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Monday Daily Puck: Wanted: Right Winger For Sidney Crosby

John Toperzer

John Toperzer

John Toperzer writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Around The Rink

This is my last Daily Puck before the Olympics. Here’s wishing no one gets hurt – on the ice or off of it.

Nothing will top the Americans winning gold in 1980. I can still remember watching the U.S. beat the Soviets and then Finland for the gold. My buddy would pretend he was goalie Jim Craig and I would be Mark Johnson, wristing tennis balls past him.

My second-favorite Olympic moment was seeing Mario Lemieux help Team Canada win gold in 2002. By that point, Mario had lost some of his other-worldly skill but was still able to keep up with Canada’s best. Olympic Gold was the last great piece of hardware missing from Lemieux’s player mantel.

Interestingly, the current Pittsburgh Penguins have squared off against Olympic goalies in their last four games. The Pens were blanked by the Stars’ Kari Lehtonen (Finland), then blanked Ryan Miller (United States), beat Jonathan Quick (U.S), and fell to an impressive Mike Smith (Canada) on Saturday.

A key position to track on Pittsburgh’s roster is the right winger for Sidney Crosby. The team lost Pascal Dupuis for the season in December and has had a tough time finding a player to replace him. Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna, Joe Vitale, Tanner Glass, Brandon Sutter, Chuck Kobasew and Craig Adams are among the many who’ve auditioned for the prime fantasy spot.

The injured Beau Bennett is expected to return in late February and could get a crack after the Olympics. That said, Bennett will have only three games to prove he’s worthy before the trade deadline passes. Pittsburgh could also make another big trade splash, landing a Jordan Eberle or Logan Couture. More likely, the team will land a rental such as Matt Moulson or Brad Boyes.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Edmonton Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Buffalo Sabres (Jhonas Enroth), 7:00 PM
Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Vancouver Canucks (Roberto Luongo) at Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:30 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Anaheim Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 PM
Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Monday

Edmonton Oilers
Philip Larsen, D - Larsen (illness) was placed back on injured reserve on Friday, Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun reports. (1/31/2014)
Curtis Hamilton, LW - Hamilton will miss 5-6 weeks with a knee injury, Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED reports. (1/13/2014)
Jeff Petry, D - Petry is day-to-day after taking a shot off his foot during Saturday's game. (2/2/2014)

Buffalo Sabres
Matt Moulson, LW - Moulson is dealing with an upper-body injury and will likely be out through the Olympic Break. (1/31/2014)
Patrick Kaleta, RW - Kaleta suffered a torn right ACL during Friday's game with AHL Rochester, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports. He will miss the rest of the season. (11/30/2013)
Mike Zigomanis, C - Zigomanis was sent to the AHL Toronto Marlies on Sunday. (9/25/2011)
Cody McCormick, C - McCormick (finger) said Tuesday that he probably won't return until after the Olympic break, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports. (1/28/2014)
Drew Stafford, RW - Stafford was placed on the IR with an upper-body injury Thursday afternoon. (1/30/2014)

Ottawa Senators
Mark Stone, RW - Stone (undisclosed) skated on his own Monday morning, Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen reports. (1/27/2014)
Chris Phillips, D - Phillips sat out Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets with an undisclosed injury, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reports. (1/29/2014)

Pittsburgh Penguins
Tomas Vokoun, G - Vokoun (pelvis) faced shots during Tuesday's practice, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (1/29/2014)
Pascal Dupuis, RW - Dupuis (knee) will undergo his ACL surgery on Feb. 12, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/20/2014)
Kris Letang, D - Letang (illness) is not on the ice for Saturday's pregame warmup and it looks like he'll miss the contest against the Coyotes as expected, according to Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (2/1/2014)
Chris Conner, RW - Conner underwent successful hand surgery Saturday. (1/4/2014)
Joe Vitale, C - Vitale (wrist) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/14/2014)
Beau Bennett, RW - Bennett (wrist) skated on his own Wednesday morning, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/22/2014)
Zach Sill, RW - Sill sustained an undisclosed injury with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over the weekend, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. (1/27/2014)

Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, C - Sedin (ribs) was a full participant in Sunday's practice, Craig Custance of ESPN.com reports. (2/2/2014)
Andrew Alberts, D - Alberts (head) has been placed on IR. (1/7/2014)
Kevin Bieksa, D - Bieksa (undisclosed) will not travel with the Canucks for their upcoming five-game road trip, Sporstnet's Dan Murphy reports. (1/30/2014)
Yannick Weber, D - Weber (undisclosed) did not return after the first intermission of Friday's game against the Jets. (1/31/2014)
Mike Santorelli, C - Santorelli (shoulder) has undergone season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum, Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun reports. (1/30/2014)
Chris Tanev, D - Tanev (thumb) was placed on injured reserve Thursday. (1/30/2014)
Hunter Shinkaruk, C - Shinkaruk will require major hip surgery and miss the rest of the WHL season, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/27/2013)

Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen, C - Franzen (concussion) will not play for Team Sweden in the upcoming Winter Olympics, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports. (1/30/2014)
Stephen Weiss, C - Weiss (sports hernia) skated with the team at Thursday's practice, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. (1/30/2014)
Pavel Datsyuk, C - The Wings will respect Datsyuk's (lower body) decision to play in the Olympics even though he is unable to play for them right now, reports the Toronto Sun. "Am I worried?" said Wings general manager Ken Holland. "Of course, I’m worried. But I understand what an opportunity this is for every Russian and every other player. Pavel has a decision to make and I understand that it’s his decision and I respect that its his decision." (2/1/2014)

Colorado Avalanche
Paul Stastny, C - Stastny (ankle) will not play Saturday against the Sabres, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. (2/1/2014)
Cory Sarich, D - Sarich (back) has been ruled out indefinitely. (1/16/2014)
Alex Tanguay, LW - Tanguay (knee) will not play Saturday against the Sabres, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. (2/1/2014)
David Van der Gulik, RW - Van der Gulik (undisclosed) has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 10. (1/13/2014)

New Jersey Devils
Anton Volchenkov, D - Volchenkov (lower body) will skate Monday morning to see if he can play against the Avalanche, the Bergen Record reports. (2/2/2014)
Peter Harrold, D - Harrold (foot) said he is "good to go" Monday against Colorado, if needed, the Bergen Record reports. (2/2/2014)

Columbus Blue Jackets
Blake Comeau, LW - Comeau (knee) will not play Thursday vs. the Capitals, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. (1/30/2014)
Jared Boll, RW - Boll (ankle) resumed skating Friday. (2/1/2014)
Marian Gaborik, RW - Gaborik (broken collarbone) will not return before the Olympics and may not be able to play for Slovakia in Sochi, NHL.com reports. (2/1/2014)

Anaheim Ducks
Mark Fistric, D - Fistric (lower body) won't be available for Monday's game against Columbus, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (2/2/2014)
Nick Bonino, C - Bonino (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (2/1/2014)
Viktor Fasth, G - Fasth (lower body) was able to work out on the ice Monday morning, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (1/27/2014)
Stefan Noesen, C - Noesen is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. (10/14/2013)
Sheldon Souray, D - Souray, who has yet to play in 2013-14, will have season-ending wrist surgery Friday, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports. (1/16/2014)

Chicago Blackhawks
Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin had successful surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will miss four-to-five months, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports. (1/7/2014)
Brad Mills, C - Mills (lower body) was waived by the Blackhawks on Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. (11/15/2013)

Los Angeles Kings
Alec Martinez, D - Martinez (elbow) skated Friday but still hasn't returned to practice and may not return before the Olympic break, the LA Kings Insider reports. (2/1/2014)

Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger, D - Flyers GM Paul Holmgren openly acknowledged Tuesday that Pronger's career is over due to his concussion issues, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "I'll say it; Chris is never going to play again," Holmgren said. "I have no problems saying it." (10/15/2013)
Kimmo Timonen, D - Timonen (foot) is questionable for Monday's game against the Sharks, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. (2/2/2014)

San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW - Torres (knee) said there was "maybe" a possibility he could play before the Olympic break, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. (1/28/2014)
Adam Burish, RW - Burish will undergo back surgery in the coming days and is out indefinitely, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports. (10/16/2013)
Logan Couture, C - The Sharks are now saying that they don't expect Couture (hand) to return from injured reserve before the Winter Olympic break, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. (2/1/2014)
Tyler Kennedy, LW - Kennedy (undisclosed) is questionable for Monday's game against the Flyers, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. (2/2/2014)
Jason Demers, D - Demers (lower body) will not play Monday against the Flyers, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports. (2/2/2014)
Tomas Hertl, C - Coach Todd McLellan said Sunday that Hertl (knee) is in the "infant stages" of his rehab, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports. (1/27/2014)

Hot

Tyler Ennis: If plus-minus is part of your league’s counting categories, than perhaps it might be prudent to tread lightly with this recommendation. Otherwise, kick the Zamboni tires on Ennis. The Buffalo center has four goals and 12 points in his last 13 games. He also holds an even plus-minus rating over that span, but there are no guarantees with the Sabres except that they’re bad.

Alexander Edler: This might be more hope than substance on my part with Edler, but the Vancouver defender did pot his first power-play goal of the year Saturday. If you believe his numbers will move closer to his career norms than they are now, Edler makes for a good pickup.

Cold

Paul Martin: The Penguins said they would work Martin slowly back into key spots since he returned from a broken leg. They haven’t lied. Martin has one point in those seven games and isn’t seeing top power-play time. He better find his game soon or he won’t have much use for Team USA in the Olympics.

Hampus Lindholm: Of course Lindholm is a wonderful prospect on a great team, but he has one assist in his last eight games. Right now Lindholm’s biggest fantasy category is likely his plus-25 rating. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t keep using him if that’s all you’re looking for; just treat any points as an added bonus.

Brent Seabrook: The Chicago blueliner has three points in his last 13 games. He’s another player who features a strong plus-minus rating (plus-22). Prior to his January slump, Seabrook totaled 31 points in 44 games, so the fall-off is notable.

James Neal: Fantasy owners have to hope Neal finds out he’s on my cold list and starts scoring goals again. It’s been eight long games and more than 28 minutes of power-play time since he hit the back of the net. The winger is still contributing with assists, but fantasy owners expect goals. Neal hadn’t gone more than three games without scoring prior to his current slide.

Dan Boyle: The 37-year-old defender has fallen out of the Sharks’ top-ten scoring list. Perhaps he’s slumping because he’s in the middle of working out a contract extension. Whatever the case, Boyle has tallied one assist in his last 10 games.

Recommended Pickup

Beau Bennett: Bennett, who is expected to return right after the Olympics, has the speed and skill to keep up with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Pittsburgh coach, Dan Bylsma, has said in the past he wants Bennett to pair with Crosby. Bennett is available in a good number of leagues. He's worth taking a chance on, especially considering the likely low acquisition cost.

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