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The Daily Puck: Cold Front in Boston

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.

Around the Rink

Edmonton's Linus Omark made his NHL debut Friday night and tallied an assist before scoring five-hole on a shootout shot that included a spin-a-rama move at center ice. Injuries to the likes of Ales Hemsky have opened the door for the 23-year-old Swede. He had 26 points (13, 13) in 26 AHL games prior to his recall and potted 20 goals and 36 points in the KHL the previous season. The Oilers just need time for their youngsters to jell.

Never thought I'd be pimping a two-point night by Ilya Kovalchuk, but the well-paid winger has three points in his last three games.

Speaking of pimping, I'm wondering if the Humpty Hat has a future in the NHL. It's supposed to protect kids from head injuries while sled riding, but the preponderance of concussions in the league needs to be addressed in some manner.

Martin Brodeur allowed an embarrassing goal to Jarkko Ruuttu on Friday, but at long last he's back.

I'm really looking forward to the Winter Classic alumni game with Mario Lemieux home but after five or 10 minutes reality will set in and I'll be missing the speed of Sidney Crosby. I know Pittsburgh's side will feature Lemieux, Paul Coffey, etc. but who's going to play for Washington?

Fantasy hockey owners have two more weeks to pull off trade heists on concurrent fantasy football-hockey owners before fantasy football ends. Then those guys will start paying attention to the NHL.


Tomas Fleischmann – It's fun seeing one of your fantasy players re-energized after getting traded. Fleischmann's playing on Colorado's No. 1 line with Matt Hejduk and Matt Duchene. He netted his first goal with the Avs on Friday – a power-play score – and added an assist. I was offered Jeff Skinner straight up for Fleischmann in a non-keeper league but turned the deal down.

Taylor Hall – Rookies are the hardest players to project, but Hall has four goals in four games and 10, overall.

Jimmy Howard – Even though Howard lost two straight this past week, his overall record of 16-4-2 shows how well he and the Red Wings have played. Howard stopped 18 of 19 shots in the third period of Friday's 4-2 win over Montreal. Prior to the season there wasn't much difference between goalies like Howard and Antti Niemi, for example, but that's all changed now.


Marc Savard – One assist and seven shots in four games since his return. We all know how great he can be, but will he be that same player this season, and when?

Mike Green – Taking Green high in fantasy drafts seemed like a safe, smart move. So far, the Caps defender has five goals and 14 points in 25 games. What's going on here?

David Clarkson – Like shooting fish in a barrel, picking on a Devils player is probably unfair because the whole team's stunk. Still, Clarkson has one assist in his last six and seven points through 28 games. He also signed a three-year, $8 million deal in the offseason.

Recommended Pickup

Mark Giordano – This Calgary defenseman probably doesn't get enough credit, but he's got three goals and 16 points – including eight points on the power play -- in 30 games. He ranks second in the NHL with 79 blocked shots and 11th among blueliners with 64 shots on goal.

Probable Starting Goalies

Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 p.m.
Colorado (Craig Anderson) at Washington (Semyon Varlamov), 7 p.m.
Montreal (Carey Price) at Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson), 7 p.m.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Columbus (Steve Mason), 7 p.m.
Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec) at Islanders (Dwayne Roloson), 7 p.m.
Detroit (Chris Osgood) at New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7 p.m.
Dallas (Andrew Raycroft) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8 p.m.
Florida (Tomas Vokoun) at Nashville (Anders Lindback), 8 p.m.
Carolina (Justin Peters) at St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak), 8 p.m.
Chicago (Corey Crawford) at San Jose (Antti Niemi) , 10 p.m.
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay (Mike Smith) at Vancouver (Cory Schneider), 10:30 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Philadelphia vs. Boston

Michael Leighton – Out, nearly ready to return from long term back ailment, check updates.
Matt Walker – Out, assigned to AHL for rehab stint Friday. Team can keep him in minors for two weeks.

Marco Sturm – Out, he's no more than two weeks away from returning from knee injury.
Mark Stuart – Out, fractured ring finger expected to keep him out for about six weeks.

Colorado vs. Washington

Kyle Cumiskey – Out, hasn't skated since suffering concussion in October. No return timetable.
TJ Galiardi – Out, no recent updates but latest reports put him on schedule for a return in 7-10 days.
Peter Mueller – Out, concussion makes his return this season questionable, he's had no recent progress.
Chris Stewart – Out, look for a return from broken hand the second week of January.

Jeff Schultz – Out, not expected back from until mid January due to broken thumb.
Tyler Sloan – Out, not eligible to come off IR until Sunday.

Montreal vs. Toronto

Scott Gomez – Questionable, missed Friday's game and hasn't played this week.

Mike Brown – Out, will need another month before coming back from broken finger.
Mike Komisarek – Out, not expected back for a week due to finger injury.

Rangers vs. Columbus

Derek Boogaard – Out, apparently re-injured his shoulder sprain and won't play against Blue Jackets.
Steve Eminger – Questionable, day-to-day with hip injury.
Vaclav Prospal – Out, skated with team Thursday, but still not expected back until end of December.
Chris Drury – Out, team hoping for guidance on return date by Sunday or Monday.

Kristian Huselius – Out, ruled out for Saturday's game but will travel with team on three-game trip.

Atlanta vs. Islanders

Fredrick Modin – Out, he hasn't played in a month due to rib injury.

Bruno Gervais – Out, hasn't suited up in December after fracturing cheek in Movember.
Radek Martinek – Probable, took Zdeno Chara shot off arm and missed Friday's practice.
John Tavares – Probable, also took Chara shot – off elbow – but X-rays negative, like his current run.
Doug Weight – Out, hasn't played in December because of back woes.
Trent Hunter –Out, knee injury has him on IR for at least a couple months.
Mike Mottau – Out, eye injury has him about three weeks or so 20/20 days away from returning.
Kyle Okposo – Out, skating in full gear but no timetable, original prognosis called for late December.

Detroit vs. New Jersey

Brad Stuart – Probable, returned to action Friday and saw just over 20 minutes.
Mike Modano – Out, hoping for a return before season's end, but no guarantees.

New Jersey
Matt Taormina – Out, he's back skating but has no timetable, didn't play in Friday's loss.
Mark Fraser – Out, skating but has no timetable for return.
Anssi Salmela – Out, sent on AHL rehab Thursday for no more than two weeks.
Bryce Salvador – Out, still not playing after suffering concussion in November.
Jacob Josefson – Out, hasn't resumed skating since suffering hand injury in October.
Zach Parise – Out, looking for a return in late January or February from knee surgery.

Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo
Mike Comrie – Out, placed on IR on Friday with undisclosed after missing team's last seven games.
Jordan Staal – Out, continues to skate with broken hand in practice, out until late December.
Evgeni Malkin – Questionable, expected to take game-day skate Saturday but unlikely to go vs. Sabres.

Shaone Morrisonn – Out, will miss the next week with post-concussion symptoms.
Drew Stafford – Questionable, missed third straight game Thursday with shoulder injury.
Tim Connolly – Out, continues to miss time due to a groin injury, currently on IR.
Rob Niedermayer – Out, slow recovery from knee injury with no return date.

Dallas vs. Phoenix

Mark Fistric – Out, groin injury continues to keep him sidelined, missed Friday's game.
Kari Lehtonen – Out, missed Friday's game with Andrew Raycroft filling in well, also out Saturday.
Toby Petersen – Out, placed on IR Thursday, unable to play since getting hit by Mike Green slapper.

Brandon Gormley – Out, team's first round pick in 2010 expected to miss 4-6 weeks with knee injury.

Florida vs. Nashville

Bryan Allen – Questionable, could return Saturday after missing Thursday with foot.
Chris Higgins – Out, suffering from staph infection in foot, could possibly return next Wednesday.
Cory Stillman – Out, back spasms have sidelined the vet since Nov. 27.
Radek Dvorak – Out, placed on injured reserve last week with shoulder injury.
Rostislav Olesz – Out, hasn't played since November due to finger injury, currently on IR.

Pekka Rinne – Out, still 1-3 weeks away, no truth to the rumor that Lindback has Wally Pipped him.
Martin Erat – Questionable, left Wednesday's game after taking stick to face, check updates.
David Legwand – Probable, also left Wednesday but is expected to go Saturday.
Matthew Lombardi – Out, still no word when and if Lombardi might return from concussion.

Carolina vs. St. Louis

No reported injuries.

St. Louis
David Perron – Out, no timetable for return from concussion.
Andy McDonald – Out, also missing indefinite time from ravages of concussion.
T.J. Oshie – Out, one month into three month minimum rehab from broken ankle.
Roman Polak – Out, stickhandling but still out until January as severed wrist tendon recovers.

Chicago vs. San Jose

Jassen Cullimore – Out, will traveling with team to San Jose but missed practice Friday.
Fernando Pisani – Out, won't travel with team to San Jose because of upper body injury.
Marian Hossa – Out, could return to the lineup from lower body injury next week.
Patrick Kane – Out, likely to miss a minimum of two more weeks with leg ailment.

San Jose
Kent Huskins – Out, hasn't played since Nov. 27 with undisclosed injury.
Devin Setoguchi – Out, Sharks reluctant to say what's caused his injury or slump.

Minnesota vs. Los Angeles

Matt Cullen – Questionable, considered doubtful Saturday but still receiving treatment, check updates.
John Madden – Questionable, didn't practice Friday and likely won't go against the Kings.
Greg Zanon – Questionable, day-to- day with arm injury and could suit up Saturday night.

Los Angeles
Brad Richardson – Questionable, unlikely to play due to upper body injury.
Willie Mitchell – Out, could return from broken wrist as soon as Monday.

Tampa Bay vs. Vancouver

Tampa Bay
Mattias Ritola – Out, battling an inner ear issue that could jeopardize his season, if not career.
Steve Downie – Out, 2-3 weeks away from returning with high ankle sprain.
Vincent Lecavalier – Out, he's now three weeks out from hand surgery, yet no timetable's been given.

Christian Erhoff – Questionable, missed practice Friday after taking shot off ear. Erhoff, off-ear, get it?
Mikael Samuelsson – Questionable, suffered mild concussion Sunday but could return Saturday.
Guillame Desbiens – Questionable, hopes to return either Saturday or Sunday for Canucks.
Cody Hodgson – Out, expected to miss a month after breaking cheekbone in AHL game.
Mason Raymond – Out, broken thumb puts him in the "week to week" category.
Sami Salo – Out, skating but has no timetable for a return from Achilles injury.


Dustin Jeffrey – recalled by Pittsburgh from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Nikita Filatov – sent to Springfield of the AHL.
Tom Sestito – recalled by Columbus from AHL Springfield.
Oscar Moller – recalled by Los Angeles from AHL Manchester.
Ryan Parent – recalled by Vancouver from AHL Manitoba.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot – recalled by Tampa Bay from AHL Norfolk.
Brian Fahey – recalled by Washington from AHL Hershey.
Aaron Voros – placed on IR by Anaheim.
Dan Sexton – recalled by Anaheim from AHL Syracuse.

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