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Tuesday Daily Puck: Catching Up With An Old Teammate

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist. Twitter: @akfiorentino

Around the Rink

I know big contract extensions are all in vogue in the NHL these last few years, but sometimes I'm just confused by them. Dion Phaneuf's new seven-year deal is one such. Phaneuf isn't having a particularly good year; the 28-year-old blueliner is scoring at the lowest rate of his entire NHL career, with 15 points in 39 games. Yeah, he's plus-13 (a career high), and yeah, the Leafs are clinging to what would currently be a playoff spot, but at the end of the day, Phaneuf is the captain of a team with more losses (21, including overtime) than wins (20), and he's undergoing what seems to be a serious offensive decline. Is that worth $7 million a year?

On this New Year's Eve, Jaromir Jagr finds himself one point short of Mario Lemieux's 1,723 career points. Appropriately enough, he'll look to tie or pass his former teammate against their former team, the Penguins. It's been a pleasure to grow up watching Jagr's all-time-great career, but as it winds down and he approaches Lemieux's scoring total (currently seventh on the all-time list), it only makes you appreciate Mario's contributions that much more. The players on either side of Lemieux on the scoring list -- Jagr and Steve Yzerman -- have totaled 1,431 and 1,514 NHL games, respectively. Lemieux played in 915. In fact, he's the only player in the NHL's top 35 all-time scorers who's played fewer than 1,126 games (that's Guy Lafleur, No. 26 on the list). If Lemieux had played as many games as Wayne Gretzky (1,487) at his career scoring pace, he would only be 57 points behind The Great One (2,857 to 2,800).

They just don't build hockey players like that anymore.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.

Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Devils (Martin Brodeur), 1:00
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Panthers (Tim Thomas), 5:00
Blues (Brian Elliott) at Wild (Niklas Backstrom), 6:00
Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Canadiens (Carey Price) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00
Sabres (Jhonas Enroth) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00
Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 8:00
Kings (Martin Jones) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:00
Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 8:00
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Flames (Reto Berra), 9:00
Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang, D (elbow) – Didn’t return as expected Friday
Pascal Dupuis, RW (knee) – Torn ACL; done for the year
Paul Martin, D (leg) – Likely out into mid-January
Evgeni Malkin, C (leg) – Placed on IR, but could return Tuesday
Beau Bennett, RW (hand/wrist) – Out 3-5 weeks yet
Jayson Megna, LW (lower body) – Out another 4-5 weeks still
Tomas Vokoun, G (blood clot) – Still could return to the Penguins this season

New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson, D (lower body) – Skating recently
Damien Brunner, C (knee) – Placed on injured reserve Friday
Peter Harrold, D (foot) – Still no word on potential return
Ryan Carter, C (knee) – Remained out this weekend
Steve Bernier, RW (undisclosed) – Left Monday's practice early after injury
Anton Volchenkov, D (general soreness) – Practiced Monday

New York Rangers
Marc Staal, D (concussion) – Returning to the lineup Tuesday
Ryan Callahan, RW (knee) – Skated Friday for the first time since Dec. 10
Anton Stralman, D (wrist) – Hoping to play Tuesday

Florida Panthers
Jesse Winchester, LW (hand) – Expected out another week or two
Erik Gudbranson, D (eye) – Placed on injured reserve Friday
Ed Jovanovski, D (hip) – Will remain sidelined through early January
Scottie Upshall, LW (upper body) – Out for a period of weeks

St. Louis Blues
David Backes, C (upper body) – Didn't play Sunday
Roman Polak, D (ankle) – Timeline suggests early-January return
Jaroslav Halak, G (illness) – May not be available Tuesday
Ryan Reaves, RW (hand) – Skating, but no word on whether he's been cleared for shooting
Jordan Leopold, D (hand) – Skating in practice
Alexander Steen, C (concussion) – Out indefinitely

Minnesota Wild
Zach Parise, LW (foot) – Has a fracture; expected to miss at least four more games
Darcy Kuemper, G (undisclosed) – Hasn't played in AHL since Dec. 20
Clayton Stoner, D (lower body) – Placed on IR Friday

New York Islanders
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (concussion) – Still has no timetable
Radek Martinek, D (back) – No updates; still on IR
Michael Grabner, RW (flu) – Practiced Monday; seems likely for Tuesday
Josh Bailey, LW (upper body) – Likely out Tuesday

Boston Bruins
Dougie Hamilton, D (lower body) – Practiced Monday.
Dennis Seidenberg, D (knee) – Out for the year with torn ACL/MCL
Shawn Thornton, LW (suspension) – Five games left
Loui Eriksson, RW (concussion) – Took to the ice before practice Monday
Chris Kelly, C (leg) – Out into mid-late January
Carl Soderberg, LW (head) – Out Tuesday
Zdeno Chara, D (undisclosed) – Practiced with the Bruins on Monday

Montreal Canadiens
George Parros, RW (concussion) – Skating on his own
Davis Drewiske, D (shoulder) – Out at least into February, maybe longer

Carolina Hurricanes
Jay Harrison, D (concussion) – Placed on IR; no timetable
Jiri Tlusty, LW (appendix) – Out 2-3 weeks after emergency appendectomy

Buffalo Sabres
Cody McCormick, C (finger) – Broken finger to keep him out a while
Patrick Kaleta, RW (knee) – Out for the year with torn ACL
Kevin Porter, C (leg) – Expected to miss at least another week
Cody Hodgson, C (finger) – Broken finger to keep him out into January

Winnipeg Jets
Matt Halischuk, RW (forearm) – Out indefinitely
Grant Clitsome, D (back) – No timetable
Paul Postma, D (blood clot) – Skating lightly; still out long-term
Jim Slater, C (sports hernia) – Apparently skating, but no word on return

San Jose Sharks
Tommy Wingels, RW (leg) – Left Sunday's game
Martin Havlat, RW (lower body) – Couldn't go Sunday
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) – Still rehabbing, but a ways off
Tomas Hertl, C (knee) – Surgery scheduled for Tuesday

Anaheim Ducks
Luca Sbisa, D (hand) – Out 2-3 weeks yet
Viktor Fasth, G (lower body) – Staying off the ice for about a week

Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick, G (groin) – Returned to practice Friday

Dallas Stars
Stephane Robidas, D (leg) – Out 3-5 months yet
Sergei Gonchar, D (concussion) – Working out off the ice
Trevor Daley, D (ankle) – Skating without pads in practice

Columbus Blue Jackets
Marian Gaborik, RW (collarbone) – Out 5-7 weeks yet
Nathan Horton, RW (shoulder) – Could be back this week
Jared Boll, RW (ankle) – Out 3-4 months
Matt Calvert, LW (shoulder) – Out another week or two still
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (lower body) – Traveling with team; said to be progressing
Dalton Prout, D (upper body) – Approaching end of initial two-week timetable

Colorado Avalanche
P.A. Parenteau, RW (knee) – Out six weeks due to MCL sprain
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee/hip) – Could start skating soon

Philadelphia Flyers
Erik Gustafsson, D (knee) – Expected out about another week

Calgary Flames
Curtis Glencross, LW (ankle) – Out about seven weeks more
Blair Jones, C (knee) – Out indefinitely
Dennis Wideman, D (hand) – Practicing without contact
Kris Russell, D – Out 3-5 weeks more

Edmonton Oilers
Corey Potter, D (groin) – Sat out Saturday; could be minor, though
Ryan Jones, LW (head) – On IR; likely out long-term
Philip Larsen, D (illness) – On IR; eligible to be activated any time
Mark Arcobello, RW (ribs) – Placed on IR; no word on return date

Phoenix Coyotes
Shane Doan, RW (illness) – Still not ready to return
Rostislav Klesla, D (illness) – Placed on IR
Zbynek Michalek, D (lower body) – No timetable
Gilbert Brule, C (suspension) – Suspended by the Coyotes for not reporting to AHL team


Sean Bergenheim, LW, FLA – He's not at the top of the list of guys you'd expect to have three-game goal-scoring streaks, but that's just what Bergenheim has done lately, actually finding twine four times in the last three contests. He's always been a goal-oriented scorer when he finds the score sheet, tallying 79 career markers against 64 assists, but Bergenheim's never been a big scorer overall, with a career high of 29 points at the NHL level. His production's elevated since he's been put into second-line minutes, but keep any expectations of a breakout tempered.

Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI – Though Simmonds just had his own three-game goal-scoring streak broken, it's more than worth noting because he scored two goals in each of those three contests and still has points in five of his last six games. After a cold start to the season, Simmonds has resurrected his numbers – plus-minus excepted – to their normal levels, which of course includes some nice power-play productivity. Patient owners are being rewarded.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL – A steady producer all year long, Shattenkirk's been even steadier lately, tallying exactly one point in six consecutive games. Just think what he could do if he was seeing the first-pairing minutes that are currently being enjoyed by Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. Shattenkirk has an extremely impressive 28 points in 37 games, and yet is averaging less than 20 minutes of ice time per contest. Not a lot of defensemen this side of Erik Karlsson are capable of that.


Jimmy Howard, G, DET – Unfair to put Howard in the cold column after his first game back? Maybe. But he let in five goals against the awful Nashville offense in his return Monday, and with how rough Howard's been all year – especially in comparison to ostensible backup Jonas Gustavsson – that lands him on thin ice. The upside for Howard is that Gustavsson is nursing a groin injury, so if the man considered (before this year) to be Wings' franchise goalie can get his game together soon, he has a chance to put his stamp back on the No. 1 role.

Tuomo Ruutu, LW, CAR – Not only is Ruutu stone-cold – no points and an impressively poor minus-7 rating in his last six games – but he also got bumped to the third line during Saturday's game. With the horrendous way he's played this year – eight points and a minus-17 rating in 34 games – it won't be surprising if he makes a home in the bottom six for a while. At least until he gets his game together. Whenever that might happen.

John Carlson, D, WAS – Carlson is one of the most widely owned mediocre defensemen in fantasy. Universally owned on ESPN, near-universally owned on CBS and quite widely owned in Yahoo leagues, Carlson's value has been defined by a single category: shots on goal. He's fired 107 pucks on net in 40 games this year, but been rewarded with just seven goals – a fantasy-relevant stat for a defenseman, but well short of the expectations being set up by Carlson's prolific shooting. With just eight assists, he hasn't been killing it there either. And with just three points in his last 15 games, dating all the way back to late November, he's been stone-cold. But hey, he's still shooting.

Recommended Pickup
Ondrej Palat, LW, TB – Opportunity makes a big difference in fantasy, and Palat has the kind of opportunity right now to impact fantasy rosters. A 52-point scorer (not to mention his plus-26 rating) in 56 AHL games last year, Palat has worked his way up to the top line for the injury-depleted Lightning here in his first full NHL season, and he's making a difference. He's seen 18-plus minutes in 10 of the last 12 games, and in that span, the Czech winger has accumulated eight points – not mind-blowing, but a solid pace that plays in a lot of fantasy formats. He's also currently on a three-game point streak, which is nice too. Palat's not a name-brand commodity, but hey, there probably aren't a lot of name-brand guys on your waiver wire. There also aren't a lot of guys who are skating alongside Martin St. Louis every night.