James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Sorting out a messy NHL night

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Most nights provide the Daily Dose with an obvious top focus. Tuesday night wasn’t like that, though. Instead, there were a lot of small-but-potentially big stories that deserve your attention. There were injuries, great performances, near-injuries and solid debuts. Let’s go one-by-one and try to make sense out of a messy evening in the NHL.



The first entry in the injured or nearly-injured category is Roberto Luongo. A wayward puck caught him in the neck/throat, forcing him to leave a match against the Colorado Avalanche last night. The bad news is that he didn’t get back on the ice in that game, but the good news is that he did return to the bench. That doesn’t mean he’s ready to start right away, but it’s a solid sign that the injury isn’t too serious. (You should keep your eye on Rotoworld for additional updates, then.)


Naturally, this could be good news for Cory Schneider owners. Schneider didn’t get credit for the win on Tuesday, but he stopped all 20 of the shots he faced as the Vancouver Canucks won by a rousing 6-0 score.


As far as Canucks you can actually acquire, Jannik Hansen might be worth a look. He’s getting a spin with the top-six forwards again and he’s showing that he can hang. He scored two goals against the Colorado Avalanche and has five points in his last five games. Sure, he’s a guy who might not have long-term value, but if you have the patience for or get a thrill out of riding the waves of a “revolving door” lineup, then Hansen is your next fix.



While Luongo’s mysterious injury situation is a bit more troubling, Corey Perry seems likely to be OK. He needed help off the ice after he fell and then got caught with a cross-check from Dustin Penner, but he returned to the game and drew a penalty. Naturally, these situations can change once a team gets the chance to evaluate a player. (Kris Letang coming back from that Max Pacioretty hit to score an OT GWG only to go on the IR with a concussion is a great example.)


It would be a shame if Perry missed time because he's showing signs of heating up, as he collected his 12th goal of the season last night. My guess is that Perry was hurt rather than injured, but it’s wise to keep your eyes open.


Bobby Ryan owners should be heartened whether Perry was injured or not, though. Ryan played more than 19 minutes last night and notched Anaheim’s two other tallies, including the winning goal. One game doesn’t mean that much, but it could be a sign of better things to come.



The Minnesota Wild beat the San Jose Sharks, but they lost in one area: injuries. Nick Shultz accidentally elbowed Josh Harding in the head, knocking him out of last night’s game and likely sidelining him for Thursday (and maybe beyond). Shockingly enough, Matt Hackett stopped all 34 shots he saw in about 59 minutes of time to win in his first NHL game.


Word is that Niklas Backstrom might actually be back to face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, so Hackett might not even be a solid short-term pickup. (If you decided to drop Backstrom because of his groin injury issues, you should probably be on alert to add him again soon. Use your own discretion as far as if that time is now or if you want to make sure he’s truly healthy.)


In other Wild injury news, Devin Setoguchi is rumored to have a knee injury. He hasn’t exactly started his first season in Minnesota on fire (just 13 points in 28 games), but it’s still a blow to a Minnesota team that doesn’t exactly light up scoreboards. That knee injury hasn’t been confirmed, but then again, when do teams confirm these kinds of details anyway? (Maybe the Colorado Avalanche is doing that with Peter Mueller and his head injury, but that might be a sign of just how bad things are in his case more than anything else.)




Kevin Porter caught David Booth with an ugly knee-to-knee injury last night. Porter was tossed from the game and might face a suspension, but the Canucks winger could be out for a while, if the pain on his face was any indication. Booth was finally finding some chemistry with (also injured) winger Christopher Higgins and center Ryan Kesler on “The American Express line."


One more quick injury note: Word is that Kristian Huselius got injured again. I haven’t heard many specifics, other than it might not be related to the ailments that kept him on the IR in the first place. With that in mind, stick with the basic theme of today’s Daily Dose: make a mental note of that player and keep your eyes open for injury news. It’s likely that more will be known on Wednesday and beyond.


(Click here for the full injury list.)



Daniel Sedin earned his fifth career hat trick last night. The Sedin twins aren’t always the sexiest choices, but they might just be the most reliable. Daniel’s winger status and goal scoring superiority tends to make him the best of two, as well … Jordin Tootoo received a two-game suspension. The one bit of good news is that there were probably a lot of “Two for Tootoo” headlines in Predators stories … After his two-goal game, it’s becoming clear that David Clarkson is rising as a “decent points + great PIM” guy. He has 11 points and 52 penalty minutes so far this season … Judging from an unsettling 5-1 loss to the Islanders, it’s starting to look like Tampa Bay’s struggles aren’t going away anytime soon … I thought Steve Mason’s return from injury would mess things up for Curtis Sanford, but he managed to get the win on Tuesday, so maybe this is a sign that the Blue Jackets are wise to the disparity between the two goalies … Speaking of backups-turned-top-guys, Brian Elliott earned his 11th win of the season by beating the Detroit Red Wings for the second time … Ondrej Pavelec ended the Boston Bruins points streak at 14-0-1. That also bumped his current run to a three-game winning streak. You should probably expect some ups and downs with “Ondrej the Giant” but the best thing in his favor is that he’s clearly the No. 1 start in Winnipeg this season. If you need a guy to soak up some starts and (hopefully) even put up some nice numbers, Pavelec might be a good option. (Just don’t expect spectacular results.)


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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