Around the Rink
It’s Hockey Day in Canada with a slew of games on tap, starting with three afternoon games. All seven Canadian teams are in action, with the Habs and Leafs renewing their ageless rivalry while Vancouver attempts to right the ship against lowly Calgary. But the biggest news today has come out of Philadelphia, with Steve Mason signing a three-year, 12.3 million extension Saturday morning.
It’s an interesting move for the Flyers. With a cap hit of $4.1 million, it’s an easily manageable number with the cap rising to $71.1 million for the 2014-15 season. For a team that has a reputation for lacking proper cap management skills (Ilya “Spaceman” Bryzgalov, anyone?), this is a surprising move.
Mason has played well and rightfully earns the contract with a 19-11-5 record and a .917 save percentage, despite the Flyers’ struggles early in the season which ended up costing head coach Peter Laviolette his job. Mason has been one of the better Flyers this season, and his steady play contributed to the team’s mid-season turnaround, climbing all the way to second place in the division after languishing near the bottom to start the season.
This also likely means that Ray Emery’s time with the Flyers is over, unless he decided to stay a little longer on a short-term contract where he’ll have to fight Mason for the starting job yet again. Goalies are always an interesting market because there can be so much volatility.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who struggled in Philadelphia, became the first Russian to win a Vezina Trophy in Columbus, but hasn’t quite managed to replicate the magic and the Jackets are in danger of missing the playoffs. Mason, a former Calder Trophy winner in Columbus, has found new life in Philadelphia after it was assumed he would be backup to Emery. It should be noted that Bobrovsky and Mason swapped teams in separate deals, and that neither party really expected much from their new goalies, though there was always a glimmer of hope, given their young age and potential. Bobrovsky had trouble adjusting in Philadelphia, where he was thrown into the fire, and Columbus had misjudged Mason’s readiness for the NHL.
But all’s good as both sides seem to have locked down a position that had been a constant headache for much of two franchises’ recent history.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
New York Rangers (Cam Talbot*) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson*), 2:00 PM
San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi*) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop*), 2:00 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov*) at Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec*), 2:00 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky*) at Buffalo Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:00 PM
Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price*) at Toronto Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier*), 7:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard*), 7:00 PM
New York Islanders (Kevin Poulin*) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason*), 7:00 PM
Florida Panthers (Tim Thomas) at Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin), 7:00 PM
Anaheim Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott*), 8:00 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Nashville Predators (Devan Dubnyk*), 8:00 PM
New Jersey Devils (Martin Brodeur*) at Phoenix Coyotes (Mike Smith*), 8:00 PM
Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Minnesota Wild (Darcy Kuemper*), 9:00 PM
Calgary Flames (Karri Ramo*) at Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
New York Rangers
Derek Dorsett, RW – (broken leg) out 4-6 weeks.
San Jose Sharks
Adam Burish, RW – (back surgery) out indefinitely.
Logan Couture, C – (hand) skated on Friday, no timetable for return.
Scott Hannan, D – (concussion) placed on IR Thursday.
Raffi Torres, RW – (ACL) at around “60 per cent,” no timetable for return.
Tomas Hertl, LW – (knee) out indefinitely.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Mattias Ohlund, D – (knee) out indefinitely, has not played since 2011.
Brian Lee, D - (knee) doing off-ice workouts, no timetable for return.
Steven Stamkos, C - (leg) skated on Friday, preparing for early February return.
Keith Aulie, D - (hand) practiced Thursday in non-contact jersey.
Ales Hemsky, RW - (ankle) went for further evaluation Thursday, no timetable for return.
Corey Potter, D - (groin) not ready to play, day-to-day.
Philip Larsen, D - (illness) placed on IR Friday.
Curtis Hamilton, LW – (knee) out 5-6 weeks.
Nail Yakupov, RW – (concussion) placed on IR Saturday.
Evander Kane, LW - (hand) placed on IR Thursday.
Matt Halischuk, RW - (forearm) skating, but day-to-day.
Grant Clitsome, D – (back surgery) out for the season.
Paul Postma, D - (leg) practiced Wednesday, no return date set.
Jim Slater, C - (sports hernia) halfway through rehab, no return date set.
Eric Tangradi, C – (illness) won’t play Saturday.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Marian Gaborik, RW - (collarbone) not in a sling, no timetable for return.
Fedor Tyutin, D - (illness) will sit Saturday.
Blake Comeau, LW – (sprained knee) out 4-6 weeks.
Jack Skille, RW - (oblique) practiced on his own Tuesday, no return date set.
Jared Boll, RW – (ankle) will miss 3-4 months with sliced tendons.
Matt D'Agostini, RW – (upper body) no timetable for return, week-to-week.
Kevin Porter, C - (leg) practiced in non-contact jersey Friday, no return date set.
Patrick Kaleta, RW – (torn ACL) out for the season.
Henrik Tallinder, D - (upper body) skated Friday, day-to-day.
Cody McCormick, C - (finger) practiced Monday in a non-contact jersey, no return date set.
Ryan White, LW - (upper body) skated alone on Monday, no return date set.
Davis Drewiske, D - (shoulder) skating on his own, no timetable set.
Raphael Diaz, D – (flu) will miss Saturday’s game.
Alex Galchenyuk, C – (broken hand) out 4-6 weeks.
Douglas Murray, D (lower body) will miss Saturday’s game.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Frazer McLaren, LW – (shoulder) placed on IR Saturday.
Trevor Smith, C - (hand) skated ahead of Leafs practice, no timetable for return.
Dave Bolland, C - (ankle) going through tough rehab, out indefinitely.
David Clarkson, RW – (elbow) placed on IR, will miss 1-2 weeks.
Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D - (concussion) will not play on road trip.
Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen, LW - (concussion) will not play Saturday.
Jonathan Ericsson, D - (ribs) return set for next week.
Joakim Andersson, C - (lower body) won’t play Saturday.
Darren Helm, C - (groin) placed on IR Tuesday.
Daniel Alfredsson, RW – (back spasms) won’t play Saturday.
Stephen Weiss, C – (sports hernia) returning in February.
Pavel Datsyuk, C - (groin) held out of practice, no return date set.
New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov, G - (lower body) skated briefly Monday, no return date set.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D - (concussion) skated Monday, out indefinitely.
Travis Hamonic, D - (upper body) returned to Long Island Thursday, no return date set.
Zac Rinaldo, RW - (ankle) placed on IR Friday.
Chris Pronger, D – (concussion) won’t ever play again, says Paul Holmgren.
Jesse Winchester, LW - (hand) “close to returning,” day-to-day.
Dylan Olsen, D – (upper body) placed on IR retroactive to Dec. 31.
Alex Petrovic, D - (upper body) did not join team on road trip.
Joni Pitkanen, D - (heel) out for the season.
Cam Ward, G - (lower body) skating in practice, no return date set.
Sheldon Souray, D – (wrist surgery) out for the season.
Luca Sbisa, D - (hand) in AHL for conditioning assignment, return is imminent.
Viktor Fasth, G – (lower body) held off ice for another week.
St. Louis Blues
Maxim Lapierre, C - (lower body) practiced light on Wednseday, no return date set.
Cory Sarich, D - (back) out inidefinitely.
Alex Tanguay, LW - (hip/knee) skating, but no return date set.
P.A. Parenteau, RW - (knee) shooting for Tuesday return vs. Toronto.
Nate Guenin, D - (ankle) out another week.
David Van der Gulik, RW - (undisclosed) placed on IR retroactive to Jan. 10.
Pekka Rinne, G - (hip) exercising while Preds acquire Devan Dubnyk; out indefinitely.
New Jersey Devils
Peter Harrold, D - (foot) resumed skating, no timetable for return.
Damien Brunner, RW - (knee) will partake in practice after Saturda.
Sergei Gonchar, D – (lower body) questionable for Saturday.
Ray Whitney, LW – (lower body) questionable for Saturday.
Stephane Robidas, D - (leg) skated Wednesday, no return date set.
Brett Bulmer, LW – (ankle/knee) out 6-8 weeks.
Jared Spurgeon, D - (foot) skating, but no return date set.
Mikko Koivu, C – (ankle) no return date set, hopeful to play in Olympics.
Zach Parise, LW - (foot) no timetable for return yet.
Josh Harding, G - (illness) won’t play Saturday.
David Jones, RW - (eye) will travel with team, no return date set.
Michael Cammalleri, LW – (concussion) didn’t travel on road trip, no return date set.
Curtis Glencross, LW – (ankle sprain) will miss 8 weeks.
Andrew Alberts, D - (head) placed on IR.
Mike Santorelli, RW - (arm) won’t play Saturday.
Jordan Schroeder, C - (ankle) no timetable for return.
Ryan Stanton, D – (ankle) no return date set.
Roberto Luongo, G - (ankle) no return date set.
Henrik Sedin, C - (hand) game-time decision for Saturday.
Corey Perry, RW, ANA – The two-time Olympian led a 9-1 drubbing against Vancouver with a four-point effort, and now has 27 goals and 27 assists on the season. Just twice over the past ten games has Perry failed to register a point, and his plus-23 rating is the best mark of his career. The Ducks are thriving offensively under former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, and as long as Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are flying high, so will the Ducks.
Brad Richards, C, NYR – The embattled center has found new life under head coach Alain Vigneault. Though he had his six-game point streak snapped in a shutout loss to Detroit, Richards fired five shots on net and played well. Richards is on pace to score near 60 points, which would be fitting of his abilities, but still a prime suspect for a buyout this summer.
Paul Stastny, C, COL – He may have missed the two previous games with a leg injury, but Stastny’s recent offensive output makes him a must-play as he returns to the lineup. January has been a good month for the former Denver Pioneer, as Stastny already has two three-point games. He has 13 goals and 21 assists on the season and will dress Saturday.
Cam Fowler, D, ANA – Odd to have a player in this category when their team is among the league’s best, but Fowler has just one assist in his past six games. The smooth-skating, offensive defenseman was named to Team USA because he could help move the puck up and down the ice, and while he’s still one of Boudreau’s most dependable players, averaging over 22 minutes a game, the offense has been lacking recently. He also has just one shot on net over the past three games.
Reilly Smith, RW, BOS – The hype surrounding Smith has subsided a little, though he has assists in each of his past two games. Where Smith makes his mark is by scoring goals, since he’s not a very gifted playmaker, and he hasn’t made the red light sing since January 4 against Winnipeg. The B’s are faltering a bit and are in danger of losing the division’s top spot to Tampa Bay, just one point behind, or rival Montreal, just two points behind.
Bobby Ryan, LW, OTT – You’d think that being a snubbed for Team USA would kick Ryan’s play into extra gear out of spite, but he has just two points in the month of January. Ryan has been criticized in the past for lazy defensive play and not giving a full 60-minute effort, but the snub seems to have taken even more confidence away from the talented goal scorer. The Sens are struggling at the moment and no doubt Ryan’s lack of production can be attributed to that.
Ryane Clowe, LW, NJ – Nearly forgotten after being sidelined for two months with a concussion, Clowe is barely owned in fantasy leagues but will catch everyone’s attention eventually with six points in his past nine games. The Devils are running their offense through Jaromir Jagr, which is never a bad idea, but Jagr and Clowe are also some of the slowest players in the league. By playing a simple game without a lot of up-and-down action, Clowe can be effective with his big body and hard shot. The power forward gets plenty of PIM as well, so if he doesn't score at least there’s something to get out of it. A player of similar ilk who is picking up his play recently is Scott Hartnell of the Flyers, who gets an honorable mention.