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Tuesday Daily Puck: Second-Half Puck Drop

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino

Around the Rink

Is there any less appealing way to waste three hours of a perfectly good Sunday than watching the NHL All-Star Game? I have to say, even the Pro Bowl is (marginally) more interesting than watching the best players in hockey glide around at 40 percent effort. Yeah, hockey’s a rough-and-tumble sport, and no team or fan base wants to see its stars hurt in a midseason exhibition game, but if that’s the case, you may as well not play the game at all. Even the “highlights” of that game are painful to watch if you’re a hockey fan.

At least the skills competitions are, y’know, competitive. In fact, they’re pretty fun. Maybe they should just turn the All-Star Game solely into a skills competition. It’d be more intellectually honest, since we all know that the Olympics are the real All-Star Game(s).

With no noteworthy game action happening, it’s nice to see that the teams and league are making sure their beat writers have some news to file. The Kings made the biggest waves Monday by waiving Mike Richards and all six of the years (well, five and a half) left on his contract. The decline of the once-mighty Richards has been a steep one, and though he’s won a pair of Stanley Cups with Los Angeles, you have to give it up to the Flyers for selling him high when they did, considering the plunge his numbers have taken on the West Coast. It’s Richards’ 10th season in the league, so he’s a grizzled veteran on the one hand, but on the other, he’s still just 29 years old for the next couple weeks and has been relatively healthy throughout his career. Now he’s in limbo, uncertain whether another team will absorb his contract in order to spare him the indignity of a stint in the AHL, where he’s never played a regular-season game.

In other news, Sidney Crosby is going to miss his own bobblehead night Tuesday because of a fake injury. Oh, sorry, it’s a “lower-body” issue that made him unable to play in the All-Star Game, and the All-Star Game only. The official line is that he received some sort of injection for treatment that made him miss the game and will also hold him out Tuesday. But really, this reads like Crosby’s been quasi-suspended – that is, he’ll be scratched with a pretend injury to punish him for pretending to have an injury.

That seems like a poignant note to end on.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00 PM
Coyotes (Mike Smith) at Flyers (Ray Emery), 7:00 PM
Jets (Michael Hutchinson) at Penguins (Thomas Greiss), 7:00 PM
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney), 7:00 PM
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:30 PM
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30 PM
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30 PM
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Predators (Carter Hutton), 8:00 PM
Sabres (Jhonas Enroth) at Flames (Jonas Hiller), 9:00 PM
Wild (Niklas Backstrom) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 9:30 PM
Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00 PM

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury News For Teams Playing Tuesday

New York Rangers
Tanner Glass, LW (upper body) – Could be ready for post-break return Tuesday

New York Islanders
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (upper body) – Should be back after returning to practice last week
Matt Carkner, D (back) – Out for the year
Kyle Okposo, RW (upper body) – Out 6-8 weeks
Mikhail Grabovski, C (lower body) – Has been practicing; seems likely for Tuesday

Arizona Coyotes
Zbynek Michalek, D (upper body) – Didn’t play before break; status uncertain
Mikkel Boedker, LW (spleen) – Had successful surgery; out another 3-5 weeks

Philadelphia Flyers
Nicklas Grossmann, D (upper body) – Expected back at beginning of February
Kimmo Timonen, D (blood clots) – Lungs are clear, but legs are not
Nick Schultz, D (upper body) – Status uncertain; was day-to-day entering break
Carlo Colaiacovo, D (upper body) – Questionable to play Tuesday
Braydon Coburn, D (lower body) – Out about another three weeks
Scott Laughton, C (upper body) – Placed on IR before break
Steve Mason, G (lower body) – Not back at practice Monday; not slated to start Tuesday
Zac Rinaldo, LW (suspension) – Eight-game ban starts Tuesday

Winnipeg Jets
Mathieu Perreault, C (upper body) – Practiced Monday; could return Tuesday
Grant Clitsome, D (upper body) – Remains out indefinitely
Mark Stuart, D (undisclosed) – Could be back Tuesday

Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby, C, (“lower body”) – “Could return” Wednesday (and probably will)
Evgeni Malkin, C, (lower body) – Won’t skate for another 3-4 days
Kris Letang, D (head) – Expects to return Tuesday
David Perron, LW (illness) – Left practice Monday with cold symptoms
Simon Despres, D (illness) – Didn’t play leading into break, but should be fine now
Patric Hornqvist, RW (lower body) – Practiced Monday; Tuesday status unsure
Olli Maatta, D (shoulder) – Season over following surgery
Pascal Dupuis, RW (blood clot) – Traveling with team, but remains out long-term
Blake Comeau, LW (wrist) – Up to a week away from returning to practice

Washington Capitals
Nate Schmidt, D (shoulder) – Out 4-6 weeks still
Dmitry Orlov, D (wrist) – Improving; could avoid second surgery
Aaron Volpatti, LW (neck) – Healthy, but lingering on IR

Columbus Blue Jackets
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (groin) – Placed on IR retroactively
Brian Gibbons, C (knee) – Remains out with minimal updates
Boone Jenner, LW (back) – Still a ways away from returning
Ryan Murray, D (knee) – Could return this week
Artem Anisimov, C (triceps) – Also could return this week
Jeremy Morin, LW (upper body) – Hurt in last game before break; no word on Tuesday status

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, C (knee) – Game-time decision Tuesday
Radko Gudas, D (knee) – Out for the regular season
Matt Carle, D (hip) – Out 5-7 more weeks

Dallas Stars
Erik Cole, RW (upper body) – Won’t be back Tuesday
Brett Ritchie, RW (undisclosed) – Will return Tuesday
Valeri Nichushkin, LW (hip) – Remains out into March
Trevor Daley, D (undisclosed) – Expected back Tuesday
Patrick Eaves, RW (ankle) – Will be back Tuesday

Montreal Canadiens
P.A. Parenteau, RW (concussion) – Most recent one unrelated to one from earlier this month

Detroit Red Wings
Jakub Kindl, D (elbow) – Looks like he won’t return Tuesday
Johan Franzen, RW (upper body) – Limited to working out off the ice
Jonas Gustavsson, G (shoulder) – Practicing; return coming soon
Tomas Jurco, RW (back) – May not be ready to return Tuesday
Jimmy Howard, G (groin) – Practiced Monday; not ready to return though

Florida Panthers
Shawn Thornton, LW (groin) – Closing in on return

Colorado Avalanche
Erik Johnson, D (knee) – Out 3-8 weeks; placed on IR Monday
Jamie McGinn, LW (back) – Expected out for season
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) – Practicing, but return date uncertain
Patrick Bordeleau, LW (knee) – Out another 3-5 weeks
Borna Rendulic, RW (leg) – Will miss significant time with fracture

Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne, G (lower body) – Has a sprained knee; remains out into early February
Ryan Ellis, D (lower body) – Expected back sometime over next week, but limited updates

Buffalo Sabres
Brian Gionta, RW (upper body) – Expected to play Tuesday
Cody McCormick, C (leg) – Expected out rest of season
Michal Neuvirth, G (lower body) – Not traveling with team
Mike Weber, D (undisclosed) – Ready to go Tuesday
Marcus Foligno, LW (finger) – Out up to another month
Nikita Zadorov, D (suspension) – Team ban for failure to report on time following break
Nathan Lieuwen, G (concussion) – Taking “significant time off”

Calgary Flames
Sam Bennett, LW (shoulder) – Skating again
Curtis Glencross, LW (lower body) – Didn’t practice Monday
Ladislav Smid, D (undisclosed) – Also didn’t practice Monday

Minnesota Wild
Keith Ballard, D (concussion) – Weighing retirement
Mikael Granlund, C (wrist) – Will return Tuesday
Josh Harding, G (illness) – Still not playing in AHL due to MS

Edmonton Oilers
Tyler Pitlick, RW (spleen) – Done for the season

Anaheim Ducks
Eric Brewer, D (foot) – Expects to be cleared soon
Clayton Stoner, D (lower body) – Practiced Monday; expected back Tuesday

Vancouver Canucks
Brad Richardson, C (soreness) – Should be back Tuesday, but no official word
Kevin Bieksa, D (hand) – Out 6-8 weeks with surgery

Hot

Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI – Well, I had to pick someone for this section, so why not the man who just tied Mario Lemieux’s record for the most points ever scored (six!) in a meaningless midseason exhibition game? Of course, big-time production is nothing new for the hyper-talented Voracek, who’s already just six points shy of last season’s career-high 62 (in 34 fewer games) and entered the break with four assists over a three-game point streak.

Cold

Nick Bonino, C, VAN – After a nice breakout with Anaheim last season, Bonino was a buzzy name in drafts after being dealt to Vancouver, but he’s disappointed so far, failing to build last season despite a hot start to this one – after netting very a solid 19 points over his first 23 games, he entered the break with two points in the last seven games and just five in his last 22. And yet he continues to spend tons of time on the ice, largely thanks to his ability to play effectively in all special-teams situations (but especially the PK).

Recommended Pickup
Anton Forsberg, G, CLM – No, Forsberg’s first taste of NHL action back in November didn’t go well – seven goals on 44 shots spanning two appearances – but don’t rush to judgment over that. Instead, take in the startling efficiency of the Swede’s 18-7-1 record, 2.04 GAA and .927 at AHL Springfield this year, and remember that Curtis McElhinney is squarely in the bottom tier of goalies in the league. Sergei Bobrovsky’s set to miss more than a month, and there’s no way the contending Jackets will be content with rolling out McElhinney’s mediocrity game after game. Forsberg’s the better bet for the goalie-needy.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.