News: Ben Bishop will be in the net Thursday vs. the Panthers, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Analysis: Ben Bishop is the middle of his worst stretch in an otherwise magnificent season, as he's dropped four straight outings, with his save percentage falling below .900 in three of those instances. In Bishop's defense the caliber of competition he faced was high. A matchup against the sad-sack Panthers could be exactly what he needs to get back on track.
News: Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) skated with fellow injured forwards Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm before Thursday's practice, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Until Mikael Samuelsson joins his healthy teammates for a full practice, he shouldn't be viewed as close to getting back in the lineup. Samuelsson saw scant minutes with the Red Wings before getting injured and could be dispatched to the minors once he's activated from IR.
News: Darren Helm (head) skated with fellow injured forwards Stephen Weiss and Mikael Samuelsson before Thursday's practice, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Until Darren Helm joins his healthy teammates for a full practice, he shouldn't be viewed as close to getting back in the lineup. He's missed the past four games with concussion symptoms.
News: Zac Rinaldo (upper body) took part in Thursday's practice, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly reports. Analysis: Zac Rinaldo missed Tuesday's game against the Devils with the upper-body injury. His return to practice bodes well for his chances of suiting up Saturday vs. the Penguins, but Chris VandeVelde remains on hand to take Rinaldo's spot in the lineup if he endures a setback over the next couple of days.
News: Sami Salo (lower body) will draw back into the lineup Thursday vs. the Panthers, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Analysis: Sami Salo was forced to exit Tuesday's game against the Coyotes after logging just three minutes of ice time, but he was back on the ice for Wednesday's practice and doesn't look like he'll miss any further action. Injuries have plagued the 39-year-old throughout his lengthy career, but Tuesday's injury qualifies as only a minor bump.
News: Coach Todd Richards said that there's a chance Fedor Tyutin (ankle) will return from injured reserve for Saturday's game vs. the Wild, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Richards noted that Fedor Tyutin's ankle has improved dramatically the last few days, and while he won't be able to suit up Thursday vs. the Sharks, he could be good to go after a few more practices. In spite of the injury, the 30-year-old Tyutin is enjoying his seventh straight 20-point season.
News: Cam Atkinson will return to the lineup Thursday vs. the Sharks, Dan Kamal of FOX Sports Ohio reports. Analysis: A healthy scratch the last three games for the Blue Jackets, Cam Atkinson will likely be replacing Artem Anisimov (personal), who is away from the team as he awaits the birth of his first child. Coach Todd Richards said that Atkinson will have plenty to prove in his return, with a poor performance likely resulting in another prolonged stay in the press box.
News: Artem Anisimov (personal) is not expected to play Thursday vs. the Sharks, Dan Kamal of FOX Sports Ohio reports. Analysis: Coach Todd Richards already said that Cam Atkinson would enter the lineup Thursday, with Artem Anisimov looking like the easy scratch as he awaits the birth of his first child. Look for Anisimov to return to the lineup Saturday vs. the Wild.
News: Tuomo Ruutu (personal) missed practice Thursday but is expected to join his teammates in Florida for Friday's game vs. the Panthers, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. Analysis: Tuomo Ruutu's wife had been set to give birth for the last few days, and it appears Thursday will go down as the official due date. The forward will take the day off to be with his family before taking a private flight to Florida. He's expected to remain on the top line with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr on Friday night.
News: Dmitry Orlov agreed to a two-year, $4 million extension Thursday. Analysis: The 22-year-old has provided three goals, six assists and 19 penalty minutes over 38 games for the Capitals. He's logged consistent ice time since being recalled from the minors in November, and the two-year pact seemingly locks him into full-time duty for the foreseeable future.