News: Ryan Miller (knee) faced shots at Thursday's optional practice, Irfaan Gaffar of Sportsnet reports. Analysis: It's a positive sign for the goalie, but there still appears to be significant doubt that he'll be back before the regular season draws to a close. For the moment, the Canucks seem to be eyeing a postseason return for Ryan Miller, but given that he hasn't played since Feb. 22, it may be difficult for him to immediately win back the No. 1 goalie role.
News: Brad Richardson (ankle) participated in Thursday's morning skate, but remains questionable to play later in the evening against the Avalanche. Analysis: Brad Richardson was able to practice with the team Wednesday as well, but with the center suggesting he'd likely be day-to-day for the remainder of the season, his availability may remain in question for any given night. That sort of unreliability makes it tough to justify rostering him, even in deeper formats.
News: Zach Bogosian (lower body) is slated to play Thursday against the Coyotes. Analysis: Zach Bogosian, who has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury, checks back into the Sabres' lineup with four helpers and 30 PIM in 12 games since joining the team in a trade with the Jets.
News: Pekka Rinne will be in the net Thursday against the Lightning, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Analysis: He'll square off against the Bolts' Ben Bishop, whose 36 wins on the season trail only Pekka Rinne (39) and the Habs' Carey Price (40). Rinne will have his work cut out for him in slowing the Bolts' powerful attack, but the goalie's impressive ratios this season (2.08 GAA, .927 save percentage) and over his last several outings probably makes him a safe activation Thursday, though a less attractive play in daily formats.
News: Ryan Murray (lower body) will not join the Blue Jackets' on their two-game road trip over the weekend, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: Ryan Murray won't return to the Columbus lineup any sooner than next Tuesday against the Devils, but since he has yet to resume skating since suffering the injury, fantasy owners shouldn't count on him being available by then. The blueliner has been limited to just 10 games this season.
News: Rene Bourque (upper body) is expected to travel with the Blue Jackets on the team's upcoming two-game road trip. Analysis: That said, it remains unclear at this stage if Rene Bourque is considered a candidate to play either Friday in Chicago, Saturday in St. Louis, or even in both contests.
News: Alexander Wennberg (hand) will not travel with the Blue Jackets for their two-game road trip over the weekend. Analysis: Alexander Wennberg has since returned to Columbus after he was briefly required to remain in Vancouver upon sustaining a hand infection in a game last week against the Canucks, but it's not clear when his return to the lineup might come. He'll miss his third and fourth consecutive games due to the infection.
News: Brandon Dubinsky (upper body) practiced Thursday. Analysis: Meanwhile, coach Todd Richards indicated Thursday that Brandon Dubinsky -- who last played on March 15 -- is expected to suit up for Columbus on Friday against Chicago. The team should make an official ruling on Dubinsky's status following Friday's morning skate.
News: Brian Elliott is slated to start Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets, NHL.com's Lou Korac reports. Analysis: Moreover, Korac relays via coach Ken Hitchcock that Brian Elliott is in line to see the majority of the Blues' starts heading into playoffs, noting that Hitchcock rewarded Jake Allen for his strong game in Detroit last Sunday with another start in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
News: Gabriel Landeskog scored a power-play goal and dished out an assist Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Canucks. Analysis: That's points in three straight and seven points in the last five games for Gabriel Landeskog, who's at least partially compensated for his severe struggles throughout the first half of the season by rounding into form for the second half. March has been his strongest month by far, as he's racked up six goals and 14 points in 11 games.