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The Daily Puck: Frustrated Fleury

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

*Puck drops at 2 p.m. Eastern Saturday.

The Penguins continued their NHL Payback Parade on Friday in Carolina, only they're the ones getting paid back. The Hurricanes knocked off Pittsburgh, 4-1, after losing the first three games of the season series. The Pens have five goals in their last four and now is the time to be playing them. We'll see if the Maple Leafs can add to the misery Saturday.

-- Name the NHL's plus-minus leader. Answer at end of this section.

-- A couple of prominent fantasy players got hurt Friday, Mike Green and Eric Staal. Green took an elbow to the head by Rangers rookie Derek Stepan just seconds after Green delivered an un-penalized cross-check. Staal put his head down in the Pittsburgh slot and was caught up high by defenseman Matt Niskanen. Neither Green nor Staal is expected to play Saturday.

-- 50 in 50 questions sound kind of funny now. Even so, Steven Stamkos needs nine goals in the last 20 games to reach the 50 mark for the second straight season.

-- It's hard to say whether the NHL always had this many concussions, but things are getting ridiculous. Don't be surprised if we see a Sidney Crosby rule in 2011-12.

-- Kyle Wellwood is back with the Sharks and contributing.

-- Brad Richards is the biggest name on the trade market. Or is he? It will be interesting to see if something happens at the last minute that no one's talking about.

-- The Rangers have outscored Washington, 15-1, in the last three meetings after a 6-0 shutout Friday night.

-- The Canucks are taking a calculated risk by not trading for a healthy blueliner. Vancouver GM Mike GiIlis says it will take a “major, major transaction we're not that comfortable with yet” to even consider dealing goalie Cory Schneider. Posturing? True? The way Gillis talks, maybe the team should trade Roberto Luongo.

-- Tuukka Rask fantasy owners have learned the lesson of putting faith in rookie tenders. Rask went 22-12-5 with a 1.97 GAA, a .931 save percentage and five shutouts in 2009-10. This season he's 7-11-1 with a 2.85 GAA, a .918 save percentage and one shutout.

-- The last time Alexei Kovalev played for Pittsburgh his linemates were Ville Nieminen and Vladimir Vujtek.

-- The recent loss of Brooks Orpik for a month will affect goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's numbers more than anyone else.

-- Give yourself a round of applause if you knew that the currently-injured Kevin Bieksa leads the NHL with a plus-26 rating.

Who's Hot

Matt Calvert – A natural hat trick will get you on this list. The 21-year-old Columbus rookie has nine goals and 13 points in 20 games.

Eric Christensen – Two goals and two assists Friday. Do not pick up unless you can use him in shootouts.

Antti Niemi – 10-2 record in the month of February on the hottest team in the NHL.

Who's Not

Marc-Andre Fleury – The Pens need him to be a shutdown goalie. While he's playing the best hockey of his life, Fleury can't score goals and neither can the rest of his teammates. We'll see if the team makes another trade or two at the deadline.

Max Talbot – Talbot is heading into free agency with one goal in his last 36 games. A lot of Pittsburgh skaters could be lumped here. Mike Rupp has two in 32, Kris Letang (two in 29), Chris Conner (one in 21), Pascal Dupuis (three in 28), etc.

Michael Frolik – He's now 0-for-7 with the Blackhawks, no points in seven games. His career has a chance to spiral downward quickly.

Recommended Pickup

Patrik Berglund – Berglund has scored nine goals and 20 points in his last 19 contests.

Probable Starting Goalies

Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Dallas (Kari Lehtonen), 2 p.m.
Colorado (Brian Elliott) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 4 p.m.
Detroit (Joey MacDonald) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7 p.m.
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7 p.m.
Washington (Semyon Varlamov) at Islanders (Al Montoya), 7 p.m.
Philadelphia (Brian Boucher) at Ottawa (Craig Anderson), 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh (Brent Johnson) at Toronto (James Reimer), 7 p.m.
Boston (Tim Thomas) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10 p.m.

Rotowire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call


Francis Bouillon – Out, hasn't experienced concussion symptoms for more than week but not back yet.
Marcel Goc – Out, needs shoulder surgery and will miss remainder of 2010-11.
Steve Sullivan – Out, placed on injured reserve with groin injury.


Niklas Grossman – Out, skating but still not ready for action.
Brad Richards – Out, will not play prior to Monday's trade deadline.


Ryan O'Byrne – Out, expected to miss 7-10 days with facial lacerations.

Los Angeles

Scott Parse – Out, has backed off rehab from hip surgery.


Brian Rafalski – Out, back spasms will keep him out Saturday.
Chris Osgood – Out, shooting for a return during the second week of March.
Patrick Eaves – Out, groin injury will sideline him Saturday.


No recently-reported injury news.


Eric Staal – Questionable, left Friday's game after taking shot to chest/head.


Jaroslav Spacek – Out, still looking at missing weeks due to lower-body injury.


Mike Green – Questionable, left Friday's game with injury, check updates.
Tom Poti – Out, still missing time with groin injury.
Eric Fehr – Out, skating but missed Thursday's practice and didn't play Friday.


Radek Martinek – Questionable, day-to-day with lower-body injury.
Milan Jurcina – Out, will miss 1-2 weeks with groin injury.


Blair Betts – Questionable, day-to-day with finger injury and has missed last three games.
Chris Pronger – Questionable, expected to play Saturday but team has recalled another d-man.
Oskars Bartulis – Out, will miss three months with shoulder injury.


Chris Neil – Questionable, missed Friday and his status for Saturday is unknown, check updates.
Jesse Winchester – Questionable, also missed Friday but is close to returning from knee injury.
Sergei Gonchar – Out, not available for Saturday due to a lower-body injury.
Peter Regin – Questionable, injured shoulder week ago and has yet to return to action.


Sidney Crosby – Out, undergoing vestibular testing, riding exercise bike, still not able to practice.
Paul Martin – Questionable, close to returning from back injury.
Chris Kunitz – Out, was thought to be close but apparently suffered mid-week setback.
Nick Johnson – Out, concussion victim.
Arron Asham – Out, another concussion.
Eric Tangradi – Out, third time is a charm for these concussions.
Brooks Orpik – Out, broken finger keeps him out 4-6 weeks.
Mark Letestu – Questionable, could return Saturday from knee injury.
Eric Godard – Out, serving seventh game of a 10-game suspension.


Jonas Gustavsson – Out, returned him to AHL for game action couple days ago.


Brad Marchand – Questionable, left Friday practice after getting hit in foot by puck, expected to go Sat.
Marc Savard – Out, still dealing with post-concussion symptoms as of Wednesday.


Kevin Bieksa – Out, halfway into three-week expected recovery period from broken foot.


Alexander Sulzer – Traded from Nashville to Florida for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.
Kristian Huselius – Placed on IR by Columbus.
Fredrik Modin – Activated off IR by Atlanta.
Marco Sturm – Placed on waivers by Los Angeles.
Craig Rivet – Placed on re-entry waivers by Buffalo.
Mike Commodore – Placed on re-entry waivers by Columbus.
Wade Belak – Placed on waivers by Nashville.
Nick Boynton – Placed on waivers by Chicago.
Nick Leddy – Assigned to AHL Rockford by Chicago.
Brett Maclean – Recalled by Phoenix from AHL San Antonio.
Martin Gerber – Recalled by Edmonton from AHL Oklahoma City.
Erik Gustafsson – Recalled by Philadelphia from AHL Adirondack.
Corey Locke and Roman Wick – Recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamton.