The Midseason Guide, you can buy it here, re-released just this past Friday. Get yourself organized and ready to go in the second half by picking up this great read.
Carolina has returned Zach Boychuk to the minors, implying that Jiri Tlusty gets back in the lineup
With Brandon Dubinsky out for about four weeks with a fracture in his leg, I really like Stepan and MZA to get longer PP looks, as well as Brian Boyle.
Evgeni Malkin will miss Thursday's contest with a leg injury, according to the Post-Gazette. It is my opinion that this leg injury has bothered him all season long. He is a superstar and a 120-point player (or more). When healthy and when he is on, there is nobody better. It's just that those two things rarely happen. Anyway, if you're in a keeper league and you have no shot at a prize this year, then try and scoop Malkin for as cheap as you can. I assure you that his price in his NHL career will not get lower than it is today. Were it not for that leg injury he would have 65 points right now.
The Sens recalled Bobby Butler and he played nearly 19 minutes last night, including secondary PP time. That's great faith they're showing in the guy, and if it continues he will put points on the board eventually.
I had Matt Duchene pegged as an 85-point player when he was drafted. I now believe he's a 90-95 point guy. Huge talent and obviously better than John Tavares at this stage. However, Tavares still has higher upside - 10 or 15 points higher in the long term.
The Sharks have sent Andrew Desjardins, Brandon Mashinter and Justin Braun to the minors, implying that both Wellwood and Eager will be in the lineup next game.
Isn't Wellwood an odd choice for this team? I know that it's funny to keep making the Blues do all the work signing guys and then you just take him from them... but let's be honest - there are 20 Kyle Wellwoods and Marek Svatos' out there. The Blues can do this all day long: Robert Lang, Jason Williams, Miro Satan, Michel Oullet, Simon Gamache, Ladislav Nagy, Janne Pesonen... just keep grabbing fringe guys with third-line upside and a history of putting points on the board. You'll get one of them eventually.
Niklas Backstrom will make the start for the Wild tonight, his first of the New Year.
Zach Bogosian, who was a healthy scratch last game, was practicing at forward because Kane, Thorburn, Modin and Slater are all injured. Ironically, they just traded Ben Eager. I think the Thrashers have something else on the go to land another forward.
The Pens extended Mark Letestu for two years. At this point, it's clear that despite the second-line potential, he will slot in as a third liner and will likely top out at 35 to 40 points at his peak.
Both Max Pacioretty and Mike Cammalleri left last night's contest with injuries. Cammalleri suffered a separated shoulder and will miss two to four weeks. Pacioretty took a Wisniewski shot off the arm, but he reacted like it was a concussion. This opens the door wide for on-the-cusp forwards such as Benoit Pouliot (who missed his second game with the flu), David Desharnais (who scored last night) and Andrei Kostitsyn (who is still trying to climb out of the doghouse).
Pacioretty flew home with the team after being tested.
Luke Adam has been sent back to Portland because Patrick Kaleta returned to the lineup.
JP Dumont tallied a hat trick last night and has five goals in his last two games. Can he keep it up? Of course he can. Will he? Sure, for a week or two. The Preds take turns with their hot runs. Sergei Kostitsyn was the recent man. Now it's Dumont. Overlapping the two is Patric Hornqvist, who scored twice last night. If there was some way you could bench nine Preds and take turns dressing two of them every week, then collectively that would be a pretty awesome two players.
Sergei Shirokov scored in his season debut and did not look out of place. As I noted yesterday, this could be it for him - he needs this, and there is little room for error. He saw 13 minutes of ice time and zero PP time.
Anton Khudobin is looking very good in the Wild net. Both Wild goalies are skating and very close to a return, so Khudobin will probably not be able to win his way into one of their spots.
Linus Omark looked very good in the one period that I watched of that game (the third). Extremely poised, and he was used on the top power play.
This is because Ales Hemsky left the game with a concussion. He apparently suffered it in an earlier game and had been playing with it. Band. Aid. BOY. If Martin Havlat keeps playing games...or Souray is out of the NHL, then Hemsky is certainly up for a job on the Band-Aid Boy executive committee.
By the way, this committee meets once per week to discuss how far different body parts can stretch before snapping, and the precise velocity that a stick needs to hit a skull to give a concussion. Then they use this knowledge to bring us different slants on how they get injured.
Naturally, Hemsky out means lots more opportunity for Mr. Omark, who I think will be the next Hemsky (but hopefully less fragile).
TJ Oshie played 17:53 in his return, but was held without a point. He'll be a few games I'm sure.
Matt D'Agostini took the biggest ice time hit, though he still scored a goal - beware.
Carlo Colaiacovo, of course, left the game. Hit in the face with a puck, this time.
Michal Neuvirth left the game with a LBI after one period. Look for Holtby to get called up. Varlamov will have a run of starts I'm sure.
Last night I posted a thread indicating my need for a new writer here on DobberHockey. Interested in details? It's all here.
As usual, more to come later in the morning...
Parros vs. Carkner: