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The Daily Puck: The Fury

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.

January 26 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

Happy 50th birthday, Wayne Gretzky! Here's to 50 more.

Congratulations to Rotowire's own Janet Eagleson for winning fantasy hockey writer of the year. Janet should win an award just for putting up with the crazy reader comments from her Friday articles on Yahoo! (her articles are posted here on Rotowire, too).

How wimpy does it sound that Evgeni Malkin will miss the All-Star Game because of a sinus infection. Let's call a spade a spade and say it's so that Geno can rest his knee.

Speaking of wimpy, Marc-Andre Fleury's nickname "the Flower" needs to go. How about the "the Fury?" I guess the Flower's better than "The Jerusalem toodle-oo-poosey, poosley-loo."

The Rangers' Brian Boyle leads the NHL in goals by someone nobody thought was any good, with 18. Teammate MZA, listed only as Mats Zuccarello on Yahoo!, might be worth a pickup. After a three-assist night Tuesday, the 5-foot-7, 174-pounder has 11 points in 17 NHL contests.

"Gonchar shoots and scores!" Sergei's slapper from above the right circle Tuesday was just his 21st point in 50 games. Here's hoping the post break is kinder and gentler to the classy and overpaid blueliner.

If you're looking to kill an hour or 10 over the next week without any NHL hockey, take a look at the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. It's actually pretty interesting.

Why am I so glad I didn't waste a waiver claim on Evgeni Nabokov? And how classless was it for Nabby to hang up on GM Garth Snow. And how spiteful was it for the Islanders to make it public knowledge. Someone better read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

Eric Staal and Nick Lidstrom will be picking All-Star teams Friday. I'm going to change my last overall pick from David Backes to replacement Martin Havlat. Passing on an injury replacement player can be easy to justify.

Who's Hot

Alexander Edler - The Vancouver defender already has 17 power-play points, needing just four more to tie his career season-best of 21. Edler is a good weapon on a great team, making for the perfect fantasy combination.

Who's Not

Erik Karlsson - I don't think I've ever seen a more prodigious string of consecutive minus-ratings than Karlsson's in the month of January. He's a minus-14 in his last 13 games, alone. Wish I'd noticed that a little sooner.
Brian Elliott - He's lost 11 straight starts. Fortunately I did notice his woes and cut the cord on him weeks ago. It will be interesting to see what Ottawa does at the deadline, which is February 28, 3:00 p.m. Est.
Deryk Engelland - No fights in January - last skirmish was Dec. 20 - and isn't playing every game. Defensemen who fight are more valuable than forwards who fight, but he's just not doing much of anything anymore.
Evgeny Dadonov - Hot when he came up, not so much anymore. Dady's scored two goals and one assist in his last 14 despite seeing mid-teens TOI on a nightly basis.

Recommended Pickup

Brandon Prust - He has the 12th most penalty minutes (106) in the league, 19 points (7, 12), and a plus-5 rating. Furthermore, Prust qualifies at the always tough Yahoo! left winger spot.

Probable Starting Goalies

Florida (Scott Clemmensen) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 p.m.
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Islanders (Ryan Poulin), 7:00 p.m.
Washington (Braden Holtby) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00 p.m.
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 p.m.
Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin) at Dallas (Kari Lehtonen), 7:30 p.m.
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Colorado (Craig Anderson), 9:00 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 10:00 p.m.
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10:00 p.m.
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Florida vs. Boston
Florida - No recently-reported injury news.

Marc Savard - Out, listed with "moderate" concussion, whatever that really means is anyone's guess.

Carolina vs. Islanders

Carolina - No recently-reported injury news.

Evgeni Nabokov - Out, suspended for hanging up on GM Garth Snow's phone call (and not reporting).
Mark Streit - Out, he's back skating and still might return sometime before season's end.

Washington vs. Atlanta

Michal Neuvirth - Out, not expected back until after the break.
Alexander Semin - Out, also not expected back before the All-Star Game.
Matt Bradley - Questionable, he skated Monday but coach Boudreau isn't counting on him ‘til February.
Tom Poti - Out, will miss Wednesday with an undisclosed injury.

Evander Kane - Out, has been ruled out of Wednesday's game against Washington.
Andrew Ladd - Questionable, missed practice Tuesday, not likely to play until after break.
Chris Mason - Questionable, team may play it safe with his knee and keep him out.
Tobias Enstrom - Out, expected to miss 2-4 weeks with fractured finger.

New Jersey vs. Detroit

New Jersey
Nick Palmieri - Questionable, skated Monday after suffering upper-body injury last week.
Vladimir Zharkov - Questionable, didn't skate Monday with illness but still hopes to play Wednesday.
Colin White - Out, results of Monday MRI not yet known but he's out for a while, regardless.

Jan Mursak - Questionable, missed Tuesday's practice with flu but is expected to play Wednesday.
Daniel Cleary - Out, completed first practice Tuesday and should return right after break.
Pavel Datsyuk - Out, returned to practice Monday and hope to return in early February.
Tomas Holmstrom - Out, hopes to practice Wednesday and is targeting a return shortly after Datsyuk.

Edmonton vs. Dallas

Jordan Eberle - Out, looking to return from ankle injury shortly after break.
Ales Hemsky - Out, took part in physical activity Tuesday but has no timetable for a return.

Jamie Benn - Questionable, left Monday's game with an undisclosed injury.
Toby Petersen - Questionable, battling leg injury and is day-to-day.
Tom Wandell - Questionable, left Monday with undisclosed ailment, status unknown.

Phoenix vs. Colorado

Ed Jovanovski - Probable, was able to play 21-plus minutes Tuesday night.
Derek Morris - Probable, also played Tuesday after sitting out Saturday.
Michal Rozsival - Questionable, missed Tuesday with lower-body injury.

Ryan O'Reilly - Out, skated Saturday with Peter Forsberg and is targeting a return shortly after break.

St. Louis vs. Calgary

St. Louis
Barret Jackman - Questionable, missed Monday's game with lower-body injury.
Andy McDonald - Out, skated before practice Monday with extra-padded helmet.
Vladimir Tarasenko - Out, suffered season-ending shoulder injury.

Calgary - No recently-reported injuries.

Nashville vs. Vancouver

J.P. Dumont - Questionable, expected to play Wednesday, according to coach Trotz.
Marek Svatos - Out, underwent knee surgery that will keep him out 2-4 weeks.

Andrew Alberts - Out, looking to return shortly after All-Star break.
Aaron Rome - Out, also looking to return right after break.

San Jose vs. Los Angeles

San Jose
Antero Niittymaki - Out, should be back after break following groin injury.
Scott Nichol - Out, suspended for four games and is eligible to return Feb. 2.

Los Angeles
Marco Sturm - Out, could come back shortly after break, check for updates.


Aaron Gagnon & Travis Morin - recalled by Dallas from AHL Texas.
Francis Wathier - assigned by Dallas to AHL Texas.
Evgeni Nabokov - suspended by the Islanders for not reporting to team.
Mike Brodeur - recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamton.
Alex Stalock - recalled by San Jose from AHL.

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