RotoWire Partners

The Daily Puck: The Concussion Issue

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

Loui Eriksson left Tuesday's game after a Douglas Murray hit. Here's to hoping yet another NHL star doesn't have a concussion.

NHL GMs are meeting in Florida this week to discuss possible changes to the game. The majority of general managers aren't in favor of taking head shots out of the game, coming out with a statistic that over 50 percent of concussions come from legal hits. A good read on Yahoo! shows that until some of the prominent league suits change their views on the matter nightly, concussions figure to follow.

The Capitals have won nine a row, thanks to goalie Braden Holtby. What's fantasy poolie to do with Washington's goalie situation? Michal Neuvirth is apparently unhappy riding the bench right now and Semyon Varlamov is expected back in the next week or so. The offseason should be an interesting one to follow around the Beltway.

Two days of symptom-free skating by Sidney Crosby. The team has no timetable for a return, but it's good to know that Crosby hasn't retired to Acapulco.

The Penguins are 15-10-5 without Crosby in the lineup.

March Madness continues for Stars forward Jamie Benn. Benn, 21, has pointed in each of his team's eight March contests, compiling seven goals and four assists. I guess the trading of James Neal didn't signify the doomsday in Big D that some envisioned.

It's just weird seeing Brian Burke and Pierre Gauthier speaking with palm trees and spring breakers behind them in Boca Raton, Florida outdoor bar. Shouldn't they hold the GM meetings where they at least need to wear jackets? I'm half expecting Yo MTV raps to break out in the background.

The New Jersey Devils are six points out of the eighth playoff seed and have a game or two in hand on the all three teams ahead of them. The Maple Leafs and Thrashers are also six points back. Are there two cities more polar opposites when it comes to hockey fandom than Toronto and Atlanta?  

Who's Hot

Cam Ward - Forty-save shutouts will put goalies like Ward on this list.

Zbynek Michalek - The shot-blocking defenseman has three goals in four games after going 91 contests without scoring.

Who's Not

Jiri Hudler - The Ides of March passed yesterday and the month hasn't been kind to Hudler. The formerly hot Hudler has zero points through six March contests.

Tomas Kaberle - The transition from Toronto to Boston hasn't gone as smoothly as hoped, at least from an offensive production standpoint. Kaberle has but two assists in 11 contests with the Bruins.

Recommended Pickup

Brian Rolston - Waivers can't stop Rolston, who has 23 points in his last 31 games since the beginning of January. Prior to then, the New Jersey forward had five points in 21 games.

Jonathan Bernier - Keeper leagues will want to target Bernier now in anticipation of a bigger role with Los Angeles in 2011-12.

Probable Starting Goalies

Toronto (James Reimer) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 p.m.
Washington (Braden Holtby) at Detroit (Jimmy Howard), 7:30 p.m.
Colorado (Brian Elliott) at Vancouver (Cory Schneider), 10:00 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Anaheim (Daniel Ellis), 10:00 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Tim Brent - Questionable, left Saturday's game with eye injury, status for Wednesday unknown.
Joe Colborne - Out, received blindside hit while playing in the AHL and may have suffered concussion.
Fredrik Sjostrom - Out, expected to miss about one week with upper body injury.
Colton Orr - Out, may be able to return before season's end, for whatever that is worth.
Colby Armstrong - Out, suffered yet another injury - a broken foot - and could miss rest of season.

Jamie McBain - Out, will miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder injury.

Nicklas Backstrom - Questionable, not likely to play due to thumb injury.
John Erskine - Questionable, day-to-day with illness.
Mike Green - Out, cannot return until March 22 from long-term IR.
Tom Poti - Out, groin injury has him shelved.
Jason Arnott - Out, expected to miss three games with undisclosed injury.
Semyon Varlamov - Out, ready to resume practice with a potential return in a week or so.

Chris Osgood - Questionable, activated from IR list and could see a few starts in regular season.
Brian Rafalski - Probable, expected to return from back injury, check updates to be sure.
Ruslan Salei - Out, expected to be with wife and new baby during Wednesday's game.

John-Michael Liles - Probable, expected to play following leg injury.
Paul Stastny - Probable, also expected to play Wednesday following back ailment.
Milan Hejduk - Out, will miss Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Tanner Glass - Questionable, has missed last two games with upper body injury.
Sami Salo - Out, elbow injury expected to keep Salo out of Wednesday's game.
Kevin Bieksa - Questionable, participated in full practice Tuesday but unlikely to play vs. Colorado.

St. Louis
Nikita Nikitin - Questionable, participated in Monday's practice and may be game-time decision.
Tyson Strachan - Questionable, has missed March with an upper body injury.
Philip McRae - Questionable, has resumed skating after lower body injury but unlikely to go vs. Ducks.
David Perron - Out, team says he still might return from concussion before season's end.
Alexander Steen - Out, expected to miss another month with high ankle sprain.

Jonas Hiller - Out, back skating and taking shots but return date not known.


Nazem Kadri - Recalled by Toronto from AHL Marlies.
Corey Potter - Recalled by Pittsburgh from AHL Wilkes-Barre.
Steve Wagner - Recalled by Pittsburgh from AHL Wilkes-Barre.
Nathan Oystrick - Recalled by St. Louis on emergency basis from AHL Peoria.
Andre Benoit - Recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamton.
Jim O'Brien - Recalled by Ottawa from AHL Binghamton.
Yann Sauve - Recalled by Vancouver from AHL Manitoba.

Follow me on Twitter and HockeyBuzz