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The Daily Puck: Playing the Bongos

John Toperzer

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

December 8 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

Mark Recchi, who's available on many waiver wires, scored an overtime game-winner Tuesday. He ranks ninth all-time with 1597 NHL games played with seven different organizations. How many Western Conference teams has he played for? (answer at end of section)

Naming Sylvester Stallone to the boxing hall of fame would be like putting Manon Rheaume in the NHL hall of fame, only Manon is a lot prettier. At least Ms. Rheaume actually played hockey.

Gold might be trading at $1400 an ounce (U.S.) but fantasy hockey gold is trading in shares of Ryan Callahan. He leads the NHL with 137 hits, ranks second among forwards with 37 blocked shots, and has one less point than Evgeni Malkin (22 to 21).

Baseball Bob Costas doing voiceovers for the Winter Classic sounds weird. Then again, who are the go-to NHL guys at NBC?

Speaking of the Winter Classic, I hope the temporary ice rink doesn't ruin the Heinz Field turf. Actually, it'll probably be better than the sloggy, divot-ridden mud.

What makes Carey Price's showing even more impressive is that only Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller has seen more attempted shots than has Price (828 to 779). In other words, Price's 1.92 GAA and .936 save percentage are more heavily weighted than just about every other NHL netminder. By comparison, standout Tim Thomas has faced 616 shots, Marc-Andre Fleury, 510.

Indulge me for a second and click on the Alexander Semin vs. Marc Staal fight from January of 2009. Even if you've already seen it, it will make you laugh. Thanks to Puck Daddy for the glimpse back.

Trivia Answer: Mark Recchi has never played for a Western Conference organization since starting his NHL career in 1988-89.


Antti Niemi - Niemi's going to have to step up if the Sharks want to compete in the postseason. He's won two of three December starts (including a shutout) and looks ripe for an upturn in his performance.


Jeff Schultz - I actually rostered him in a deep league for his plus-minus capabilities, but he's safe to drop after breaking his thumb Monday. Schultz has five points (0, 5) with a plus-5 in 29 games and isn't expected back for at least a month.

P.K. Subban - A healthy scratch the last three games, Subban has three points in 14 games since October. Subban burst onto the NHL scene with eight points (1, 7) in 14 playoff contests last spring, but has found the going tougher since then. Certainly Darren Pang found the going rough, too.

Daniel Alfredsson - The Sens are struggling as a team and captain Alfie is pointless in his last eight.

Recommended Pickup

Antti Niemi - Few positions impact fantasy teams the way goalies do. If I'm right about Niemi -- and I know it's premature to suggest he's all the way back - he could pay big dividends for the acquiring poolie.

Probable Starting Goalies

San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 p.m.
Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson) vs. Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 p.m.
Nashville (Anders Lindback) at Detroit (Chris Osgood), 7:30 p.m.
Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) at Chicago (Corey Crawford), 8:30 p.m.
Anaheim (Curtis McElhinney) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10:00 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

San Jose vs. Philadelphia

San Jose

Kent Huskins - Questionable, day-to-day with undisclosed injury, missed Monday's game.
Devin Setoguchi - Questionable, hasn't played in Sharks' last two games.


Michael Leighton - Out, back healing but dealing with knee issue, too.
Matt Walker - Out, timetable to return from hip injury remains late December.
Daniel Carcillo - Out, close to returning from knee but Leighton will need spot when he returns.

Toronto vs. Pittsburgh


Dion Phaneuf - Out, could return from long absence as soon as Saturday.
Mike Brown - Out, broken finger will keep him sidelined until January.


Jordan Staal - Out, anticipate return from broken finger expected to be by Christmas.
Evgeni Malkin - Questionable, Pens might decide to give him another night off to rest knee.
Mike Comrie - Questionable, hasn't played in the last week due to lower body injury.

Nashville vs. Detroit


David Legwand - Probable, expected return Wednesday against Red Wings in first game since Nov. 18.
Matthew Lombardi - Out, concussion continues to sideline him indefinitely.
Pekka Rinne - Out, underwent knee surgery Friday that will likely keep him out 2-4 weeks.


Mike Modano - Out, hoping for a return in February.

Dallas vs. Chicago


Krys Barch - Out, placed on IR with lower body injury Saturday.
Mark Fistric - Out, expected to begin AHL rehab stint from groin injury Wednesday.


Marian Hossa - Out, lower body injury will likely keep him out another week or two.
Patrick Kane - Out, left leg injury will keep him out for next three weeks.
Fernando Pisano - Out, might return Saturday from upper body injury, check updates.

Anaheim vs. Vancouver


Teemu Selanne - Probable, skated Tuesday night despite groin injury and collected two points.
Aaron Varos - Questionable, missed time last week with flu, didn't play against Detroit on Tuesday.


Andrew Alberts - Questionable, missed Sunday's game with a bout of the flu.
Ryan Parent - Out, continuing long stint in the AHL while rehabbing from groin injury.
Mikael Samuelsson - Out, expected to miss at least a week after suffering concussion Sunday.
Guillaume Desbiens - Out, still out with broken right hand.
Rick Rypien - Out, away from team with personal problem for indefinite time period.
Sami Salo - Out, skated Monday but Achilles is expected to sideline him for weeks.


Radek Dvorak - placed on IR by the Panthers.
Jonas Andersson - forward recalled by Vancouver.
Joel Perrault - forward assigned by the Canucks to the AHL.
Olivier Ekman-Larsson - defenseman recalled by Coyotes. Again.

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