Around the Rink
Last night Red Wings fans gave thanks for a little offense. Despite being without Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi the Red Wings pulled together 6 goals, making Boston's lone goal late in the third period futile.
Justin Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Drew Miller, and Tomas Tatar all tallied, with Johan Franzen throwing in three assists.
Elsewhere a late rally from Pittsburgh got them the win, led by Evgeni Malkin who has be racking up the points. He's still coming up short on goals, but he put in two goals last night and added an assist for good measure. That gives him 12 points in the last six games (3G, 9A).
A few minor roster changes of note: The Coyotes, who've been struggling to get their defenseman going lately (though they stymied Minnesota last night in a 3-1 win), placed Rostislav Klesla on waivers, which he cleared Wednesday. He'll be reporting to the Coyotes AHL affiliate in Portland, ME.
The Penguins placed forward Matt D'Agostini on waivers and, on Wednesday, he was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres. Interested in picking him up? See Matt Moulson's single goal over the last 12 games to see how valuable any player can be on a team as bad as Buffalo.
And finally, Rick DiPietro, he of the Thanksgiving Day parade balloon style contract (the Islanders waived him, then bought out his 15-year $67.5 million contract), may have come to the end of his NHL career already, before we've had the chance to say goodbye. His professional tryout with the Carolina Hurricanes at their AHL affiliate officially ended Wednesday, as DiPietro asked the team to release him. He hasn't released any statement as to why, but his 0-4-0 record, 5.18 goals against, and .846 save percentage while in the AHL may say all you need to know.
I hope he's thankful today for the good seasons he did have. Easy to just make fun of that kind of situation, but he had some genuinely solid seasons and was kind of the victim of the era of giant goaltender contracts and the inflated expectations that can come with them. But that's a whole other discussion that I'll reserve as torture for my relatives who aren't interested in hockey. The fantasy relevant news: Anyone hoping for the resurgence of DiPietro, go ahead and pickup Bryz.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Canucks (Roberto Luongo) at Senators (Robin Lehner), 7:30
Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Predators (Marek Mazanec), 8:00
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Jordan Schroeder (ankle) - After surgery in early November he's expected to miss at least another month.
Things are looking good in Canada's capital.
Richard Bachman (lower body)
Philip Larsen (undisclosed) - Larsen is unlikely to join the team for the three-game road trip beginning tonight.
Tyler Pitlick (knee)
Filip Forsberg (upper body) - Will miss Thursday's game with no clear time-table for his return.
Patric Hornqvist (lower body) - Wasn't able to practice Tuesday and missed Wednesday game. He's doubtful for Thursday.
Pekka Rinne (hip) - Remain out, but hasn't had any setbacks at this point.
James Neal, LW, PIT: Over the last five games Neal has six goals and five assists. That includes two power play goals. He had ten shots last night against Toronto. He had 12 shots over the two matches prior to that. He broke 20 minutes for the first time this season on Monday and Wednesday. Things are going well for Neal. Neal well. (Sorry.)
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET: Zetterberg has got seven points in the last four games. Over the last 13 games he's got five goals and 13 assists. These are good numbers. These are exactly the kind of numbers you hope for from Zetterberg. It's news because the Red Wings have been struggling with injuries up front and haven't been winning games like you expect them to. Nonetheless, Zetterberg is bringing home the (turkey?) bacon for fantasy owners.
Thomas Vanek, LW, NYI: Vanek didn't exactly come out, pistols blazing when he arrived in New York after being traded from Buffalo. He had one goal and two assists over six games before going out with an upper body injury. Since returning he's got two goals and two assists in three games, despite the Islanders losing all three of those games. That's what you expect from Vanek: production in any situation. He's giving it to you since returning.
Adam Henrique, C, NJD: He's playing alongside Patrik Elias and has proven he has the ability to put points on the board. While he's unlikely to be a point-per-game kind of guy, he's a role player who could help your fantasy team take your league. That is, he could if he was actually filling that role. He hasn't scored a goal in 10 games and has just two assists over that span. There isn't a whole lot he's adding to teams in most formats. You can probably do better than Henrique on the waivers.
Brad Richards, C, NYR: Richards scored his first goal in eight games last night against Florida. Here's hoping it's the start of a turn around for the center who has just recently been reunited with his superstar winger Rick Nash. While Richards hasn't quite been a point-per-game player the last two seasons, there's no reason to suspect that he doesn't have the potential to do it again. So two goals over the last 17 games comes as a pretty big disappointment.
Martin Erat, RW, WAS: Yeah, I know I've mentioned him before, but Erat has been a bust. Seems like you see a slight uptick in his ownership percentage each time he scores (well, assists, because he hasn't scored this season), because we want to believe he won't just disappear. Unfortunately, since publicly requesting a trade from the Capitals on Monday, Coach Adam Oates has made him completely disappear by making him a healthy scratch twice. That situation is getting messy and you probably don't want anything to do with Erat until he lands on a new team.
Reilly Smith, RW, BOS: The "other guy" in the last summer's blockbuster Tyler Seguin / Loui Eriksson trade, Smith has proven to be a great find for Boston. With an assist last night against Detroit, he's got points in four straight games and has 17 points in 25 games this season. He's playing on Boston's third line, with Carl Soderberg, who has also been on fire lately. His playing time isn't huge, but he's seeing a little time on the power play and showing flashes of a bright future. He's worth a look if he's still available.