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The Daily Puck: Malkin's Return

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.

December 15 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup Tuesday and muffed the Pens chances of winning by taking an ill-advised third-period penalty. He scored two goals after slumping with one in his last nine games prior missing four games with a knee injury. The two power-play markers doubled season totals on the man advantage, from two to four. He skated with Sidney Crosby at even strength, but it was his work on the power play that proved impressive. After the game he said he was tired, but that his knee was okay.

The Flyers scratched Nikolai Zherdev Saturday in favor of Daniel Carcillo. Despite making some bonehead passing tries Tuesday against Pittsburgh, he netted his 10th goal by basically undressing Brooks Orpik. His time in Philly might be borrowed but the NHL is more fun to watch 82 nights a season with creativity like Zherdev's.    

I made a conscious effort not to take Evgeni Nabokov in the RotoWire Staff League, but now I wish I had. He's 37 and stunk it up in San Jose, but Nabokov has always been money in the regular season. Darn.  

I went to and registered to vote, did you? I also typed-in Kris Letang (I found out that you can't use all capital letters, or the program spits your vote). When I was a kid, Steve Garvey won the All-Star MVP in Pittsburgh as a write-in. I could've gone to that game but decided to play "run-down" instead. Anyways, can Letang win the All-Star MVP, too? That would be cool.  

NHL Network analysts Larry Murphy and Craig Button oozed Sidney Crosby compliment after compliment regarding his Tuesday performance, but I didn't see it. I saw Crosby get rubbed out behind the net by Jeff Carter and No. 87 finishing the game with no shots. Button talked of how Crosby was "outstanding" and instrumental on Malkin's two goals, but his second assist was just a pass along the boards that went to Kris Letang, who set Malkin up. Crosby's the best, but I can see how some folks think that the praise goes overboard occasionally.

Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Jeremy Roenick are going to appear on a TV game-show Dec. 20, but Canadiens fans already know that the Price is right.

Don't forget to watch or record the Pens-Caps HBO show Wednesday night. I ended my HBO subscription with the Sopranos final episode.


Jonathan Quick - 51-save shutouts against the Red Wings in Detroit don't come along every day. I asked myself if maybe Quick has peaked, but there's absolutely no reason to think this way.

Jarome Iginla - With two goals Monday, Iginla now has 29 points (15, 14) in 31 games. Iginla's not going to be a 100-point player (actually he never was), but reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Patric Hornqvist - He might not be as flashy as some other stars in other markets, but he's playing well now. The Preds' defensive corps is also healthy, making Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and even Cody Franson valuable.


Brian Rolston - New Jersey placed him on waivers Tuesday. The 37-year-old forward could conceivably land in a better place (are there currently worse ones?), but it looks like his extended run of 55-70 point seasons is getting further and further away in the rear view mirror.

John Tavares - Two goals, six points and a minus-14 rating in his last 19 games. Is he hurt? If so, why not bench him. It's not like the Islanders are going anywhere and he's the face of the franchise, isn't he?

Recommended Pickup

Matt Duchene - The Colorado forward has 30 (11, 19) in 30 and won't turn 20 until Jan. 16.

Projected Goalie Starters

Boston (Tim Thomas) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7:00 p.m.
Anaheim (Jonas Hiller) at Washington (Michal Neuvirth), 7:00 p.m.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 p.m.
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7:00 p.m.
Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 p.m.
Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec) at Tampa Bay (Daniel Ellis), 7:30 p.m.
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Florida (Tomas Vokoun), 7:30 p.m.
San Jose (Antero Niittymaki)  at Nashville (Anders Lindback), 8:00 p.m.
Colorado (Craig Anerson) at Chicago (Marty Turco), 8:30 p.m.
Columbus (Mathieu Garon) at Vancouver (Roberto Longo), 10:00 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Boston vs. Buffalo


Mark Stuart - Out, rehabbing from a broken finger.
Tyler Seguin - Questionable, missed Saturday's game with the flu.


Rob Niedermayer - Probable, could return from knee injury Wednesday.
Drew Stafford - Probable, participated fully in practice this week and looks like a go.
Tom Connolly - Probable, expected to come back from groin injury Wednesday.
Shaone Morrisonn - Out, not close to coming back from concussion.

Anaheim vs. Washington


Saku Koivu - Questionable, missed Sunday's tilt with the flu.
Todd Marchant - Questionable, left Saturday's game after getting hit in face w/puck, status unknown.
Teemu Selanne - Questionable, missed Sunday with groin injury again, check updates.
Aaron Voros - Out, fractured orbital bone to keep him sidelined for three weeks.


Mike Green - Questionable, missed Sunday's game with the flu, check updates.
Marcus Johansson - Questionable, missed Tuesday's practice with the flu.
Alexander Ovechkin - Questionable, took shot to knee Sunday and missed time, check updates.
Alexander Semin - Questionable, undisclosed injury with undisclosed status, another check.
Jeff Schultz - Out, broken thumb to keep him out for a month or so.
Tyler Sloan - Questionable, hip/groin kept him out Sunday, eligible to come off IR whenever ready.

Rangers vs. Pittsburgh


Derek Boogaard - Out, missed both weekend games with shoulder sprain.
Steve Eminger - Probable, returned Sunday from hip injury.
Vaclav Prospal - Out, skating and looking for a late December return from knee injury.
Chris Drury - Probable, expected to play after missing last 29 games with broken finger.


Mike Comrie - Out, lower-body injury expected to keep him out for a while.
Jordan Staal - Out, no news last couple days after a flurry of rumors and unconfirmed reports last week.
Chris Kunitz - Questionable, missed Tuesday's tilt with an undisclosed injury though he practiced.

Phoenix vs. New Jersey


No reported injuries.

New Jersey

Matt Taormina - Questionable, skating but has yet to return from ankle injury.
Mark Fraser - Out, skating but still no firm timetable.
Anssi Salmela - Probable, expected to make his season debut Wednesday.
Zach Parise - Out, recently had knee brace removed, on pace for a February return.

Philadelphia vs. Montreal


Michael Leighton - Questionable, could return this week from back injury.
Jody Shelley - Out, serving second game of two-game suspension Wednesday.
Matt Walker - Out, hip surgery will cost him the next month, at least.


Scott Gomez - Questionable, thought to be on track to return Wednesday, but not certain.
Jaroslav Spacek - Out, returned to practice but is looking for a Thursday return.

St. Louis vs. Detroit

St. Louis

David Perron - Out, remains on IR with concussion for foreseeable future.
Andy McDonald - Out, another concussion knocks a St. Louis forward out indefinitely.
T.J. Oshie - Out, believes he'll be back before season's end with ankle injury.


Mike Modano - Out, hoping for a return before playoffs start.

Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay


No reported injuries.

Tampa Bay

Mattias Ritola - Out, inner ear problem has him wondering if he'll ever play again.
Steve Downie - Out, still 2-3 weeks away with a high ankle sprain.
Vincent Lecavalier - Out, looking to return by the end of next week following hand surgery.

Carolina vs. Florida


Jay Harrison - Out, not on two-game road trip that starts Wednesday with upper body injury.


Bryan Allen - Questionable, able to skate Sunday and could return Wednesday.
Radek Dvorak - Out, on IR with shoulder injury.
Rostislav Olesz - Out, returned to practice but coach hasn't said when he might return.
Cory Stillman - Out, suffering from cracked bone in back with no timetable. Ouch.

San Jose vs. Nashville

San Jose

Kent Huskins - Questionable, missed Monday's game with undisclosed injury.
Douglas Murray - Out, expected to skate Wednesday but lower body will reportedly keep him out.
Devin Setoguchi - Out, undisclosed injury has kept him out since Nov. 26.


Sergei Kostitsyn - Questionable, hurt foot in last game but should be able to play.
David Legwand - Out, missed Monday's game following setback to lower body.
Pekka Rinne - Out, looking at 1-3 more weeks as Anders Lindback records two straight shutouts.

Colorado vs. Chicago


Milan Hejduk - Questionable, missed Monday's game with groin injury, check updates.
Kyle Quincey - Out, wearing shoulder sling and some reports have him needing surgery.
Kyle Cumiskey - Out, hasn't skated since suffering concussion at the end of October.
T.J. Galiardi - Out, cleared for full practices and shouldn't miss much further time.
Chris Stewart - Out, broken hand has him missing another 2-4 weeks.
David Van der Gulik - Questionable, cleared to play after missing more than a month of action.  


Dave Bolland - Questionable, missed Monday's game with an upper body injury.
Fernando Pisani - Questionable, missed last two games and probably won't go Wednesday, either.
Patrick Kane - Out, could resume skating this week with a return not far away thereafter.

Columbus vs. Vancouver


Kristian Huselius - Probable, expected to return Wednesday from ankle injury.
Derek MacKenzie - Questionable, might return Wednesday but is more likely to play Thursday.


Christian Ehrhoff - Questionable, missed Sunday with concussion and doesn't appear likely Wednesday.
Mason Raymond - Out, considered "week to week" with broken thumb.
Sami Salo - Out, Achilles rehab put him at late Dec. return but no recent news.


Brian Rolston - Placed on waivers by New Jersey.
Jeremy Morin - Assigned to AHL Rockford by Chicago.
Ryan Potulny - Assigned to AHL Rockford by Chicago.
Guillaume Desbiens - Assigned to AHL Manitoba by Vancouver.
Bryan Rodney - Recalled by Carolina from AHL Charlotte.

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