.

Islanders

Lubomir Visnovsky, D (Concussion) Not close to returning.

Hurricanes

Jeff Skinner, LW (Upper Body) Placed on IR retroactive to Oct. 24th.
Radek Dvorak, RW (Lower Body) Placed on IR retroactive to Oct. 25th.
Brett Bellemore, D (Lower Body) Cleared to return for game action.

Rangers

Ryan Callahan, RW (Thumb) Likely 7-10 days away from return; shed non-contact jersey Friday.
Dominic Moore, C (Oblique) Expected to miss 7-10 days with a strain.

Panthers

Tim Thomas, G (Leg) Will not play Saturday.
Tomas Fleischmann, LW (Illness) Played 16:45 in the Panthers' 4-0 loss to St. Louis on Friday night.

Capitals

Alex Ovechkin, RW (Upper Body) Could play Saturday against Florida.

Penguins

Beau Bennett, RW (Lower Body) May return to practice next week.

Blue Jackets

Derek MacKenzie, C (Lower Body) Scored the only Columbus goal Friday in his return to the lineup.

Maple Leafs

Mark Fraser, D (Knee) May return Saturday against Vancouver.
Nikolai Kulemin, RW (Ankle) Will play against the Canucks on Saturday.
Frazer McLaren, LW (Eye) Practiced Friday and ready to play against Vancouver.

Canucks

Canadiens

Max Pacioretty, LW (Hamstring) Could return Saturday.
George Parros, RW (Concussion) Finished minus-3 in his return to the lineup.

Avalanche

Jamie McGinn, LW (Knee) Questionable for Saturday's game after sitting Friday.

Red Wings

Jonas Gustavsson, G (Neck) Placed on IR on Friday.

Oilers

Justin Schultz, D (Groin/Rib) Held out of Friday's practice with soreness; questionable to play Saturday.
David Perron, LW (Neck) Scheduled for an MRI; availability uncertain.
Taylor Hall, LW (Knee) Skated with his teammates Friday; targeting mid-November return.

Predators

Matt Hendricks, C (Upper Body) Questionable for Saturday's game.

Kings

Jeff Carter, C (Lower Body) Headed to IR.

Coyotes

Sharks

Brent Burns, LW (Mouth) Did not skate with the team Friday; unlikely to play Saturday.
Dan Boyle, D (Head) Will play against Phoenix.
Matthew Nieto, LW (Hand) Practiced with the team Friday and set for Saturday return.

Hot

Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle has a top line capable of doing significant damage together, as the unit has been outstanding over the past week including four goals and three helpers from Kessel, two goals and three assists from JVR and a two-goal, three-assist stretch from Kadri over the last four games.

Mikael Granlund, C, MIN With two more assists Friday night against Montreal, Granlund is now riding a four-game point streak with six helps during that span. Not surprisingly, Granlund has seen an increase in minutes at even strength and on the Minnesota power play.

Chris Kreider, LW, NYR Getting a spin as a top-six forward, Kreider is returning value for the Rangers with three points (2 G, 1 A) in his first five games back with the big club. Kreider skated on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan last time out, and has worked his way into the equation on the Blueshirts' power-play unit.

Cold

Claude Giroux, C, PHI As suggested above, he'll snap out of it as his wrist begins to feel better, but Giroux has just six points and they have all been helpers as he has not found the back of the net on 26 shots.

P.A. Parenteau, RW, COL The Avs are 5-1 in their last six games, but Parenteau is minus-4 and without a point during that surge. Perhaps adjustments to the lines the following the swap of Steve Downie for Max Talbot will get Parenteau back on the right side of the ledger.

Devan Dubnyk, G, EDM In addition to being hurt (ankle), Dubnyk's poor play to start the season might be jeopardizing his playing time thanks to the fast start for recently acquired backstop Richard Bachman. Dubnyk gave up three or more goals in seven of his first eight starts for the Oilers this season, leaving the door wide open for the former Dallas farmhand.

Recommended Pickup

Mika Zibanejad, C, OTT Since being recalled prior to the Sens' game against Detroit on Oct. 23, Zibanejad has piled up four points and an even rating in the last five contests. He's also chipping in with contributions in the secondary categories, including 11 hits and four blocked shots. Playing on the right side of the Kyle Turris line appears to be a good fit for the former No. 6 overall pick, and his production has translated to an increase in minutes at even strength with more steady time on the power-play unit as well.

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