James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Tough breaks

Friday, December 30, 2011

This week’s set of Daily Doses have been pretty positive overall, I’d say. Players have come back from concussions, others seem primed to return soon and healthy players whose games were dormant seemed to come alive. It certainly seemed like we’d enter 2012 with a big bucket of optimism.


Unfortunately, the Friday edition isn’t going to be full of sunshine, smiles and s’mores. Thursday afternoon introduced a couple bits of bad news while the nighttime games included a couple injuries that could really hurt some fantasy owners. Let’s take a look at some of the injuries that happened or were clarified since the last Daily Dose.



Shot blocking is a noble pursuit, but some might argue that it’s also a foolish one – or at least a risky decision. For that reason, my inner GM always gets a little nervous when a high-priced player puts his body on the line in that way. Sure, it’s extremely admirable that Ryan Callahan is so willing to interfere with the progress of a high-velocity piece of a vulcanized rubber, but is it worth it to possibly lose such a valuable player on such a routine play?


(Sadly, the minimum wage guys are probably the ones who should lay in front of shots, even if they’re getting the poorest pay checks in exchange for the biggest bruises.)


Anyway, troubled defenseman James Wisniewski ended up blocking Mike Ribeiro’s shot last night and it will cost him and the eternally befuddled Columbus Blue Jackets. Head coach Scott Arniel announced that Wisniewski suffered a broken ankle. About the “best” news is that GM Scott Howson said that it might not be a season-ending injury. CBJ will know better once doctors examine the ankle sometime today.


Whether he’s done for 2011-12 or just on the sidelines for a significant amount of time, Wisniewski’s had a disastrous debut season with Columbus. His 17 points are pretty solid, but he had that eight-game suspension and has a putrid -18 rating this season.


Honestly, I’m not totally sure he’s really worthy of an IR slot, especially if your league only gives you one. (And shame on a league that doesn’t have any IR slots …)



It’s been a really up-and-down season for Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche. Some might say that it’s been mostly “down” as the third overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft hasn’t really kept stride with the No. 1 pick of that draft, John Tavares.


While Tavares sliced through the Calgary Flames defense as part of a 3-1 Islanders win last night, Duchene merely sliced up his right knee. Word is that he seemed to hit a rut in the ice and came up limping.


Much like with Wisniewski and Columbus, the Colorado Avalanche won’t know how bad the injury is until Duchene undergoes an MRI today. As inconsistent and sometimes frustrating as Duchene has been this season, it would still be a major blow if the Avalanche lost the speedy center for a significant amount of time.



The latest word is that Shea Weber is “doubtful” for Sunday. That’s really kind of a relief considering how shaky it seemed when there was some talk that the star defenseman might have been back by today. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.


Sure, fantasy owners want him back ASAP, but not every player can return as seamlessly as Claude Giroux and a few others have from head injuries.



Tired of the Mike Green updates yet? Sorry, so am I, but considering his potential for impact, he’s worth discussing. You’ll need to keep an eye on updates at Rotoworld for this one because it’s quite possible that he might play this weekend … or next week. He seems to waffle one way or another in interviews, so it’s tough to nail down an exact date.



I’d like to know what kind of stats returning stars put up when they get booed every time they touch the puck. Look, I understand that fans want to express their distaste over being “betrayed” by a player who didn’t want to be there any more or what have you. The thing is, by jeering a guy like Jaromir Jagr, you’re merely lighting his fire.


So how did that work out for Pittsburgh Penguins fans? Jagr scored a beauty of a backhand goal (and gave his trademark salute) while Maxime Talbot even got an empty-netter. The Philadelphia Flyers won 4-2 and Penguins fans left with sore throats and plenty of disappointments.



Steve Mason finally got a win, stopping 36 shots in a 4-1 against the Dallas Stars. Not sure I’d say it’s time to invest in him and CBJ, but if you’ve shown the amazing patience to stick with him, it finally paid off on Thursday … Eric Staal scored two goals (including the OT-winner) and an assist in less than 15 minutes of game-time to help Carolina come back from a 3-1 deficit midway through the third against Toronto … Kari Lehtonen didn’t look great in his return, but at least he’s back … Chris Mason (shutout) won a battle of backups against Jonathan Bernier (one goal allowed) … Raphael Diaz now has five assists in his last two games. It’s getting tougher to argue against adding him, at least on the short term … Speaking of guys I’m not totally sold on, Tyler Kennedy’s been on fire lately, with seven points in his last five games. Not sure I trust him to continue to produce either, but it’s hard to argue with his results lately.



Ales Hemsky played on Thursday, but you know the drill: talented player, might not be worth the headaches that come with his fragility … Alex Tanguay might be “week-to-week” with his injury … Sounds like Kris Russell will be out for about three weeks. (Click here for the full injury list.)

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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