Around the Rink
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a grind. Veteran teams know this, and inexperienced teams often run out of gas after the opening round. The key is to stay healthy, and over the past two years, both the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 and the Boston Bruins in 2013, can make a believable claim that the finals would’ve turned out a little differently if they weren’t so banged up.
It’s a somber post-Christmas weekend as the Bruins received news that defensive stalwart Dennis Seidenberg will miss the rest of the season with an ACL/MCL tear, and the St. Louis Blues have placed Alex Steen on the injured reserve with a concussion, sidelining their mid-season MVP indefinitely. Seidenberg joins Chris Kelly (broken ankle) and Loui Eriksson (concussion) of those with indefinite and long-term injuries in the infirmary, while the Blues have been without Jordan Leopold (wrist) so far this season. It’s a good thing that both teams have so much depth, a sign of good teams, and the Pittsburgh Penguins should also be commended for filling the voids left by the injured Pascal Dupuis (knee), Beau Bennett (wrist/hand), Paul Martin (broken leg), Brooks Orpik (concussion), Rob Scuderi (ankle) and Kris Letang (elbow).
While some teams are gnawing on their tables trying to find bodies to plug holes, a number of teams will have fresh bodies in the new year. The high-flying Ducks will get hard-shooting Sheldon Souray (wrist) back, power forward Nathan Horton (shoulder) could make his Columbus debut, Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne (blood clot)should make his return, and, of course, the return of the league’s best goal scorer in Steven Stamkos (broken leg).
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Boston Bruins (Niklas Svedberg) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson*), 7:00 PM
Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop*), 7:00 PM
Detroit Red Wings (Jonas Gustavsson*) at Florida Panthers (Scott Clemmensen*), 7:00 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider*) at New York Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov*), 7:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks (Antti Raanta) at St. Louis Blues (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Ben Scrivens) at Nashville Predators (Marek Mazanec), 8:00 PM
Phoenix Coyotes (Thomas Greiss*) at Anaheim Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 8:00 PM
Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason*) at Edmonton Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov*), 10:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
Dennis Seidenberg, D - Seidenberg sustained a lower-body injury in Friday's win over the Senators and will not be available in Saturday's rematch in Ottawa,CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reports. (12/27/2013)
Shawn Thornton, LW - The NHL has upheld Thornton's 15-game suspension, TSN.ca reports. (12/24/2013)
Loui Eriksson, RW - Eriksson, who suffered a concussion back on Dec. 7, remains out indefinitely, the Boston Herald reports. "We’re careful with that," GM Peter Chiarelli noted Wednesday. "I talked to Loui a little bit (Monday). He’s coming along, but he’s still experiencing symptoms." (12/19/2013)
Chris Kelly, C - Kelly (leg) was placed on long-term injured reserve Sunday. (12/8/2013)
Carl Soderberg, LW - Soderberg, who is experiencing concussion-like symptoms, did not travel with the Bruins to Ottawa, where the team plays Saturday night, theBoston Globe reports. (12/28/2013)
Dougie Hamilton, D - Hamilton (lower body) should be ready to participate fully in practice next week, the Boston Herald reports. (12/28/2013)
Chris Phillips, D - Phillips will be a game-time decision Saturday, Brent Wallace of TSN reports. (12/28/2013)
George Parros, RW - Parros (concussion) skated on his own Wednesday morning, Renaud Lavoie of RDS reports. (12/18/2013)
Davis Drewiske, D - Drewiske will miss the next five-to-six months following shoulder surgery, Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette reports. (10/16/2013)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Keith Aulie, D - Aulie (hand) is expected to miss at least three more weeks of action, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/28/2013)
Brian Lee, D - Lee (knee) is still only doing off-ice workouts. (11/9/2013)
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)
Mattias Ohlund, D - Ohlund (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. (10/2/2013)
Eric Brewer, D - Brewer (upper body) was on the ice Saturday participating in drills, but he's not ready to return yet, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/28/2013)
Sami Salo, D - Salo (upper body) is unlikely to play Saturday vs. the Canadiens, Eric Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/27/2013)
Ryan Malone, LW - Malone (foot) participated in Friday's practice, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/27/2013)
Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard, G - Howard (knee) put in a full practice Friday, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. (12/27/2013)
Johan Franzen, LW - Franzen (concussion) still has not resumed skating with his teammates, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. (12/28/2013)
Jonathan Ericsson, D - Ericsson (ribs) was placed on IR on Friday. (12/27/2013)
Darren Helm, C - Helm (shoulder) skated Saturday, but still has not been cleared for game action, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. (12/28/2013)
Stephen Weiss, C - Weiss has chosen to undergo surgery for a sports hernia and will be out until late-February, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. (12/21/2013)
Scottie Upshall, LW - Upshall (upper body) will miss "weeks" rather than days, according to Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. (12/28/2013)
Jesse Winchester, LW - Winchester (hand) is expected to miss three-to-four weeks, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. (12/18/2013)
Erik Gudbranson, D - Gudbranson (eye) was placed on injured reserve Friday. (12/27/2013)
Ed Jovanovski, D - Jovanovski will remain sidelined through early January, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. (12/23/2013)
New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson, D - Larsson (lower body) has been able to skate the last couple of days, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. (12/21/2013)
Damien Brunner, RW - Brunner (knee) was placed on injured reserve Friday, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. (12/27/2013)
Ryan Carter, C - Carter (knee) will not play in either of the Devils' weekend contests, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. (12/27/2013)
Peter Harrold, D - Harrold (foot) was placed on injured reserve Thursday, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. (12/12/2013)
New York Islanders
John Tavares, C - Tavares (lower body) will not play Saturday night against the Devils. (12/28/2013)
Casey Cizikas, C - Cizikas missed Friday's practice for personal reasons. (12/27/2013)
Lubomir Visnovsky, D - Visnovsky (concussion) still has no timetable for a return to the ice, according to the Newsday. (12/16/2013)
Radek Martinek, D - The Islanders placed Martinek on injured reserve Thursday with a back injury, Newday's Arthur Staple reports. (12/12/2013)
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-Times reports. (12/7/2013)
Corey Crawford, G - Crawford (lower leg) will travel to St. Louis for Saturday's game, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. (12/28/2013)
St. Louis Blues
Roman Polak, D - Polak will miss at least two weeks with an ankle injury, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. (12/21/2013)
Ryan Reaves, RW - Reaves (hand) has resumed skating, and hopes to be cleared to shoot soon, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. (12/19/2013)
Jordan Leopold, D - Leopold (hand) was skating with the team during Friday's practice, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports. (12/27/2013)
Alexander Steen, C - Steen is out indefinitely due to a concussion, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. (12/28/2013)
Los Angeles Kings
Willie Mitchell, D - Mitchell (upper body) was back at practice Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. (12/28/2013)
Dustin Brown, RW - Brown (illness) is expected to return to the lineup Saturday, the LA Kings Insider reports. (12/28/2013)
Jonathan Quick, G - Quick (groin) returned to practice Friday for the first time since his injury, the Los Angeles Times reports. (12/28/2013)
Pekka Rinne, G - Rinne (hip) will remain under limited activity for the next two weeks. (12/20/2013)
Shane Doan, RW - Doan (illness) has been able to skate but does not have a timetable for a return, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. (12/27/2013)
Rostislav Klesla, D - Updating a previous story, Klesla was placed on IR by the Coyotes due to his illness. No timetable has been given for his return to the lineup. (12/28/2013)
Zbynek Michalek, D - Michalek (lower body) does not have a timetable for a return, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. (12/27/2013)
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 Registerreports. (11/23/2013)
Viktor Fasth, G - Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday that Fasth (lower body) would remain off the ice for about a week, Curtis Zupke of NHL.com reports. (12/27/2013)
Sheldon Souray, D - Souray (wrist) skated before Thursday's practice, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/21/2013)
Erik Gustafsson, D - Gustafsson is expected to miss about two weeks with a left knee sprain. (12/22/2013)
Mark Arcobello, C - Arcobello (ribs) has been placed on injured reserve by the Oilers, Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun reports. (12/27/2013)
Corey Potter, D - Potter is nursing a groin injury and will not be in the lineup Saturday vs. the Flyers. (12/28/2013)
Ryan Jones, LW - Jones (head) has been placed on injured reserve, 630 CHED's Bob Stauffer reports. (12/26/2013)
Philip Larsen, D - Larsen (illness) was placed on injured reserve by the Oilers on Friday, Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun reports. (12/27/2013)
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS – He’s not setting the world on fire with points, but Bergeron has been a multi-category stud over the past two weeks. He has four points in his past four games, posted a plus-7 rating, collected 15 penalty minutes, and led the league in faceoff wins with 92. These are the kind of stat lines you like to see from a two-way center who gets devalued in fantasy because they don’t put up the sexy numbers.
Jussi Jokinen, LW, PIT – Over the past 14 days, Jokinen has collected seven assists, which is tied for second-most in the league. The underrated Finn (another Stars product) has soft hands, making him dangerous anywhere along the half boards and below the hash marks on the power play, and with plenty of options on the Pens’ offense, he’s in line for another 50-point season. He has five assists in his past five games, but the bonus recently has been his move to center, where he’s picking up some faceoff wins as a left wing-eligible player.
Benoit Pouliot, LW, NYR – Head coach Alain Vigneault has developed a reputation for maximizing a team’s offensive talent, and the nearly forgotten former fourth overall pick in 2005 has come alive with six points in six straight games. There’s not much to like about Pouliot’s game, but the former Sudbury Wolves star was always known to have good hands around the net. Ride the hot streak then dump him the moment he gets cold.
Mike Richards, C, LA – Richards’ recent six-game pointless streak almost cements the notion that he won’t be part of the conversation anymore for the 2014 Olympic team. The former Flyers captain is on pace for a paltry 13 goals, which would be his lowest total in an 82-game season since his sophomore year.
David Perron, LW, EDM – Not too long ago, someone in this writing space talked about Perron being a point-per-game guy. While it’s still possible, Perron has just two points in his past seven games, with both coming against an easy 6-2 win over the Jets. The good news is that head coach Dallas Eakins keeping Perron on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, so if there’s an Oiler to be taken it should be from whoever gets to play with Hall.
Logan Couture, C, SJ – A potential Olympian for Canada, Couture’s 11-game goalless drought isn’t coming at a good time. One of the league’s best all-round players, despite just being 24 years old, Couture is on pace for 21 goals, which would match last year’s total, which he accomplished in 48 games. He’s been on pace to score at least 30 goals every year since rookie season. He’s too talented to keep off the score sheet, though, so look for the hot streak coming soon.
Reilly Smith, RW, BOS – Maybe Loui Eriksson wasn’t the big piece after all. The Dallas Stars have developed a reputation for finding goal scorers. Smith was a standout for the Miami University, leading the team in goals in the final two years with the Redhawks, scoring 58 in 67 games in total. Head coach Claude Julien thinks Smith is the real deal, with Smith scoring five goals in his past three games. On a lineup devoid of players who can really snipe, except the ever-aging Jarome Iginla, Smith has become a reliable scoring threat.