RotoWire Partners

The Daily Puck: Happy New Year

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.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Around the Rink

-- While watching a 2008 Winter Classic replay Friday, Eddie Olczyk said that the normal temperature for an indoor hockey arena is 62 degrees.

-- Having Jordan Staal come back for Saturday's game makes perfect sense. Not only would it incite the 70,000 crowd at Heinz Field, but it'd also put a charge in Staal's teammates.

-- Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa has been bouncing around waiver wires all season. If he gets traded, then his fantasy value likely gets a bump up with increased playing time and an increased role. Of course, he'd have plenty of value with the Canucks if a couple blueliners went on the shelf.

-- Kudos to the NHL Network for its historical segments on Howie Morenz and others. Hockey's history is underrated and not very well known, especially in the United States.

-- Twenty-year-old Tomas Tatar scored his first NHL goal for Detroit on Friday. He's probably up only long enough for a taste in the league, but the Wings have a way of working young players from across the pond into viable fantasy sources.

-- Canucks goalie Cory Schneider is 6-0-2, with a 2.38 GAA and save percentage of .923. Think how valuable he'd be if Roberto Luongo got hurt.


Steve Ott – He's collected 58 penalty minutes in December, with no more than 12 PIMs in any game. Now that's consistency. He also picked up three goals and eight points in 16 games.

John Tavares – New York is 6-1-1 since Tavares snapped a five-game pointless streak that had more than a few observers questioning his worth. In the Isles' last seven, the centerman has 10 points (3, 7).

Shane Doan – Cast aside and onto waiver wires earlier in the season, Doan registered 16 points (8, 8) in 14 December contests.

James Wisniewski – He scored two goals, including the game-winner Friday, and also assisted on a third score. He finished with four hits, four blocked shots and six shots on goal. Think he's happy with in Montreal?

Steve Mason – The battered goalie has three wins in the last five days. Some suggested a trip to the AHL would be the best career move for the 22-year-old. Maybe not.


Kevin Shattenkirk – No points in his last six games. The whole team has cooled off with 13 goals during that span, but it's always good to keep a closer eye on rookie offensive defensemen.

Justin Braun – Speaking of rookie offensive defensemen, the Sharks sent him back to the AHL after the health of their blue line improved. Braun collected nine points (1,8) in 14 NHL contests prior to his demotion.

Recommended Pickup

Cedrick Desjardins – The Tampa Bay goalie is as speculative as a Texas oil patch, but he beat the Canadiens on Thursday and will get another start New Year's Day.

Probable Starting Goalies

Boston (Tuukka Rask) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7 p.m.
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7 p.m.
Toronto (Jonas Gustavsson) at Ottawa (Brian Elliott), 7 p.m.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Tampa Bay (Cedrick Desjardins), 7:30 p.m.
Washington (Semyon Varlamov) at Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 8 p.m.
San Jose (Antero Niittymaki) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 9 p.m.
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) at Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin), 10 p.m.

Rotowire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Boston vs. Buffalo

Gregory Campbell – Questionable, missed Thursday's game due to illness.
Mark Stuart – Out, still out since injuring finger in a game against Buffalo on Dec. 7.

Patrick Kaleta – Out, not expected to play Saturday because of a “minor” upper body injury.
Tim Connolly – Probable, has returned to practice after suffering facial injury two weeks ago.
Derek Roy – Out, will miss 4-6 months after tearing a quad.

New Jersey vs. Carolina

New Jersey
Matt Taormina – Out, hasn't played since injuring ankle back in mid November.
Colin White – Questionable, missed Friday's win due to illness, not expected to play Saturday.
Mark Fraser – Out, sent to AHL Albany as part of a rehab stint Thursday.
Zach Parise – Out, knee surgery has him out at least until March.
Bryce Salvador – Out, could be shut down remainder of season due to concussion.
Jacob Josefson – Out, will meet with doctors Monday to see if he can return to practice.


Jussi Jokinen – Out, will miss Saturday's game with lower body injury.
Joni Pitkanen – Out, will Saturday with upper body injury and is day-to-day.
Jiri Tlusty – Questionable, missed Wednesday's shutout win with upper body injury, check updates.

Toronto vs. Ottawa

Jean-Sebastien Giguere – Out, continues to miss time with a groin injury.
Mike Brown – Out, four weeks into a 4-6 week prognosis after breaking a finger.

Pascal Leclaire – Out, not expected back from lower-body injury until second week of January.
Jason Spezza – Out, looking at more than six weeks before coming back from shoulder injury.

Rangers at Tampa Bay

Derek Boogaard – Out, missing time with a concussion.
Michael Del Zotto – Questionable, day-to-day with a groin injury.
Vaclav Prospal – Out, his timetable always changes, but he'll be back sometime in January, we think.
Ryan Callahan – Out, won't be back from hand injury until February.
Erik Christensen – Out, will miss 4-6 weeks with sprained right knee.

Tampa Bay
Steve Downie – Out, could come back from high ankle sprain within the next week.
Mike Smith – Out, knee sprain likely to keep him out for another week or so.

Washington vs. Pittsburgh

Marcus Johansson – Questionable, day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Mathieu Perreault – Probable, broken nose not expected to interfere with his Winter Classic experience.
Tomi Poti – Questionable, has returned to practice, check updates.
Matt Bradley – Out, recently underwent surgery to mend broken finger.
Boyd Gordon – Out, foot infection continues to keep him out of action.

Eric Godard – Out, placed on injured reserve with broken nose.
Brent Johnson – Probable, back in reserve role after missing time with groin and flu past week.
Jordan Staal – Probable, game-time decision that would make big splash with Winter Classic debut.
Mike Comrie – Out, not expected back until April, at the earliest, following hip surgery.

San Jose vs. Los Angeles

San Jose
Torrey Mitchell – Questionable, missed this week's action so far with lower body injury.
Joe Pavelski – Questionable, could return for Saturday's contest, check updates.
John McCarthy – Out, placed on IR recently with no listed timetable.

Los Angeles
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Questionable, didn't play Thursday with lower-body injury.
Willie Mitchell – Questionable, also missed Thursday's 7-4 loss to Philly, “week-to-week.”

Calgary vs. Edmonton

Steve Staios – Out, has missed the last month with rib injury.

Shawn Horcoff – Out, not expected back until after All-Star game, though's he skating now.
Ryan Whitney – Out, expected to miss a minimum of a month with ankle injury, possibly more.


Steve Reinprecht – Placed on waivers by Florida.
David Desharnais – Recalled by Montreal from AHL Hamilton.
Jim O'Brien – Recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamton.
Linus Omark – Sent to AHL Oklahoma City by Edmonton.
Brett Maclean – Sent to AHL San Antonio by Phoenix.
Ryan Parent – Sent to AHL Manitoba by Vancouver.

Follow me at