News: Carter Hutton will be in the crease for Thursday's game against the Blues, Kristopher Martel of FOX Sports reports. Analysis: The Predators will kick off a back-to-back set Thursday, so coach Peter Laviolette will save Carter Hutton for the tougher matchup while backup Marek Mazanec presumably gets the nod Friday in Colorado. While Hutton currently slots in as the Preds' top netminder with Pekka Rinne (knee) unavailable, he probably hasn't created much distance between himself and Mazanec. Over his four starts in place of Rinne, Hutton has gone 2-1-1, but posted a mediocre .876 save percentage.
News: Jeremy Morin, who was placed on IR on Wednesday with what was labeled an upper-body injury, required hospitalization Tuesday night due to an elevated heart rate, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he wasn't sure if Jeremy Morin would require ongoing testing for his heart, but the club decided it was in the 23-year-old's best interest to rule him out indefinitely. Morin will likely be reassessed by team doctors once he's released from the hospital, after which the Blue Jackets may choose to offer a firmer timetable for his return.
News: Ryan Murray (knee) will not play Thursday against the Panthers, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Ryan Murray practiced fully with the Blue Jackets a day earlier and was cleared by doctors to travel with the team to South Florida, but it looks like the team will exercise some precaution and give him some additional recovery time. The blueliner has been progressing well lately after remaining in a long-term holding pattern with his recovery from the knee injury, so he could make his long-awaited return over the weekend in Tampa Bay for the final game of the road trip.
News: Kevin Connauton (illness) will play Thursday against the Panthers. Analysis: Kevin Connauton was absent from Wednesday's practice due to the illness, but the Blue Jackets were never seriously concerned that he'd be forced to sit out Thursday's game. He verified that he was healthy enough by taking part in the Jackets' morning skate, enabling him to reclaim his lineup spot on the second pairing next to James Wisniewski.
News: Artem Anisimov (triceps) was activated from injured reserve Thursday. Analysis: As anticipated, this confirms that Artem Anisimov will suit up for Thursday's game against the Panthers. The 26-year-old missed 23 games due to the torn triceps and had already sat out another seven earlier in the season with an upper-body injury, limiting his impact thus far for the Blue Jackets. He'll center the club's third line in his return to action.
News: Curtis McElhinney will be between the pipes for Thursday's game against the Panthers. Analysis: Curtis McElhinney didn't perform particularly well in his first outing following Sergei Bobrovsky's placement on IR due to a groin injury, stopping just 25 of 28 shots in Tuesday's win over the Capitals. While the win was nice, fantasy owners shouldn't count on stellar numbers from McElhinney during his run as the Jackets' primary netminder. He fared poorly when Bobrovsky missed most of December due to a groin issue, and owns a meager 2.98 GAA and .906 save percentage over 16 outings on the season.
News: Mike Smith will be in the net for Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. Analysis: Mike Smith has shown signs of improvement of late, but it still hasn't been enough for him to break his losing streak, which is now at six games. The sagging Leafs, losers of seven straight in their own right, could provide a soft landing spot for Smith, who needs the confidence boost perhaps more than any goalie out there. Smith's 7-20-4 record, 3.49 GAA, and .889 save percentage over 32 games this season rarely makes him playable at this point.
News: Mark Stuart (lower body) was activated from injured reserve Thursday. Analysis: Mark Stuart missed only two games due to the lower-body ailment. Now that the minor injury is behind him, Stuart is expected to join Jacob Trouba on the Jets' third pairing, giving the team its optimal arrangement on the blue line. Trouba will assume more of a puck-moving role of the two players, while Stuart figures to bring superior hit and block totals.
News: T.J. Galiardi was placed on waivers Thursday. Analysis: T.J. Galiardi had previously been placed on waivers in November, but he ended up sticking with the Jets rather than reporting to AHL St. John's. Injuries had necessitated his placement in the lineup, but the subsequent returns of Evander Kane and Mathieu Perreault have since relegated him back to healthy scratch duty. With just one point in 26 games this season, Galiardi should clear waivers Friday without too much fanfare.
News: Petr Mrazek will stay in the crease for Thursday's game against the Lightning, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Petr Mrazek barely eeked out a win Tuesday against the Panthers, allowing four goals but making 37 saves in the victory. He's yielded four goals in his last two turns while facing a barrage of shots, and had been pulled in his previous start before that against the Sabres after surrendering three goals on seven shots. While his standing as the Red Wings' No. 1 goalie won't be challenged while Jimmy Howard (groin) and Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) remain on injured reserve, Mrazek isn't looking like an especially dependable option right now. If other alternatives exist, it may be prudent to keep him on the bench Thursday against a powerful Bolts attack.