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The Daily Puck: The Daily Puck Jinx

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.

February 2 Daily Puck
by John Toperzer, RotoWire Writer

Around the Rink

Welcome back everyone. What have we learned in the last week? Successful NHL All-Star games are possible - ratings were up 33 percent over the last one, even with guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk out. We also learned that Jeffrey Skinner of the home-hosting Carolina Hurricanes is Justin Bieber-like popular, while Toronto's Phil Kessel is not.

Noted concussion specialist Mike Milbury spoke during intermission of Tuesday's Rangers-Penguins game on Versus. "Head gears have nothing to do with concussions, you can have the best head gear. It's the rattling around. Head gears got nothing to do with it, mouth guards have nothing to do with it. It's the sort of twist of the neck and the head that gets your brain rattling around to scramble ..."

Andrew Brunette played in 1000th NHL game Tuesday. He's got 250 goals and 688 points in a career that's been mostly anonymous to the casual hockey fan. Not bad for a seventh-round, Washington Capitals pick in the 1993 draft. Where will Brunette go at the deadline?

Raise your hand if you were selfish to worry about losing St. Louis and Colorado fantasy stats on Tuesday instead of worrying about peoples' lives in a blizzard. Me too.

The Los Angeles Kings started a 10-game, 23-day road trip Tuesday night, a schedule that includes three back-to-back contests. Jonathan Bernier played well in a 1-0 shootout loss to Minnesota on Tuesday and could be in line for more starts on the trip. Not that starting a rookie tender on the road is the best option.

I find insulting, if not at least embarrassing, that Viagra advertises so heavily at major league baseball games. "Daddy, what's Viagra?" But know that Versus features a Jack Daniels Goal Cam. I guess anything is possible. Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud.

Nothing like Alexander Edler getting hurt after a mention of him in the last Daily Puck article I penned. Maybe we can start a Daily Puck jinx-like Sports Illustrated.

For those hockey fans with the memory recall of five tweets, Steven Stamkos ended up with 38 goals in 50 games. I'd remind everyone of how smart I am with my guess, but I forget what I wrote. I think I guessed 36 in 50.

As good as the buzz surrounding the NHL's All-Star game was, why was the AHL's All-Star game on a Monday night? Guess it felt it could compete against Hawaii Five-O.    

Who's Hot

Kyle Okposo netted two goals and added an assist for the Islanders on Tuesday. It's good to see the 22-year-old forward back after missing much of the season. He's got two goals and four points through six games. A year ago he collected 22 power play points and should have similar value the rest of the way.

Who's Not

Anton Stralman - Stralman has lost time to Grant Clitsome. The offensive defenseman has zero goals and 10 assists in 37 contests. That said, he's the type of waiver-wire pickup that can help fantasy teams if he somehow gets hot, as he did in 2009-10.

Recommended Pickup

Stephen Weiss - He had a goal and an assist Tuesday, giving him 35 points in 49 games. Watch the fire that gets lit under his butt if he gets dealt out of Florida at the deadline.

Dustin Jeffrey - Jeffrey's opportunities are unclear, but whenever he's gotten a chance he's contributed for Pittsburgh. At some point he's got to stick with the Pens. Jeffrey saw top unit power-play time Tuesday, due to injuries, and came through with a power-play goal. He also potted the game-deciding shootout score and now had three goals and five points in eight games.

Probable Starting Goalies

Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at Ottawa (Robin Lehner), 7:00 p.m.
Islanders (Rick DiPietro) at Pittsburgh (Brent Johnson), 7:00 p.m.
Florida (Tomas Vokoun) at Montreal (Alex Auld), 7:30 p.m.
Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick) at Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin), 9:30 p.m.
Vancouver (Roberto Luongo) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 9:30 p.m.
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Anaheim (Jonas Hiller), 10:00 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Detroit vs. Ottawa

Pavel Datsyuk - Questionable, originally thought to be coming back Wednesday, but plans changed.
Tomas Holmstrom - Out, not expected to play Wednesday with hand injury.
Daniel Cleary - Probable, will return Wednesday after 14-game absence due to ankle injury.
Brad Stuart - Out, practiced with mates Monday but still several weeks away with jaw injury.

Jason Spezza - Out, expected to return Saturday from shoulder injury.
Pascal Leclaire - Out, hopes to return from lower-body injury within next couple weeks.
Jarkko Ruutu - Out, looking for a return within the next week.

Islanders at Pittsburgh

Matt Martin - Questionable, left Tuesday's tilt after taking puck to eye.
Milan Jurcina - Out, hopes to return sometime this weekend.
Nathan Lawson - Out, placed on IR with knee injury.

Sidney Crosby - Out, has resumed light on-ice workouts as part of "functional rehab" recovery.
Evgeni Malkin - Questionable, says his knee is fine, needs go-ahead by coach Bylsma but should play.
Arron Asham - Questionable, not likely to play Wednesday after missing all but four shifts Tuesday.
Eric Godard - Probable, returned to action Tuesday after missing more than a month with facial injuries.
Mark Letestu - Questionable, not expected to play, given he was on crutches Tuesday.

Florida at Montreal

Shawn Matthias - Out, not expected to play in next three games due to ankle injury.

Michael Cammalleri - Out, traveled with team to Washington but not close to returning from shoulder.

Los Angeles at Edmonton

Los Angeles
Marco Sturm - Out, not expected back for about 10 days.

Gilbert Brule - Questionable, suffering from flu and may be game-time decision.
Jordan Eberle - Questionable, not expected to play Wednesday with ankle injury, but is close.
Ales Hemsky - Questionable, made it through his first full practice Tuesday and could return Weds.

Vancouver vs. Phoenix

Aaron Volpatti - Out, ruled out for Wednesday after suffering a bruised rib Tuesday.
Andrew Alberts - Out, expected to return as soon as the weekend from a shoulder injury.
Alexander Edler - Out, hopes to return for the last few games of the regular season.
Aaron Rome - Out, coach Vigneault looks for Rome to return perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Sami Salo - Out, skated on Tuesday but will need an AHL conditioning stint before returning. 

Michal Rozsival - Questionable, team could have used him in Tuesday's collapse vs. Sharks.

San Jose vs. Anaheim

San Jose
Logan Couture - Questionable, missed Tuesday's game with flu; check updates.
Scott Nichol - Questionable, didn't play Tuesday despite end to his four-game suspension.

Ryan Getzlaf - Out, targeting a Feb. 9 return from broken nose.


Zach Tortini - Placed on waivers by Edmonton.
Dustin Jeffrey - Recalled by Pittsburgh from AHL Wilkes-Barre,
Eric Tangradi - Recalled by Pittsburgh from AHL Wilkes-Barre.
Evgeny Grachev - Assigned to AHL Connecticut by Rangers.
Jay Beagle - Recalled by Washington from AHL Hershey.

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