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The Daily Puck: Bieksa Heating Up

George Kurtz

George Kurtz writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Projected Goalie Starters
Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) at Washington (Semyon Varlamov), 7:00 PM
Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at Columbus (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Calgary (Erik Karlsson) at Ottawa (Brian Elliott), 7:30 PM
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson), 7:30 PM
Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:30 PM
Colorado (Craig Anderson) at Minnesota (Anton Khudobin), 8:00 PM

Injuries for Teams Playing Friday

Day-to-Day (Includes DL players close to returning)
Sami Salo (D) Vancouver – (Achilles) Practicing with the team, close to a return, doubtful for Friday.
Alexander Semin (W) Washington -- (Thigh) Unlikely to play this weekend.
Tom Poti (D) Washington -- (Undisclosed) Out until next week.
Steve Mason (G) Columbus – (Groin) Expected to start Friday.
Alexei Kovalev (W) Ottawa – (Knee) Not expected to play until next week.
Pascal Leclaire (G) Ottawa – (Lower body) Out until next week.
Evander Kane (C) Atlanta – (Mid-body) Questionable to play Friday.
Chris Stewart (W) Colorado -- (Hand) Cleared to play Friday.
Niklas Backstrom (G) Minnesota (Hip) Out until next week.
Jose Theodore (G) Minnesota (Hip) Out for Friday.

Long Term or IR
Pavel Datsyuk (C) Detroit – (Hand) Placed on short term IR, out another 2-4 weeks.
Chris Osgood (G) Detroit – (Groin) Surgery, out 6-8 weeks.
Brad Stuart (D) Detroit – (Jaw) Out 5-7 weeks.
Mike Smith (G) Tampa Bay – (Knee) Practicing again, could return sometime late next week.
Chris Pronger (D) Philadelphia – (Knee) Medically cleared to practice, will return next week.
Peter Mueller (C) Colorado – (Concussion) Making progress but still no definitive timetable for his return.


Greg Mauldin (C) Colorado – Placed on waivers.
Mikhail Stefanovich (W) Dallas –Acquired from Toronto.
Fabian Brunnstrom (W) Toronto – Acquired from Dallas.
Patrick O’Sullivan (C) Minnesota – Placed on waivers.
Anssi Salmela (D) New Jersey –Placed on waivers.
Matt Walker (D) Philadelphia –Activated off the IR.
Mikkel Boedker (W) Phoenix – Recalled from the AHL.
Dustin Jeffrey (C) Pittsburgh –Re-assigned to the AHL.
Andrew Desjardins (C) San Jose – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Brian Willsie (W) Washington – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Rhett Rakhshani (C) Islanders – Placed on IR.
Torrey Mitchell (C) San Jose – Placed on IR.
Philip Larsen (D) Dallas – Re-assigned to the AHL.
Jonas Andersson (W) Vancouver – Placed on waivers.


John Tavares (C) Islanders – Let’s give a little love to New York’s other team as the Islanders have been playing better of late and so has Tavares. In his last seven games he has five goals and nine points and has been playing like the player the Isles thought he was when they drafted him first overall in 2010. Tavares will never be the play that Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin is, but 30-35 goals a season should be a realistic goal for the sniper.

Jonas Hiller (G) Anaheim – Those who were worried that Hiller wouldn’t be able to handle the full-time load for the Ducks can rest easy as he may be the biggest reason as to why the Ducks are in the playoff hunt. Fantasy owners may have shied away from Hiller at draft time because of the retirement of defenseman Scott Niedermayer and the trade of James Wisniewski, leaving the Ducks with less than an impressive front. But you can jump back on his bandwagon as he has had a great season with 22 wins to go along with a 2.43 GAA and 92.7 SV%. With five wins in his last six games, Hiller is showing no signs of slowing down.


Logan Couture (C) San Jose– Even before Couture suffered his knee injury versus Toronto on Tuesday he was already in a slump with only one point in his last six games. He is still considered day to day with the injury but even if it’s not serious, an injury like this could eliminate that quick burst Couture had earlier this season and make it even more difficult for him to rediscover his scoring touch.

Craig Anderson (G) Colorado – Anderson just hasn’t been the same goalie he was last season, and his mediocre play this campaign is starting to throw more games Peter Budaj’s way. The Avalanche still want Anderson to start as Budaj is not seen as anything more than a backup goalie, but they also have to put the goalie in net that gives them the best chance to win, and right now that seems to come down to a coin flip each game.

Recommended Pickup

Kevin Bieksa (D) Vancouver – Bieksa is another player that may have been forgotten about at draft time. He had a breakout season in 2008-09, but regressed last season as injuries took their toll. This season a slow start may have landed Bieksa on the waiver wire in many leagues, and if he is still there you may want to go and get him, as he has been on fire lately with three goals and seven points in his last eight games, not bad for a third or fourth defenseman.