Around the Rink
When Steven Stamkos broke his leg on November 11 against Boston he was off to a great start to the season, having put up 23 points in 17 games. In fact, Stamkos is still the Lightning’s second leading scorer behind Martin St. Louis. When their star went down, it might have been natural for the franchise to feel such a let down that they would collapse. It has certainly happened to better teams. Somehow, the Lightning have persevered and sit in a tie for third place in a tough Atlantic division with Detroit, just two points behind Montreal, and with more points than the entire Metropolitan division, except for Pittsburgh. How have they done it?
One answer is their captain, the diminutive St. Louis, who some thought would struggle without Stamkos, but who has in fact been fine with 14 points in 14 games since Stamkos went down. They have also gotten a decent season from Valtteri Filppula who has 20 points.
But, the biggest reason for the success the Lightning are enjoying is between the pipes, where big Ben Bishop, has arguably been the team’s MVP. In 24 games, Bishop has 16 wins, a 2.05 goals against, and .931 save percentage, all of which put him firmly inside the top ten among goalies. The 27 year-old was dealt from Ottawa to Tampa last season for Cory Conacher when the Senators decided that he was the most expendable of their three standout goalies. Tampa no doubt has no regrets on pulling the trigger on the deal.
Bishop’s emergence has saved Tampa’s season so far and with Stamkos starting to skate again while targeting a February return the pressure on Bishops to keep the team in a playoff position will only increase. While he owned in nearly all leagues, he could still be out there in a few and it is possible that someone who does own him is not completely sold on Bishop as a top flight keeper, or on Tampa continuing to win. In any event, if there is a way to get him in your league, it is worth checking on.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason) at Washington Capitals (Braden Holtby), 3:00 PM
Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Detroit Red Wings (Petr Mrazek*), 5:00 PM
Florida Panthers (Scott Clemmensen) at Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price), 6:00 PM
Calgary Flames (Karri Ramo*) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist*), 7:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Ben Scrivens) at Chicago Blackhawks (Antti Raanta), 7:00 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Devan Dubnyk) at Anaheim Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 8:00 PM
* = Confirmed
Injury News For Teams Playing Sunday
Vincent Lecavalier, C - Lecavalier (back) has been placed on injured reserve. (12/9/2013)
Marc-Andre Bourdon, D - Bourdon (concussion) has been placed on the non-roster injured reserve list, CSN Philly's Tim Panaccio reports. (9/30/2013)
Sean Couturier, C - Couturier left the team Saturday to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. (12/14/2013)
John Erskine, D - Erskine (upper body) will not play Friday vs. the Panthers, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (12/13/2013)
Brooks Laich, C - Laich (groin) will not play in Friday's game against the Panthers, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (12/12/2013)
Michal Neuvirth, G - Neuvirth will play in a game with AHL Hershey on a conditioning assignment this weekend to test his injured right ankle, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (12/12/2013)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Keith Aulie, D - Aulie (broken hand) underwent surgery on Friday, according to the team's official website. (12/6/2013)
Victor Hedman, D - Hedman (lower body) was on the ice for the team's morning skate Saturday and took part in a few drills, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/14/2013)
Richard Panik, C - Panik has been suspended for two games for boarding Karl Alzner of the Capitals during Tuesday's game, reports TSN.ca. He will miss games Thursday and Saturday. (12/11/2013)
Tom Pyatt, RW - Pyatt (collarbone) will have a scan next week and hopes to be cleared to play next Thursday vs. the Predators, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/13/2013)
Pierre-Cedric Labrie, LW - Labrie (upper body) is close to returning to action, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/12/2013)
Jonathan Drouin, C - Drouin (possible concussion) arrived at training camp for Team Canada's junior team on Thursday and was to be evaluated by team doctors to see if he's able to resume skating, reports TSN.ca. (12/13/2013)
Ryan Malone, LW - GM Steve Yzerman said Malone is dealing with a non-displaced ankle fracture and is expected to miss three-to-four weeks, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/3/2013)
Steven Stamkos, C - Stamkos (leg) took part in the team's morning skate but will not play Saturday, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/14/2013)
Detroit Red Wings
Darren Helm, C - Helm (shoulder) resumed skating Thursday, MLive.com reports. (12/12/2013)
Danny DeKeyser, D - DeKeyser (shoulder) will not be activated from long-term injured reserve when he is first eligible Saturday, but he is nearing a return, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. (12/12/2013)
Stephen Weiss, C - Weiss (groin) won't return until after Christmas, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. (12/14/2013)
Henrik Zetterberg, LW - GM Ken Holland said the team is "cautiously optimistic" that Zetterberg (back) will be able to return from long-term injured reserve when first eligible Dec. 28, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. (12/13/2013)
Jimmy Howard, G - GM Ken Holland said Howard is dealing with a Grade 1 MCL sprain and will be out for two-to-four weeks, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. (12/13/2013)
Ed Jovanovski, D - Interim coach Pete Horachek said Jovanovski (hip) would be out until after Christmas at the earliest, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. (12/7/2013)
Tim Thomas, G - Thomas is dealing with a lower-body injury, but interim coach Peter Horachek does not believe he will miss much time, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. (12/13/2013)
Matt Gilroy, D - Gilroy has been sent down to AHL San Antonio. (12/8/2013)
Rene Bourque, LW - Bourque (upper body) skated before practice Wednesday, but will remain sideline through Monday, Hockey Inside Out reports. (12/11/2013)
Dennis Wideman, D - Wideman has a fractured hand and will miss 6-8 weeks. He was placed on injured reserve Thursday. (11/28/2013)
Patrick Sieloff, D - Sieloff is at home in Ann Arbor, Mich., recovering from a staph infection, the Calgary Herald reports. (11/22/2013)
New York Rangers
Derick Brassard, C - Brassard (back) took part in the team's morning skate Saturday, Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reports. (12/14/2013)
Ryan Callahan, RW - Callahan (knee) was placed on injured reserve Thursday, TSN.ca reports. (12/12/2013)
Marc Staal, D - Staal (concussion) has been working out off the ice the last three days. (12/13/2013)
Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D - Greene (upper body) is not expected to play Wednesday against the Maple Leafs, Helene Elliott of the LA Times reports. (12/11/2013)
Jonathan Quick, G - Quick (groin) skated briefly during Thursday's session, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times reports. (12/13/2013)
Colin Fraser, C - Fraser (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times reports. (12/14/2013)
Bryan Bickell, LW - Bickell (lower body) was back at practice Friday for the Blackhawks, CSN Chicago's Tracy Myers reports. (12/13/2013)
Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin (groin), who has been out since Nov. 16, is still "a way" from returning to the ice, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Timesreports. (12/7/2013)
Corey Crawford, G - Coach Joel Quenneville said he expects Crawford (lower body) to miss three weeks, CSN Chicago's Tracy Myers reports. (12/10/2013)
Brad Mills, C - Mills (lower body) was waived by the Blackhawks on Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. (11/15/2013)
Ryan Smyth, LW - Smyth (neck) will not play Thursday against the Bruins. (12/12/2013)
Corey Potter, D - Potter missed practice Wednesday due to neck soreness. (12/11/2013)
Luca Sbisa, D - Sbisa will miss the next six-to-eight weeks after suffering a torn tendon in his right hand in Friday's game, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/23/2013)
Jakob Silfverberg, LW - Silfverberg (hand) will be reevaluated by doctors Friday, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (12/12/2013)
Viktor Fasth, G - Fasth will miss the next three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/23/2013)
Sheldon Souray, D - Souray (wrist) skated before Thursday's practice, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/21/2013)
Francois Beauchemin, D - Beauchemin (upper body) expects to be in the lineup Sunday against the Oilers, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (12/12/2013)
Mark Fistric, D - Fistric (upper body) will not play Wednesday against the Wild, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (12/10/2013)
Mathieu Perreault, C - Perreault (lower body) expects to be in the lineup Sunday against the Oilers, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (12/12/2013)
Jeff Carter, C, LA – Carter missed just under a month with a broken foot, but has made a nice comeback with eight points in 10 games, including a goal and two assists Saturday against Ottawa. The 28 year-old has always had a nose for the net since breaking into the NHL – he has only had one season in which he finished with more assists than goals. This puts a bit of a limit on his point totals, but he is an elite goal scorer when he is going well.
Keith Yandle, D, Pho – Yandle has been up and down this year, alternating between red hot and pretty cold, but he is on the upswing right now with five points in his last five games. Yandle’s yo-yoing season has added up to a solid campaign with 22 points in 31 games, which has kept him among the league’s top scoring defensemen.
Jonas Hiller, G, Ana – Hiller’s obituary as a starting goalie in the NHL has been written a couple of times yet he remains the number one goalie on one of the league’s best teams and has been very good of late. Since December 1, Hiller has made four starts and has yet to give up more than two goals with a save percentage of .949 and three wins in those starts. So long as Anaheim continues to roll, Hiller is going to be a value play because he is not often thought of among the league’s elite tenders.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla – It is not particularly fair to put Huberdeau in this category given that he has four points in his last seven games, but that is sort of the point – Huberdeau’s season has been decidedly just okay. With 15 points in 33 games, he will eclipse his total from his rookie season, but he is not doing so decisively. Teenagers who make the NHL as rookies sometimes take a couple of years to break out as they need to get stronger to truly compete. Not everyone is Sidney Crosby. So, Huberdeau’s owners need to be patient waiting for his breakthrough.
Mark Streit, D, Phi – A couple of years ago, Streit was a really unsung fantasy star, especially in leagues that counted power-play points. With the Islanders, he was racking up point totals in the forties with half of those coming with the man advantage. Streit picked up 27 points in 48 games (with 11 on the power play) in 2012, before Philly signed the 35 year-old in the off-season. So far, not so good – Streit has only 11 points so far this year, although with seven coming on the power play, he is at least still taking advantage of those opportunities. Things have not been very good lately either – since scoring a goal and adding an assist on November 27, Streit has only picked up two points in eight games (as usual they both came on the power play).
Devan Dubnyk, G, Edm – Dubnyk was featured in the Daily Puck a couple of Sundays ago when he had been playing a bit better and seemed like he would keep Ilya Bryzgalov from usurping his job. Bryzgalov subsequently suffered a concussion and Dubnyk’s play went into the tank. In seven December starts, Dubnyk has let in three or more goals four times, including a six goal nightmare against Phoenix last week. The Oilers are not exactly giving him much help – Dubnyk has faced the eleventh most shots in the NHL this year, but with a 3.39 goals against and .891 save percentage his play is not up to par for a starting gig.
Kris Russell, D, Cal – Russell came up with Columbus and showed some promise with the Blue Jackets (three consecutive 20+ point season from 2008-11) before ending up in St. Louis where things did not really click. Traded to Calgary in the off-season, the now 26 year-old is having a solid season with 15 points and a plus-4 rating through 33 games. Russell is skating a healthy 23:34 per game for Calgary, including 2:57 on the power play, and is worth a look in many leagues, in particular those that count shots on net where his 59 on the season puts him among the top 30 defensemen.