Checking in with the latest fantasy hockey injury updates.
The Bad News
No need to really panic, but Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Washington doesn’t play again until Friday, so there’s a pretty decent chance Ovi will be ready for action against the Flyers. *** Update -- He'll miss Friday's game.
It looks like the Pittsburgh Penguins organization is exercising extreme patience and caution with James Neal as he recovers from an upper-body injury sustained in the team’s season opener. It’s unclear exactly when fantasy owners can expect him to return, but the latest indications suggest he’s about three weeks away from game action.
Pekka Rinne is… uhh… not well. Not. Well. At. All. He’s out at least four weeks. Carter Hutton and Magnus Hellberg will see the majority of starts in net for the Nashville Predators while their franchise goalie recovers from an infection he developed related to a surgical procedure he underwent on his hip this past summer.
The Carolina Hurricanes will be without No. 1 netminder Cam Ward for 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile, fellow ‘Canes goalie Anton Khudobin is struggling to return from a lower-body injury he sustained in mid-October. Expect to see quite a bit of Justin Peters in net for Carolina over the course of the next several days.
One of Calgary’s top offensive players on the young season, winger Lee Stempniak, is week-to-week with a broken foot. Speaking of broken lower limbs belonging to Calgary skaters, Mark Giordano is out for approximately eight weeks with a broken ankle. Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell are seeing the bulk of power-play time among Calgary defensemen in Giordano’s absence.
Carolina forward Jeff Skinner will not play in either of his squad’s next two games due to an upper-body injury. He already hasn’t played for almost a week. His fantasy owners have to wonder if one of Carolina’s most important young forwards will be back at any point in the very near future.
Surprise! David Booth is hurt. The oft-injured Vancouver Canucks forward will be out of the lineup for one or two weeks due to a lower-body injury.
It doesn’t look like Anaheim netminder Viktor Fasth is ready to return in the immediate future. Jonas Hiller and recent call-up Frederik Anderson will shoulder the load in net for the Ducks while Fasth tries to get healthy.
It’s been difficult to get a definitive idea about the severity of the injury to Brent Burn’s mouth. However, it does seem abundantly clear San Jose’s blueliner-turned-winger is out for the immediate future.
Tough luck for talented, young Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. The 23-year-old winger was both aggressive and effective in 11 games of action with the Ducks, who acquired him in the Bobby Ryan trade this past offseason.
Ryane Clowe is struggling to recover from a concussion sustained in mid-October. The New Jersey Devils forward has been doing some off-ice work, but he hasn’t resumed skating yet. There is no timetable for Clowe’s return.
The Good News
Dan Boyle is participating in practice, but the longtime San Jose Sharks defenseman wasn’t able to suit up for Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Boyle hasn’t played since Oct. 15, when he took a hit from behind from St. Louis’s Maxim Lapierre. That being said, it seems like the veteran d-man should be ready to return soon.
Florida Panthers netminder Tim Thomas has been skating with the team. So that’s something. The veteran goalie has been out for a little more than a week due to a lingering leg injury. Jacob Markstrom is seeing action in Thomas’s absence, but the Panthers could also use Scott Clemmensen in net.
Any concerns as to whether Kris Letang was ready to contribute after missing most of the first month of the season while recovering from a knee injury have been dispelled by the fact that he’s seen plenty of ice time and has already notched his first goal of the year. That being said, the Pittsburgh Penguins blue-liner missed a ton of time since playing all 82 games during the 2010-11 season. He’s good to go… for now.
Veteran winger Johan Franzen missed Wednesday night’s game against Vancouver with an unspecified injury. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem serious enough to suggest it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll miss Friday night’s road contest against Calgary.
Another injured Penguin forward, Beau Bennett, is expected to return to practice this week. He’s recovering from a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup since mid-October.
Given Martin Brodeur’s struggles this season (at least three goals allowed in all but one of his six appearances thus far), the New Jersey Devils have every reason to hope Cory Schneider will be ready to see significant action when he returns to the lineup in the next few days. It looks like Schneider is looking to be back in the lineup by this weekend.
A pair of key youngsters is expected to be ready for game action soon for the Minnesota Wild. Center Charlie Coyle is slated to return to action on Friday after missing all but two games this year with a knee injury, while defenseman Jonas Brodin is practicing. However, it’ still too soon to speculate exactly when Brodin will be able to return from a broken cheekbone sustained when he was struck in the face by a puck last week in a game against Nashville.
Devan Dubnyk’s struggles in net this season have been significant. However, the ankle injury he sustained late last week isn’t. He should return to the lineup in short order.
David Perron missed Tuesday night’s game with an illness. However, the Edmonton Oilers winger should be fine moving forward.
After missing the first 10 games of the young season, New York Rangers winger Carl Hagelin returned to the lineup this week. He joined a line with veterans Brad Richards and Benoit Pouliot and notched an assist in his debut.
No one knows how long his latest return to the lineup will last, but San Jose winger Martin Havlat is back for now. It will be interesting to see how he’s used by coach Todd McLellan and if he will be able to keep himself healthy and productive for the long haul. Frankly, I don’t believe it will happen. However, the 32-year-old is still someone to watch for fantasy.
Sam Gagner looked excellent in his return to the lineup from a broken jaw (more than 22 minutes of ice time and three shots on goal). What’s even better is he’s seeing a ton of time on the power play and centering a line that features talented youngsters Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov. This bodes well for Gagner, who really came into his own in last year’s lockout-shortened campaign with 38 points in 48 games played.
Ottawa winger Clarke MacArthur missed just one game due to a minor undisclosed injury late last week. He was back in action right away and continued his successful inaugural campaign in Ottawa. McArthur has seven points in 11 games on the young season.