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The Daily Puck: The Sydney Crosby Mystery

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

-- Is Vancouver the best team in the NHL? With more depth than any team, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are two of the most recent players to come alive for the Canucks. The team leads the NHL with 59 points.

-- The Stars went back to the future by acquiring Jamie Langenbrunner. It sounds like he put down roots in New Jersey, buying a house, but the Devils simply aren't going anywhere. Langenbrunner won a Cup with Dallas in 1999. He's played in the NHL for 16 years, nearly half of his life, at age 35. The Stars need a healthy defenseman more than a winger.

-- There's been much debate over when Sidney Crosby first got a concussion. Some say it was in the Winter Classic, while others believe it was Wednesday courtesy of a Victor Hedman hit. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer Dave Molinari has been adamant that it couldn't have happened against Washington because the team didn't send him for testing immediately thereafter. Watching replays, I don't see how Mr. Molinari could rule out Crosby injuring himself on the Steckel hit. Sometimes concussions don't play out for several days and are realized following altitude shifts, such as the Pens' flight to Montreal. Here's to hoping Crosby fully recovers before resuming play, whether it's one week or one month.

-- Toronto scored nine goals Friday night. Remember Clarke MacArthur, the early season fantasy darling everyone had an opinion about? He scored two goals and added an assist, giving him five goals in his last 29 games. Mikhael Grabovski, on the other hand, has compiled 12 goals and 16 points in his last 14.

-- How excited are you about the All-Star game? I might turn the channel after I see who Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin pick. If you're Crosby, do you pick Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang first?
Patrice Cormier scored his first NHL goal Friday night. He has zero penalty minutes in his six games.

-- Will Yahoo! give Pavel Datsyuk fantasy owners relief by giving him the IR designation before he comes back from injury? Datsyuk hasn't played since Dec. 22.

Who's Hot

Corey Schneider – The Vancouver netminder is now 8-0-2. Is he riding the Canucks' coattails or are the coattails riding him? There's no better daily league pickup.

Cal Clutterbuck – Poolies using hits as a category know how valuable he is, but 12 goals? Where is that coming from? The goals are a bonus and yet they keep coming.

Patric Hornqvist – Since taking 14 shots in a game on Dec. 28, the Nashville forward has scored five goals and seven points in four games.

Alex Goligoski – Four points Wednesday night and a first unit power-play spot. The absence of Sidney Crosby actually expands Goligoski's role on the man advantage.

Who's Cold

Jonas Gustavsson – Rookie Kevin Reimer's won two of three starts while the Monster has gone 6-12-2 with a 3.13 GAA and save percentage under nine (.896).

Anton Stralman – Nine paltry assists in 32 games, no goals and a minus-6 rating. The Blue Jackets are thought to be searching the market for defensemen.

Recommended Pickup

Marc-Andre Bergeron – He becomes active in Yahoo! leagues Saturday. He doesn't cost anything more than cutting the last player on fantasy teams, making him a decent gamble to produce for the Lightning.

Projected Starting Goalies

New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Philadelphia (Brian Boucher), 1 p.m.
Islanders (Kevin Poulin) at Colorado (Craig Anderson), 3 p.m.
Boston (Tim Thomas) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson) at Ottawa (Brian Elliott), 7 p.m.
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7 p.m.
Florida (Scott Clemmensen) at Washington (Semyon Varlamov), 7 p.m.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at St. Louis (Ty Conklin), 8 p.m.
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 8 p.m.
Buffalo (Ryan Miller) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8 p.m.
Detroit Jimmy Howard) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10 p.m.
Columbus (Mathieu Garon) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

New Jersey
Mattias Tedenby – Probable, missed Thursday's game with soreness but could return Saturday.

Nikolay Zherdev – Questionable, did not play Thursday because of lower body injury, check updates.

Islanders vs. Colorado

Rick DiPietro – Out, flew back to New York for evaluation of groin injury.
Frans Nielsen – Questionable, missed Thursday with a groin injury, could be out Saturday, too.
Radek Martinek – Questionable, has missed the last week on with wrist, but eligible to come off IR.
Doug Weight – Out, skated with team Thursday but still on IR with back issues.
Mark Eaton – Out, will miss indefinite amount of time with hip requiring surgery.

Cody McLeod – Questionable, missed Thursday's game with groin injury.
Paul Stastny – Probable, returned to action Thursday, saw 20:00-plus TOI despite illness.
Kyle Cumiskey – Out, cleared for full contact, has missed since Oct. due to concussion.
Peter Mueller – Out, has made minor progress lately but is still out indefinitely.
Chris Stewart – Out, stickhandled and skated with teammates Thursday but has no timetable for hand.

Boston vs. Montreal

Mark Stuart – Out, skated Friday but has no timetable for return.

Roman Hamrlik – Probable, skated Friday and is expected to play Saturday.
Josh Gorges – Out, will undergo season-ending knee surgery.

Tampa Bay vs. Ottawa

Tampa Bay
Mike Smith – Out, has returned to practice and has taken shots in practice past few days.

Pascal Leclaire – Questionable, was unable to play Friday because of lower-body injury.

Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh

Niklas Backstrom – Questionable, may not play over the weekend due to groin.
Antti Miettinen – Questionable, did not play Thursday because of leg injury.

Sidney Crosby – Out, expected to miss at least the next week with concussion.
Matt Cooke – Questionable, missed Thursday's game due to personal reasons.

Florida vs. Washington

Florida – No recent injuries.
Alexander Ovechkin – Probable, recently got a cortisone shot but not expected to miss time.

Rangers vs. St. Louis

Ruslan Fedotenko – Probable, has returned from hand injury, scored goal Friday night.
Brandon Prust – Probable, played on Friday after coming back from shoulder injury.
Michal Rozsival – Questionable, missed Friday but could return Saturday, check updates.

St. Louis
T.J. Oshie – Out, still missing time with ankle but nearing return, traveling with team.

Nashville vs. San Jose

Nick Spaling – Out, will miss Saturday's game with upper-body injury.
Martin Erat – Out, hoping to return Jan. 11 from upper-body injury.

San Jose
John McCarthy – Out, still a ways off from returning with an upper-body injury.

Buffalo vs. Phoenix

Patrick Kaleta – Out, won't play Saturday due to a hand/wrist injury.

Kyle Turris – Questionable, didn't play Thursday due to upper body.
Ilya Bryzgalov – Questionable, missed Thursday with family emergency, check updates.

Detroit vs. Vancouver

Valtteri Fiippula – Questionable, missed Friday with groin injury.
Brad Stuart – Out, on receiving end of broken jaw Tom Koustopoulos hit Friday.

No recent injury news.

Columbus vs. Los Angeles

Ethan Moreau – Out, placed on IR with bruised ribs, eligible to return Jan. 14.

Los Angeles
Willie Mitchell – Probable, expected to play Saturday following lower-body injury.


Robin Lehner – Recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamtom on emergency basis.
Matt Climie – Sent to AHL San Antonio by Phoeni.
Jeremy Colliton – Recalled by Islanders from AHL Bridgeport.
Nick Leddy – Recalled by Chicago from AHL Rockford.
T.J. Hensick – Recalled by St. Louis from AHL Peoria.
Adam Cracknell – Sent to AHL Peoria by St. Louis.
Jon Matsumoto – Recalled by Carolina from AHL Charlotte.
Jiri Tlusty – Placed on IR by Carolina with upper body injury.