Need a smile on this Sunday? A number of good pieces of news have come out on the injury front, which helps to stem the tidal wave of M*A*S*H misery poolies and NHL clubs have faced this season.
Skinner! Concussed Canes sensation Jeff Skinner has been activated from the IR and seems good for the Caps game this afternoon.
It appears as if David Booth will return for the Canucks tonight too. Per Dan Murphy at Sportsnet, the lines would be the usual of Sedin-Sedin-Burrows with Higgins-Kesler-Booth/ Raymond-Hodgson-Hansen. That's one hell of a top nine for Vancouver.
When I was grabbing the PIT/TB lines the Lightning broadcast noted Victor Hedman was back on the ice this morning with the team. Still absolutely no timetable for his return and we're all too well-versed in concussion uncertainty, but this is one of the positive steps on the comeback trail.
Ken Hitchcock told reporters this morning there have been zero problems noted with David Perron following the forward getting rocked last night.
Kris Letang has been skating at home through what have been described as rigorous workouts on the ice and the team is hopeful he'll be back at practice soon.
One potential note of caution, although hopefully it's nothing: Blake Wheeler, who was hit in the throat by a puck yesterday, will not travel with the team just yet. Doctors want to keep an eye on him a bit longer, so we'll see if anything comes of this situation.
So Michael Cammalleri made his debut - Part Deux - with the Flames against the Kings in a Sutter vs. Sutter-coached clash that somehow the entire media contingent in both Canada and the U.S. missed. I don't think I heard a single mention of those two going head-to-head all week in the stories leading up to this tilt and correct if I'm wrong, but did they even say anything about it on the HNIC broadcast?
Whoops. Hang on. I just have to clean up this sarcasm on my keyboard. It's dripping pretty heavily.
Cammalleri scored, his team lost and - not surprisingly - the lines were shuffled with Calgary trailing. Cammalleri opened with Mikael Backlund and Lee Stempniak, but then Brent Sutter opted to team Cammalleri with Jarome Iginla and had several different centres working with them in order to get the two stars out there as often as possible. #93, as he's wearing now in Calgary, only played 15:21 because... I'd imagine... it's been such a crazy few days since the trade news broke. He'll see huge minutes for the team though and he'll be a PP1 regular, as he was here.
Anze Kopitar has been a magnet for bad hits of late. Ouch. Mark Giordano delivered tonight's hurt. I'm still pretty surprised Kopitar doesn't have a concussion after that hit a few nights back.
Drew Doughty has points in four of five and has 11 points in his past 15 starts. In other words, he's being the Drew Doughty poolies expected when they drafted him back in the fall. He's healthy, the contract mess is behind him and smooth sailing should be ahead. Again, did you look to acquire him in your keeper league during those harder times? Those windows of opportunity don't stay open too long, but seizing on a struggling stud should always be on your mind as a manager... especially in retention pools where you're looking to build your core stronger and stronger as each year progresses.
Daniel Alfredsson had a pair of overtime winners in three games at the end of December/ start of January and he delivered the only goal of the shootout tonight, making him a perfect 4/4 in the skills competition this season. The guy is clutch and he’s been in a groove for poolies since the end of November.
HNIC had a post-game interview with Alfie where he basically intimated that he had been leaning toward retiring at the end of the season, but with how good he feels and how well the team is playing... he may be tilting back toward the “gotta keep on playing” side.
Josh Harding was nothing short of spectacular tonight, despite coming up short in a shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues. He stopped a career-high 47 shots in that 3-2 loss.
Several interesting notes from that one too. David Perron took a big hit, which is always a worry given the prior concussion history. He’s seemingly fine though and had nine shots in addition to his goal. Alex Pietrangelo was having a pretty pedestrian season. Until the calendar flipped over to January. He pushed his point streak to six games, which already included eight points before tonight’s goal.
Bad news for the Wild though, with Mikko Koivu forced to leave early with an upper-body injury after taking a hit.
This is just not JVR’s year. After having a terrific playoff run last spring that saw him snipe 11 goals in 15 contests, which seemingly foretold of a breakout campaign for the former second overall pick of the 2007 draft this season, he’s just been nagged by injuries pretty much all of ’11-12. His latest sees him out with a concussion for who knows how long. He’s also been bitten by abdomen, hip and knee issues. He’s done fairly well despite all of that and you should remain completely bullish on both his short-term (whenever he’s healthy) and long-term value, but this is still one of those times where his perceived value will likely be lower than it should be in those deeper keeper leagues. Whenever you have a chance to get a legitimate blue-chipper in those long-term situations, take it.
Claude Giroux has one point in his past five games, but said after the loss to the Preds that he is feeling no after-effects from his concussion. Rookie Sean Couturier has a goal in four straight contests. Tonight he flipped spots with Brayden Schenn early in the game, so Couturier was between Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read.
Martin Erat had 1G, 1A tonight and has three separate two-pointers in four tries now. He’s teamed with Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn. Fisher has eight points in his past six games and Kostitsyn has seven in that same span. Jordin Tootoo quietly picked up another point and he has 13 points and 32 PIM in his past 18 starts since the beginning of December.
Brent Burns and Dan Boyle have endured some tough times this season in terms of points, but Burns now has a season-best four-game point streak going and Boyle has seven points in his past seven starts.
Tonight’s random thought: Do you ever see a shot of Glen Sather watching the game from above and just want to smack the crap out of that cigar in his mouth?
Martin Biron is just the perfect guy to back-up Henrik Lundqvist. Another solid effort from Biron tonight against the Leafs and he’s playing even better than last season, when he was already outstanding. He also has three assists in 11 starts this year. Not too shabby. He was joking after the game that he wasn’t impressed because Lundqvist had that three-game assist streak last season.
The Bruins lost a rare one here, but David Krejci pushed his point streak to a career-best 11 games. Eric Staal’s ENG sealed the 4-2 Carolina win in that one and Staal has nine points on his five-game point streak. Both Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison, who are teamed together at even strength, have also been chipping in points pretty frequently lately if your blueline is hurting with injuries and the FA pile has been picked over.
Bruce Boudreau on Teemu Selanne, tongue firmly in cheek: "You know what? If he keep working at it, he’s going to make it.” He added, “What can you say about him that hasn’t already been said?"
Kyle Okposo scored another one, this time against the Sabres in a 4-2 win. Goals in five of six and he’s been steadily getting better for the past few months. He was doing well before being moved onto the Matt Moulson - John Tavares line fairly recently, but is certainly in a position to continue delivering the goods.
Not quite the season for which Mark Streit owners had been hoping, but he stealthily has five helpers in his past six starts.
The Wings gave up a late one to Jonathan Toews, but still came up with the win in overtime against the Hawks. Todd Bertuzzi had a couple of goals and although he only had one point in four January games coming into this one, he’s been on a nice run overall for awhile now. He’s on the top line (1A, 1B really) with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Andrew Shaw has collected goals in three of his six starts now. He began with Andrew Brunette and Marcus Kruger today and he has 12-9-21 with 80 PIM in his 33 games with Rockford thus far.
Paul Stastny has points in three of five and he had 1G, 1A today to break a 10-game goalless spell. Peter Mueller was on his line for the first game of his concussion comeback, but shifted to another unit with Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi today. It was Kevin Porter and David Jones with Stastny.
Adam Henrique sat out today’s matinee against the Jets with a groin strain, but it was viewed mostly as precautionary move by the team to prevent it from turning into anything major. Dainius Zubrus opened with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk in that L1 slot. Travis Zajac was officially placed on IR, BTW. Andrew Ladd recorded the only goal for the Jets and he has markers in four of seven. He’s with Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood. The dynamic trio of Evander Kane with Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler was reunited again and they never should have been split anyway. The bad news from there is that Wheeler took a puck in the throat and was taken to the hospital. Early word was it didn’t seem too serious of a situation though.
Blake Wheeler was knocked out of that Jersey game with a puck to the throat, incidentally. The Evander Kane – Bryan Little – Wheeler line had been reunited to begin that one too.
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