News: Shawn Thornton (groin) was unable to practice Saturday, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Analysis: Coach Gerard Gallant said earlier in the week that Shawn Thornton would begin skating after the Christmas break, but that failed to come to fruition Saturday. It will only push back his return date further, making it unlikely that Thornton suits up again until after the New Year.
News: Braden Holtby was the first goaltender off the ice at practice, and is expected to start in goal Saturday against the Penguins, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports. Analysis: Braden Holtby will look to bounce back from his previous outing in which he allowed four goals on 27 shots in a losing effort against the Rangers. The NHL's holiday break should have provided the 25 year old net minder with some valuable time off, and fantasy owners should expect Holtby to be fresh and ready to go Saturday. Holtby is 15-8-5 on the season with a 2.30 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
News: Jaden Schwartz (foot) could resume skating in the next few days. Analysis: The Blues haven't been able to discern a timetable for Jaden Schwartz's recovery from the broken foot, but coach Ken Hitchcock said one should become available once Schwartz starts skating. Even if that comes to fruition within the next week, Schwartz would probably need to practice for several more days before an activation would be considered.
News: Carl Gunnarsson (concussion) skated with the team at Saturday's morning session. Analysis: While Carl Gunnarsson won't suit up for Saturday's game with the Stars, coach Ken Hitchcock noted that the blueliner is now being viewed as day-to-day. Since he's been sidelined since Dec. 6, he may need another full practice or two to get his conditioning up to par, but a return to the lineup at some point next week would seem realistic.
News: Michael Hutchinson will get the start in net on Saturday against the Wild, Shane Hnidy of TSN reports. Analysis: While Head Coach Paul Maurice claims the decision to start Michael Hutchinson in consecutive games was made weeks ago based on the Jets' schedule only, it may indicate that the Jets have decided to make Hutchinson their featured goaltender, with Ondrej Pavelec taking on a more complimentary role going forward. It's still too early to tell for certain, but the fact that this is the first time a Jets' goaltender has made back to back starts since November 20th/23rd is certainly telling. Hutchinson has been phenomenal this season. He leads the league both in GAA (1.67) and save percentage (.944), and boasts an 8-2-2 record.
News: Mikhail Grigorenko was recalled from AHL Rochester on Saturday, John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports. Analysis: The Sabres will only get a few of their injured forwards back in time for Saturday's game against the Islanders, leaving a lineup spot open for Mikhail Grigorenko. The former first-round pick has one point in his previous four games with the Sabres, but did collect three helpers in his most recent game with Rochester.
News: Brad Richards (upper body) will not play Saturday against the Avalanche, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports. Analysis: Brad Richards didn't travel with the team to Colorado, but should start skating on his own back in Chicago at some point over the weekend. Coach Joel Quenneville seemed optimistic that Richards -- who will miss his third straight game -- would be available for Monday's match with Nashville, but he'll first need to partake with the team at morning skate before that materializes.
News: Michal Rozsival (lower body) will not play Saturday against the Avalanche, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports. Analysis: Michal Rozsival was forced out of Tuesday's game against the Jets with the injury and was unable to take part in Saturday's morning skate, indicating he's still feeling the effects of the injury. Tim Erixon will take his spot on Chicago's third defensive pairing.
News: Head coach Paul Maurice has stressed that the Jets' goalie rotation between Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson will continue after the NHL's three-day holiday break, Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press reports. Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec will continue to split starts with Hutchinson for the time being. However, Pavelec has struggled as of late, losing three of his last four games while giving up at least three goals in each of those losses. Meanwhile, Hutchinson has gone 8-2-2 this season while posting a league-leading 1.67 GAA as well as a league-leading .944 save percentage. If Pavelec continues to struggle, and Hutchinson continues to dominate, Pavelec may find himself on Winnipeg's bench more often than he finds himself starting in net moving forward.
News: Jeff Schultz was recalled from AHL Manchester on Saturday. Analysis: The Kings had sent Jeff Schultz back to the minors following Monday's loss to the Flames. He'll be back to serve as the club's seventh defenseman for most of their games.