News: Kris Versteeg (hand) isn't expected to play during the Blackhawks' six-game road trip that kicks off Wednesday in Los Angeles, Eric Lear of Blackhawks TV reports. Analysis: Kris Versteeg instead remained in Chicago, taking to the ice Wednesday morning for conditioning work. Because he's dealing with a fractured hand rather than a lower-body ailment, Versteeg's presence on the ice won't mean much until he's cleared to absorb contact.
News: Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) returned to practice with the Stars on Wednesday and will be a game-time decision on Thursday, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Analysis: Brett Ritchie practiced fully on Monday, but wasn't quite there on Tuesday. He was rotating in and out of the third line at Wednesday's practice and may return on Thursday. Check back Thursday before dropping him into your Thursday roster.
News: Erik Cole (upper body) returned to practice on Wednesday and will be a game-time decision on Thursday, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Analysis: Erik Cole left a Jan. 20 game against the Bruins with an injury and hasn't yet returned. He was fortunate that his absence extended over the All-Star break, as it doesn't sound like he'll have to miss much actual game action.
News: Tyler Kennedy is dealing with a lower body injury, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News. Analysis: As a result, Tyler Kennedy won't play Thursday against the Ducks, with his status beyond that contest not yet clarified.
News: Casey Cizikas contributed an assist in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Rangers. He also won 13 of his 18 faceoff attempts. Analysis: Casey Cizikas has done well to win over half of his draws in the faceoff circle this season (51.6%), but his absence of scoring has sapped him of fantasy value. He's only produced four goals and seven assists in 43 games this season, which still puts him on pace for a career-best scoring total.
News: Boyd Gordon netted the Oilers' only goal in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat to the Wild. Analysis: He got the Oilers on the board late in the second period when his wraparound shot bounced off the skate of Wild forward Kyle Brodziak and into the net. With only 10 points in 43 games this season, Boyd Gordon offers limited ability as a scorer, but he makes up for it through his dominance in the faceoff circle. He ranks 12th in the league with 464 faceoff victories and holds a higher winning percentage (56.0%) than all but three of those players above him.
News: Tuomo Ruutu (illness) has been activated from IR by New Jersey, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Tuomo Ruutu is evidently healthy enough to play Wednesday against the Leafs, but with just eight points and 20 PIM in 43 games to date, he's only an option in deeper formats.
News: Sean Monahan tallied an assist in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Sabres. Analysis: Though the 20-year-old saw his goal streak hit the skids at four games, he was at least able to keep his run of consecutive games with a point alive. His quick learning curve as the team's No. 1 center has been a key reason the Flames have been surprisingly competitive in the Western Conference this season. With 15 goals and 16 assists in 48 games, he's just three points shy of matching the point total he posted as a rookie.
News: Taylor Hall is day-to-day with a lower leg injury. Analysis: Per coach Todd Nelson, Taylor Hall is dealing with "a bone bruise," and while it doesn't sound like an especially serious injury, the forward's status for Thursday's game against the Sabres is cloudy.
News: Mark Giordano notched an assist and four shots on goal in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Sabres. Analysis: Mark Giordano still finds himself as the league's top-scoring blueliner with 41 points, and it's actually quite surprising he hasn't created some more separation from the Blues' Kevin Shattenkirk (39 points) in light of his recent play. In his last five games, Giordano has racked up six points and 17 shot attempts. If those shot totals keep up, the goals could start coming in droves for Giordano, who has surprisingly found the net just once in his last 13 contests.