Ben Eager was just traded to Chicago for Jim Vandermeer. This deal makes no sense to me... analysis to come. 


Sean Avery is targeting Thursday or Saturday as his return to the lineup. He has been practicing with the team for several days now. 


Brett Sterling has 15 goals and 24 points in 19 AHL games. If the Thrashers continue to slump, expect him to get the call.


Evgeni Malkin lost an edge in practice and fell awkwardly, hurting his knee. He is apparently okay, but it's not like teams give truthful, detailed reports. I'll keep an eye on the situation, but it's probably nothing.


Kimmo Timonen will likely be back in the lineup tonight for Philly.


Simon Gagne is not looking at returning before Christmas, in case you had any hope.


Jonathan Cheechoo (groin) is not yet skating. He is probably not returning before Christmas. 


Gilbert Brule has inflamed tonsils and will likely not play tonight. He has just four points this season, but has improved his defensive game. It looks like he will be couple of years away from becoming an offensive asset, so if you are rebuilding in a keeper league you could get him for cheap right now with an eye towards 2009.


Mike Peca has a strained pectoral muscle and will miss tonight's contest. He has now officially run the full spectrum of injuries and will start again from the beginning in the New Year.


Michal Handzus has six points in his last seven games and is now producing at a level I expected of him in the first place. He is a plus-4 in that span, with 15 shots.


Patrick O'Sullivan has five points in his last five games.


John-Michael Liles has five points in his last five games as well. He is starting to turn things around, but he's always just a bad pass away from the press box. It's never good when the coach isn't a fan of your work.


Cory Murphy still has not practiced with the Panthers and is nowhere near playing a game. Expect him gone until the New Year.


I wrote today's Daily Slate , with the feature being Nashville's inability to score. Actually, I will be writing the Daily Slate throughout the rest of December, covering off holidays for people.


While I'm on the topic of my work, my article for The Hockey News yesterday was about the Buffalo Sabres.


The Preds have shuffled their lines to try to spark the offense (which is why I thought of mentioning my Slate). Dumont has been dropped to an energy line and Tootoo pushed up to a scoring line. Arnott with Tootoo and Erat, Nichol with Dumont and Smithson, Bonk with Gelinas and Ortmeyer, and the Legwand Radulov Fiddler line remained intact.


The Preds top PP line was Arnott, Gelinas, Erat, Hamhuis and Zidlicky. PP 1A is Bonk, Legwand, Radulov, Koistinen and Weber. They also decided to add a third group: Fiddler, Dumont, Tootoo, Suter and Zidlicky again. 


Raffi Torres suffered a knee injury Saturday and will be out for three or four weeks, after which it will be decided whether or not he needs surgery. If he does, his season is in jeopordy.


With the leave of absence of Chris Simon, the Islanders recalled Blake Comeau from the AHL. Comeau's play has slipped this season versus last, but he has become more of an edgier player.


The Rangers have recalled Al Montoya. Henrik Lundqvist is still suffering from the flu.


The Ducks recalled Ryan Carter. He won't have any fantasy impact this season.


Tomas Holmstrom was back in the Detroit lineup and returned to the top line, picking up two points. The line combined for seven points last night (Datsyuk and Zetterberg).


The Canucks assigned G Drew McIntyre to Manitoba. Luongo is ready to return, but no word on if he will start. I'll be starting Sanford anyway, because Mason is just killing me right now and I'd rather nobody at all play than him.

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