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The Daily Puck: Injured Stars 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 29 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

Tuesday saw stars like Patrick Kane, Ales Hemsky and Ilya Bryzgalov return to action. Milan Hejduk came back Monday. Activate these guys as soon as possible. Arron Asham came back Tuesday night, too, but he might be watching his share of games from the press box when Jordan Staal returns.

Speaking of Jordan Staal, we should know sometime Wednesday whether he'll be activated for tonight's game on Long Island. He had X-rays taken Tuesday evening and could return against the Islanders.

Patrick Hornqvist went 0-for-14 on shots Tuesday night. 0-for-14!!!

Marek Svatos scored 32 goals and 50 points in 61 games during his rookie season of 2005-06. Since then his career has been on a decidedly downward trajectory. The injury plagued St. Louis Blues inked him to a two-year deal away from the KHL. Unfortunately, his numbers across the ocean - three goals and eight points in 19 games -- weren't too different than his last couple years in Colorado.

You know you're a greedy fantasy owner when you get upset over a late goal allowed by Marc-Andre Fleury. The Flower gave up a score with less than four minutes remaining in a 6-3 blowout Tuesday. Shouldn't you just be happy with his 16-2-1 streak? Especially after lots of fantasy owners and pundits felt he was overrated and not fantasy worthy. 

I'm beginning to wonder what's left for HBO's 24/7. In the first weekly show we found out Washington coach Bruce Boudreau swears a lot, the second show reinforced Boudreau's penchant for potty-mouthed pep-talks. What's left?

Don't rule the Capitals out of a Cup run based upon their lackluster December. Pittsburgh wasn't even a top eight Eastern Conference team in January 2009, the season it won the Cup.

Jonathan Toews left Tuesday's game against St. Louis with an upper body injury. Fingers crossed.      


Sidney Crosby - Many don't like Crosby, many call him a whiner, some think Pittsburgh gets all of the calls because him. Whatever. You've got to love the way he plays hockey. He's good for the game. The NHL would be a lesser league without him. Crosby extended his point streak to 25 games (26, 24) with two goals and two assists against the Thrashers on Tuesday.

Henrik Zetterberg - Hank has 17 points in 14 December contests and has stepped his game up even more recently, with three goals and eight points in four games, making up for the loss of Pavel Datsyuk.

Daniel Ellis - He holds a 4-1-1 mark in his last six, though he suffered a 4-3 loss Tuesday on a late Mark Recchi goal. Ellis continues to start with Mike Smith out.


Zdeno Chara - "If it aint broke, then don't fix it" probably applies to the Bruins, who are currently first in the Northeast division. Chara leads the team with 110 shots, but he has just four goals and 14 points in 35 games. That's only one point more than Dennis Seidenberg (no offense to him). Chara has a nice plus-14, but he has only six power-play points - the same number as Seidenberg (no offense). Chara's on a pace for what, 32 or 33 points?

Jiri Hudler - Healthy scratches aside, Hudler has eight points (2, 6) in 31 games. If everyone else on the Wings gets hurt, will Hudler finally find a way to shake his doldrums?

Brian Campbell - One goal and 11 points in 25 games. Two points on the power play. Isn't Campbell supposed to be an offensive defenseman? Brent Seabrook has better offensive rates than Campbell.      

Recommended Pickup

Jordan Staal - Staal could come back as soon as Wednesday after missing the entire 2010-11 campaign. If those in your league have fallen asleep at the wheel, go get Staal now.

Mark Streit - Streit's original timetable for a return suggests that he might be back in February. Teams with an extra roster spot might want to make Streit a speculative pickup. Hopefully we'll get news on his timetable shortly, but February isn't far off.

Matt Gilroy - Gilroy has two goals and an assist in his last two games after being a healthy scratch for most of December. Deep fantasy leaguers might want to ride Gilroy while he's hot as a short-term pickup.

Probable Starting Goalies

Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Islanders (Dwayne Roloson), 7:00 p.m.
Carolina (Justin Peters) at Ottawa (Brian Elliott), 7:30 p.m.
San Jose (Antero Niittymaki) at Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom), 8:00 p.m.
Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at Dallas (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 9:00 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Rangers vs. New Jersey

Derek Boogaard - Out, went to doctor Tuesday for evaluation and possible timeline for return.
Michael Del Zotto - Out, given a medical shot in the groin for relief but ruled out Wednesday.
Vaclav Prospal - Out, completed practice for first time Monday and schedule may move up.
Ryan Callahan - Out, four to six weeks away from returning from a broken hand.

New Jersey
Matt Taormina - Out, no timetable for return from ankle after suffering setback two weeks ago.
Mark Fraser - Out, he's expected back Friday after missing months with hand injury.
Zach Parise - Out, timetable pushed back and he might not come back at all in 2010-11.
Bryce Salvador - Out, could miss entire season with concussion.
Jacob Josefson - Out, looking to return to practice after visiting doctor in early January.

Pittsburgh vs. Islanders

Jordan Staal - Questionable, awaiting X-rays taken late Tuesday - could return as soon as Wednesday.
Brent Johnson - Questionable, Fleury needs a break, but Johnson says he needs a few practices.
Mike Comrie - Out, no recent news on his hip injury that may require surgery.
Eric Godard - Out, recovering from Matt Carkner punch to eye Monday.  

Radek Martinek - Questionable, day-to-day with wrist that's forced him out last three games.
Trent Hunter - Out, on IR with knee sprain for indefinite time period.
Mike Mottau - Out, may miss rest of season with hip injury.
Kyle Okposo - Out, no recent news on Okposo's timetable.
Doug Weight - Out, on IR with cranky back with no timetable.
Mark Streit - Out, no recent news but was thought to return perhaps as soon as February.  

Carolina vs. Ottawa

Jiri Tlusty - Questionable, missed last four games but return isn't thought to be far off.

Pascal Leclaire - Out, not expected to return from lower body until Jan. 7 or so.
Jason Spezza - Out, shoulder injury will sideline him for at least six weeks.

San Jose vs. Minnesota

San Jose
Dany Heatley - Questionable, flying with team to Minnesota on Wednesday, but check status.
John McCarthy - Questionable, day-to-day with with upper body injury that's kept him out last four.
Torrey Mitchell - Out, didn't fly with Sharks to Minnesota due to lower body. 

Guillaume Latendresse - Out, unsure of a 2010-11 return.
James Sheppard - Out, also unsure of 2010-11 return.

Detroit vs. Dallas

Brian Rafalski - Questionable, day-to-day with bumps and bruises, check updates.
Mike Modano - Out, could return in mid-March from wrist injury.
Daniel Cleary - Out, broken ankle expected to keep him out until mid-February or so.
Pavel Datsyuk - Out, out 4-6 weeks even though Yahoo! fantasy hasn't placed him on IR.

Niklas Grossman - Questionable, missed Sunday and then Tuesday with illness.
Tom Wandell - Questionable, also missed Stars' last two games with illness.

Los Angeles vs. Phoenix

Los Angeles
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Questionable, missed Monday's game with lower-body injury.
Willie Mitchell - Out, has missed Kings' last six games with lower-body injury.

Radim Vrbata - Questionable, practiced but didn't play against Anaheim on Tuesday.
Taylor Pyatt - Out, placed on IR with eye/face injury.


Brian Rolston - Placed on re-entry waivers by New Jersey.
Patrice Cormier - Recalled from AHL by Atlanta for Tuesday's game. Didn't make much of any impression against the Penguins but we know there's more to him.
Tim Stapleton - Assigned to AHL Chicago by Atlanta.
Keith Aucoin - Recalled from AHL by Washington.
Jared Spurgeon - Assigned to AHL Houston by Minnesota.
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