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The Daily Puck: On Pace

John Toperzer

John has written for since 2003 and serves as the beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Heís worked for the Pirates for 17 years, written for the Penguinsí Web site as the first game-day editor, and rooted for the Steelers dating back to the Immaculate Reception.

November 24 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

- Ilya Bryzgalov improved to 5-0-2 in his last seven Tuesday, stopping 23 shots for his first shutout of the year. Phoenix moves into first place in the Pacific division with the victory.

- Steven Stamkos has 20 goals in 21 games. Can he get to 50 in 50? I'm putting the over/under at 38 goals through 50 games. Having Martin St. Louis setting him up doesn't hurt, though. Speaking of 50/50, can you name the five NHL players to score 50 goals in their team's first 50 games? Answer at the end of section.

- If somebody has the definite pronunciation of Wojtek Wolski handy, please let me know what it is.

- Mario Lemieux used to train in the summer by holding back the ketchup on his French fries.

- Determining when the phrase "on pace for" actually means something can be the difference between winning and losing a fantasy championship.

- Hearing about Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin whooping it up after Monday's game isn't unlike NFL players kibitzing on the field after a game. I don't particularly like it, but I think MLB players hanging out during batting practice before games are worse.

- Speaking of Ovechkin, he's falling behind Sidney Crosby (35 points) and Steven Stamkos (35) in the scoring race. It's never too early to start keeping track of the Art Ross race. Ovechkin has 26 points.

- Maurice Richard, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull all accomplished the 50 in 50 feat (in that chronological order).     


Rick Nash - He's got a six-game goal streak that includes nine goals, and 13 points (10, 3) during a nine-game point streak. Not coincidentally, the Blue Jackets are 7-2 in the month of November.


Scott Gomez - What will it take to get Gomez going? He has two goals and six points through 21 games, and one of those goals came courtesy of one of Marc-Andre Fleury's worst puck-stopping displays of the season.

Michael Del Zotto - He's got six points (2, 4) in 22 games, and if he's not putting points up then he's not worth starting, as his plus-minus is a negative. Fellow sophomore defenseman Tyler Myers has recovered from his slow start, can Del Zotto?     

Brent Johnson - Actually, Johnson is suffering from a cold. Even worse, his playing time has fallen off a cliff since Fleury remembered how to stop pucks. Playing time puts him on the cold list, not performance.

Erik Johnson - One measly goal and five points in 19 games. Much more is expected of the youngster, based on his preseason draft slot. Last year Johnson totaled 39 points in 79 contests. Last time I put him on the cold list he scored, so perhaps lightning can strike twice.

Recommended Pickup

Martin Havlat - He's no sleeper but his play resembles 2008-09 more than last year, as he's got 17 points in 19 games. Havlat's scored three goals and 11 points during a six-game point streak during November. The perfect buy-low rebound player.

Projected Starting Goalies

Pittsburgh (Brent Johnson) at Buffalo (Patrick Lalime), 7:00 p.m.
Washington (Semyon Varlamov) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 p.m.
Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00 p.m.
Columbus (Mathieu Garon) at Islanders (Dwayne Roloson), 7:00 p.m.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Tampa Bay (Mike Smith), 7:30 p.m.
Dallas (Andrew Raycroft) at Ottawa (Pascal Leclaire), 7:30 p.m.
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) at New Jersey (Johan Hedberg), 7:30 p.m.
Los Angeles (Jonathan Bernier) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7:30 p.m.
Boston (Tim Thomas) at Florida (Tomas Vokoun), 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Nashville (Pekka RInne), 8:00 p.m.
Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Minnesota (Nicklas Backstrom), 8:00 p.m.
Colorado (Craig Anderson) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10:00 p.m.
Chicago (Marty Turco) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30, p.m.

Rotowire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo


Evgeni Malkin - Probable, missed Tuesday's practice with maintenance day but will likely play.
Chris Kunitz -- Probable, missed Tuesday's practice, too, but is expected to play against the Sabres.
Jordan Staal - Out, looking to return sometime in mid-December.
Brent Johnson - Probable, will start Wednesday if healthy, as he was supposed to go on Monday night.      


Tim Connolly - Out, supposedly got hurt in skirmish with teammate. Groin or disciplinary? Both?
Ryan Miller - Out, he'll miss yet another game due to a nagging groin injury.
Drew Stafford - Out, has missed the last two weeks with an upper body injury.
Rob Niedermayer - Out, will miss an indefinite amount of time after undergoing knee surgery Monday.

Washington vs. Carolina


Mike Green - Questionable, left Monday's game with undisclosed injury w/no further updates.
Mike Knuble - Questionable, missed Monday's game and wouldn't be surprised to see him sit Weds.
Michal Neuvirth - Questionable, late scratch Monday, could lose bulk of starts if Varlamov impresses.
Tom Poti - Questionable, has played just five times this year because of a groin injury.
Tyler Sloan - Questionable, left Monday's game with undisclosed injury, check updates.

Carolina - No injuries reported.

Detroit vs. Atlanta


Chris Osgood - Out, expected to return to practice Friday with a groin injury that doesn't get better.
Kris Draper - Out, practicing but not yet playing because of a groin injury.


Bryan Little - Questionable, will be re-evaluated prior to Wednesday's game for general soreness.
Fredrik Modin - Questionable, day-to-day though he hasn't played since Nov. 13.

Columbus vs. Islanders


Derek Dorsett - Probable, played more than 14 minutes in Monday's game.
Derek MacKenzie - Probable, played just over 10 minutes in Monday's shutout victory.
Marc Methot - Out, will not play Wednesday after blocking shot with chest Monday.
Anton Stralman - Probable, battling illness but saw more than 25 minutes of TOI Monday.
Kristian Huselius - Out, missing an indefinite amount of time with ankle injury.
Ethan Moreau - Out, getting closer to making his debut following broken hand.


Jack Hillen - Out, cleared to skate after sitting out with concussion but no timetable for return.
Mike Mottau - Out, will need recovery time from eye injury.
Doug Weight - Questionable, has missed the last two games with back spasms.
Kyle Okposo - Out, wonder what he's thinking about as he continues to rehab for Isles.
Milan Jurcina - Out, hasn't played since Nov. 1, supposed to be out 2-4 weeks.
Andrew MacDonald - Out, skating but no timetable for return.
Mark Streit - Out, would fantasy value go up or down if he was traded to team with better defensemen?

Rangers vs. Tampa Bay


Michal Rozsival - Out, expected to make return Friday from shoulder strain.
Vaclav Prospal - Out, still looking at a mid-December return from knee surgery.
Chris Drury - Out, a CT scan will determine when he returns, something scheduled in next couple days.

Tampa Bay

Simon Gagne - Questionable, "might" return Wednesday against the Rangers.
Matt Smaby - Out, on IR with ankle injury.
Vincent Lecavalier - Out, timetable from broken hand is 3-4 weeks right now.

Dallas vs. Ottawa


James Neal - Probable, missed Tuesday's practice to rest leg but thinks he'll be good Wednesday.


Erik Karlsson - Questionable, didn't play Monday due to illness, check for updates.
Brian Lee - Out, has missed time with neck injury, didn't play Monday.
Chris Neil - Probable, missed practice Tuesday but believes he'll be able to go Wednesday.

Calgary vs. New Jersey


Robyn Regehr - Questionable, missed Monday's game but could return Wednesday.
Matt Stajan - Questionable, not likely to play Wednesday after missing Tuesday's skate.
Raitis Ivanans - Out, traveling with team but not yet cleared to play.
Olli Jokinen - Probable, eligible to return from suspension Wednesday, Iginla didn't miss him.

New Jersey

Jamie Langenbrunner - Out, has missed last five games with neck injury.
Olivier Magnan-Grenier - Out, hasn't played in nearly two weeks, wait until he's back before activating.
Matt Taormina - Questionable, didn't play in big 5-0 win over Washington on Monday.
Mark Fraser - Out, has missed the last month with hand injury.
Anssi Salmela - Out, hoping for an early December return.
Martin Brodeur - Out, not expected back until the beginning of December, at the earliest.
Jacob Josefson - Out, three weeks into a 6-8 weeks prognosis before returning.
Zach Parise - Out, long-term IR not expected back until playoff stretch drive, will Devils be there?

Los Angeles vs. Montreal

Los Angeles

Willie Mitchell - Out, two weeks into a 4-6 week recovery time for a fractured wrist.
Scott Parse - Out, won't be back before February with a hip injury.
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Out, two weeks into a four-week recovery estimate for broken finger.


Andre Markov - Out, no timetable for return from another knee injury.

Boston vs. Florida


Marc Savard - Out, cleared for contact after passing neuro-psych test, good news.


Jay Harrison - Questionable, day-to-day with lower body, possibly re-tweaked groin injury.
Steve Reinprecht - Out, still in the NHL, still dealing with groin injury.
Steve Bernier - Out, one week into estimated three-week recovery period.
Byron Bitz - Out, weeks away after undergoing sports hernia surgery on Oct. 20.
Rostislav Olesz - Out, not expected back until mid-December after breaking finger. 
Bryan Allen - Out, sustained lower-body injury versus Pittsburgh on Monday.

St. Louis vs. Nashville

St. Louis

David Perron - Out, no timetable for return from concussion, still not skating.
Roman Polak - Out, skated Friday but not expected back until January.
T.J. Oshie - Out, looking at a February return from broken ankle.
Barret Jackman - Probable, coming back from nine-game absence with knee injury.


David Legwand - Probable, expected back Wednesday after missing Monday with minor ailment.
Ryan Suter - Probable, missed Monday but could play Wednesday, check updates.
Matthew Lombardi - Out, so far he's played two games since signing three-year, $10.5 million deal.

Philadelphia vs. Minnesota


Michael Leighton - Out, getting closer but no recent updates on his back.
Matt Walker - Out, not expected back until late December.
Daniel Carcillo - Out, one week into estimated two-week absence with MCL sprain.


Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Out, no timetable for return from concussion.
Josh Harding - Out, no word on how his knee rehab is going, but he's out for an extended time period.
Chuck Kobasew - Out, hasn't played since Nov. 2 with a groin injury.
Guillaume Latendresse - Out, fantasy owners will have to catch lightning in a bottle elsewhere this year.

Colorado vs. Vancouver


Kyle Cumiskey - Out, on injured reserve with concussion since end of October.
TJ Galiardi - Out, will miss another three weeks following wrist surgery.
Peter Mueller - Out, hoping for a return this season, but when and where remains question.


Keith Ballard - Questionable, missed both weekend games with flu, check updates.
Roberto Luongo - Questionable, probable after getting hit by Sam Lepisto's stick blade Sunday.
Ryan Parent - Out, still not playing with sore groin, but is that part of being a healthy scratch?
Alexandre Bolduc - Out, could return in early December with ankle injury.
Guillame Desbiens - Out, out indefinitely with broken hand suffered in fight.
Sami Salo - Out, not expected back from torn Achilles until after Christmas.

Chicago vs. San Jose

Chicago - No reported injuries.

San Jose

Jason Demers - Out, will miss Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury.
Douglas Murray - Probable, expected back after missing Sharks' last four games.


Patrick O'Sullivan - claimed by Wild on waivers from Carolina.
Jake Muzzin - assigned to AHL by Los Angeles.
Alec Martinez - recalled by Los Angeles.
Olivier Ekman-Larsson - recalled by Phoenix and had an assist in 19-plus minutes Tuesday.
Travis Hamonic - defenseman recalled by Islanders.
Josh Green - assigned to AHL by Anaheim.
Peter Schaefer - placed on waivers by Vancouver.
Ryan Carter - traded by Anaheim to Carolina in exchange for Stefan Chaput and Matt Kennedy.   

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