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Tuesday Daily Puck: Motivational Antics

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

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

Around the Rink

As a Rangers fan, I'm both amused and bemused at John Tortorella's explosion against Calgary on Saturday. If you haven't heard well, who am I fooling. If you're reading this, you're almost certainly a big enough hockey fan to have heard about Torts' attempted assault on the Flames and coach Bob Hartley during the first intermission after the game started with a line brawl just two seconds after the drop of the puck. While the Canucks' coach has long been known for his fiery temper, that's a line I personally never thought I'd see him cross. Don't anyone try to tell Torts that it's only a game.

For his tirade, Tortorella's been slapped with a 15-day vacation suspension without pay, meaning he'll miss the Canucks' next six games, including Tuesday's tilt in Edmonton. It's not his first ban, and considering his distaste for anger management and oft-contentious dealings with players, coaches and the media, it probably won't be his last.

Hartley, for his part, was fined $25,000; I propose that money be donated to the Fantasy Hockey Writers' Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that I just made up. The FHWF: because fantasy hockey writers need to eat, too.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

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

Panthers (Tim Thomas) at Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:00
Blues (Brian Elliott) at Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:00
Islanders (Kevin Poulin) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00
Kings (Martin Jones) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Wild (Darcy Kuemper) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:00
Maple Leafs (James Reimer) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 9:00
Canucks (Roberto Luongo) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 9:30
Jets (Al Montoya) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

Florida Panthers
Tim Thomas, G (illness) Sat out Monday after feeling ill at morning skate
Tomas Kopecky, RW (shoulder) Didn't go Monday
Dylan Olsen, D (upper body) Eligible to return from IR whenever healthy, but no timetable given
Alex Petrovic, D (upper body) Has missed seven straight; no timetable
Mike Mottau, D (leg) Didn't play for a month and a half before being put on IR

Buffalo Sabres
Henrik Tallinder, D (upper body) Skating with the team
Cody McCormick, C (finger) Practicing without contact
Matt D'Agostini, RW (upper body) Out for "some time"
Kevin Porter, C (leg) Practicing with contact, so he's getting close

St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (illness) Sat out Monday
Maxim Lapierre, C (lower body) Traveling with the team, but no timetable

New Jersey Devils
Peter Harrold, D (foot) Cleared by doctors for a return to game action
Damien Brunner, RW (knee) Also cleared to play

New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov, G (quad) Won't return Tuesday
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (concussion) Back at practice Sunday
Travis Hamonic, D (concussion) Still symptomatic

New York Rangers
Derek Dorsett, RW (leg) Most likely out through Olympics

Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Ward, G (lower body) Not back to skating yet

Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, RW (hand) Will be reevaluated Tuesday
Zac Rinaldo, LW (ankle) Out through Olympics

Ottawa Senators
Mark Stone, RW (undisclosed) Left Monday's practice; won't go Tuesday

Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov, C (leg) Will join Caps when KHL season ends

Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D (concussion) Not traveling with the team on this road trip

Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Skille, RW (oblique) Back at practice Monday wearing a non-contact jersey
Jared Boll, RW (ankle) Out another 2-3 months yet
Marian Gaborik, RW (collarbone) Out of his sling, but not back on the ice yet
Blake Comeau, LW (knee) Out for 3-5 weeks yet, so probably back after Olympics

Minnesota Wild
Mikko Koivu, C (ankle) Off crutches and close to getting back on the ice
Zach Parise, LW (foot) A non-contact participant in Monday's practice
Josh Harding, G (illness) Still not feeling well as of Monday; someone get this guy some DayQuil
Niklas Backstrom, G (lower body) Out the next few days after receiving injection
Brett Bulmer, LW (ankle/knee) Out 5-7 weeks
Jared Spurgeon, D (foot) Skated on his own over weekend

Dallas Stars
Stephane Robidas, D (leg) Skating on his own

Toronto Maple Leafs
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) Seems to be feeling discouraged in his rehab; no timetable
David Clarkson, RW (elbow) Placed on IR; eligible to return this week, but no timetable
Trevor Smith, LW (hand) Skating, but not practicing with team yet
Frazer McLaren, LW (shoulder) Placed on IR; doesn't sound long-term

Colorado Avalanche
David Van der Gulik, RW (undisclosed) No clarity on injury or severity
Nate Guenin, D (ankle) Out another few days
Cory Sarich, D (back) Out indefinitely
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee) Good practice Monday, but won't return Tuesday
P.A. Parenteau, RW (knee) Expected to play Tuesday

Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, C (ribs/finger) Ending 679-game iron-man streak Tuesday
Andrew Alberts, D (head) On IR with probable concussion; no timetable
Mike Santorelli, C (arm) Didn't go Saturday; arm is in a sling, so seems likely to miss further time
Jordan Schroeder, C (ankle) On the ice for Monday's practice
Ryan Stanton, D (ankle) Practiced Monday

Edmonton Oilers
Curtis Hamilton, LW (knee) Out 4-5 more weeks
Nail Yakupov, RW (concussion) Skated on his own Monday
Philip Larsen, D (illness) Back at practice Monday
Corey Potter, D (groin) Still not ready; no word on return date
Ales Hemsky, RW (ankle) Skated Monday; might be fairly close to returning

Winnipeg Jets
Jim Slater, C (sports hernia) Progressing steadily, for what that's worth
Eric Tangradi, C (illness) Has missed three straight; last two may have been healthy scratches
Matt Halischuk, RW (forearm) Skating, but still a ways off
Grant Clitsome, D (back) Season-ending surgery
Paul Postma, D (leg) Practiced with contact Monday; nearing return
Evander Kane, LW (hand) Expected back Tuesday

Anaheim Ducks
Viktor Fasth, G (lower body) Still no updates; should be skating already
Luca Sbisa, D (hand) Back with the team after AHL conditioning trip
Sheldon Souray, D (wrist) Had season-ending surgery Friday


Joe Pavelski, C, SJ One of the league's top goal scorers all season long, Pavelski's been on another level over the last three games, scoring six goals two of them on the power play and adding an assist and a plus-4 rating. The Sharks as a team have scored 11 goals in those three games, which means Pavelski's been accounting for more than half their offense lately. And if you keep going back, so does his hot streak Pavs has scored a goal in 13 of his last 20 games, with 18 markers and five assists in that span. The 29-year-old's now pulling a point-per-game pace for the first time in his career.

Mark Letestu, C, CLM Now here's a name you wouldn't expect to find in this section, but Letestu has been on fire for the Jackets, finding the scoresheet in five consecutive games. He's tallied four goals and dished out a pair of assists in that span, and three of those six points have come on the power play despite the fact that he's only seeing second-unit minutes. His defensive responsibilities and lack of pedigree make it likely that Letestu will cool off, but there's no reason not to ride him while he's hot.

Brock Nelson, C, NYI It's been a slow rookie season for Nelson, but he's managed to turn up the heat over the last two weeks. The 22-year-old pivot has found twine in five of his last eight games, and he's being rewarded with more responsibility. Nelson skated 14:05, including 3:34 on the power play, in Monday's shootout win against the Flyers his highest ice time since Dec. 29 and most power-play time since way back on Nov. 16. The 2010 first-rounder has sky-high upside; he may not be in the recommended pickup section, but it's recommended you pick him up.


Jarome Iginla, RW, BOS Fantasy owners who waited out Iginla's slow start to the season reaped the benefits in December, when he went off for seven goals, 12 points and a plus-6 in 13 games, but he's hit the skids here again in January. Iginla's managed just two points in nine games so far this month and has been held off the scoresheet in six consecutive contests, going minus-5 in that span and not even contributing any penalty minutes. Despite that, he continues to log heavy minutes both at even strength and on the power play, so don't get too discouraged; Iggy may be 36 and a shadow of his former self, but he can still put the puck in the net.

Steve Downie, RW, PHI Downie's been a largely unmitigated disaster in his first campaign with Philadelphia, having mixed injury and ineffectiveness into an impressive waste of $2.6 million. He hasn't recorded a point since Dec. 17, a span of more than a month, and two recent healthy scratches have failed to kickstart his game; at least he's hitting a little more again, but he's taken one shot on goal in the last three contests combined. Yikes.

Dan Hamhuis, D, VAN There's no doubt that Hamhuis is a fine NHLer, a strong defender and a leader for the Canucks. These facts are beyond dispute. But the near-universally owned blueliner has been killing his fantasy owners this year, totaling just 14 points in 50 games, a horrendous pace that's more reflective of his offensive skill level than the last couple seasons, in which he piled up assists thanks to distributing the puck to the high-scoring Sedin twins. Hamhuis has just a single point (an assist) in nine games since the turn of the calendar, and those fantasy owners who still expect much more from him are going to be disappointed.

Recommended Pickup
Ryan Ellis, D, NAS Adjusting to the NHL has been rough for Ellis, who's been a depth defenseman when he's been in the lineup for Nashville over his first three seasons. Yes, he's undersized, and yeah, there are very real questions about whether he has the toughness to win those puck battles in the corners. But his offensive talent is without question. A 101-point scorer in 58 games in his final junior season as a defenseman! Ellis has all kinds of skills with the puck. Lately, they've finally started coming through -- he has two goals and three assists for five points over his last six games, and he's gone plus-2 in that span. Go back another game, and that grows to plus-5. While he's still seeing under 20 minutes per game, Ellis has enticing fantasy upside, while Seth Jones who's ahead of him on the depth chart for now has been a horrible disappointment as a rookie, particularly lately. There's potential for great reward here.