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The Daily Puck: Back in Action

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

*First puck drops at 12:30 p.m. Est.

Peter Forsberg played in his first NHL game since April of 2008, skating more than 17 minutes. So long as his foot stays healthy there's plenty of reason to think the 37-year-old forward will put up a point per game once he finds his conditioning.

-- Can you name the NHL's top shot blocker? *Answer at end of Rink.

-- The Devils won again Friday, giving them a 12-1-2 mark in their last 15. New Jersey needs 40 points in its last 26 games to reach 88 points, the number Montreal totaled a year ago as the Eastern Conference's No. 8 playoff seed.

-- Vancouver defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo get a chance to play on the top unit due to all of the injuries. Bieksa has just one assist in his last 11 games, but figures to get plenty of opportunity now.

-- Pittsburgh's injury situation is so bad that its AHL affiliate, the Baby Penguins, has no centermen on its roster.

-- How could Florida put Michael Grabner on waivers?

-- Happy 27th birthday to Max Talbot. The Islanders' Matt Martin certainly gave him a surprise.

-- Cal Clutterbuck once again leads the NHL in hits, with 245, while Tuomo Ruutu ranks second with 217. Fantasy pools that include hits – which a much better category than penalty minutes – make Clutterbuck and Ruutu fantasy MVPs. Ruutu even has 42 points (13, 29) in 55 games.

*Daniel Girardi of the New York Rangers has 157 blocked shots to lead the league – 20 more than his closest competitor.

Who's Hot

Michael Grabner – He's not owned in 80 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. His numbers are obscene.

Mikael Samuelsson – He leads the NHL in post All-Star break points with 10 (4, 6). A pedestrian first four months may make him an easy trade pickup.

Who's Cold

James Neal – Pointless in his last six, Neal has nine points (7, 2) in his last 26 contests.

Recommended Pickup

Kevin Bieksa - The Vancouver defenseman gets a chance to play on the top pairing (with Sami Salo, another cheap pickup) due to injury. Bieksa has just one assist in his last 11 games, but figures to pick up points by osmosis with the firepower surrounding him.

Probable Starting Goalies

Los Angeles (Jonathan Bernier) at Washington (Semyon Varlamov), 12:30 p.m.
Ottawa (Brian Elliott) at Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin), 2 p.m.
Toronto (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7 p.m.
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson), 7:30 p.m.
Chicago (Carey Price) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8 p.m.
Colorado (Peter Budaj) at Nashville (Pekka Rinne), 8 p.m.
St. Louis (Ty Conklin) at Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom), 9 p.m.
Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10 p.m.

Rotowire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Los Angeles
Marco Sturm – Out, will miss his 11th straight game Saturday.

Mike Green – Probable, Green is expected to play Saturday after battling a head injury.
Tom Poti – Questionable, not expected to play Saturday due to groin injury.
Eric Fehr – Out, 1-2 weeks away from returning with shoulder injury.

Matt Carkner – Questionable, traveling with team but not known if he'll be ready Saturday.
Jesse Winchester – Questionable, didn't play Wednesday and is day-to-day.
Daniel Alfredsson – Out, looking at two weeks or more with lower back problems.

Gilbert Brule – Out, could be sent on a conditioning stint in the AHL.
Shawn Horcoff – Questionable, he is doubtful for Saturday's game.

Colby Armstrong – Out, will miss about a week with blurred vision.
Jonas Gustavsson – Out, elevated heart rate takes precedence over hockey.

Mathieu Darche – Out, not expected to go Saturday with lower body injury.
Hal Gill – Out, not expected to play Saturday due to upper body.
Michael Cammalleri – Out, progress from shoulder injury continues to go slower than expected.

No reported injury news.

Tampa Bay
Ryan Malone – Out, could miss 6-8 weeks with possible abdominal tear.
Nate Thompson – Out, will miss Saturday's tilt with a head injury.

Marian Hossa – Questionable, missed Friday's game and isn't expected to play Saturday.
Ryan Johnson – Questionable, left Friday's game and probably won't play Saturday.
Fernando Pisani – Questionable, left Friday with head injury and likely won't go Saturday.
Viktor Stalberg – Questionable, also left Friday's game after four shifts with undisclosed injury.

Ed Jovanovski – Questionable, may return for Saturday's game, likely a game-time decision.

Kyle Cumiskey – Questionable, left Wednesday's game w/head injury after missing time w/concussion.
Adam Foote – Questionable, day-to-day with quad injury.
Craig Anderson – Out, will miss Saturday due to personal reasons.
TJ Galiardi – Out, will miss unknown amount of time after suffering another wrist injury.

Marcel Goc – Questionable, left Wednesday's game with lower body injury.
Matthew Lombardi – Out, has started light exercises but still dealing with concussion-like symptoms.

St. Louis
Carlo Colaiacovo – Probable, expected to return to action Saturday.

Josh Harding – Out, skated for the first time in pads Friday but is weeks away from possible return.

Alex Tanguay – Out, suffering some sort of neck injury or concussion, will not play Saturday.
Adam Pardy – Out, will miss unknown amount of time with upper body injury.

Dan Hamhuis – Out, will not play Saturday due to concussion.
Sami Salo – Probable, activated from conditioning stint and will skate w/Bieksa on top defensive pairing.
Keith Ballard – Out, will miss 3-4 weeks with a knee sprain.


Jonas Hiller – Activated by Anaheim from the injured reserve list.
Tobias Enstrom – Activated by Atlanta from the injured reserve list.
Sami Salo – Recalled from conditioning stint at AHL Manitoba.
Cody Hodgson – Assigned to AHL Manitoba by Vancouver.

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