The Fantasy Hockey Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Teams with four games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver
Teams with three games: Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington
Teams with two games: Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, N.Y. Rangers, San Jose
Teams with one game: Montreal
Fantasy Week 12 (Dec. 22-28)
It's the height of the holiday season and we here at CBSSports.com would like to wish you and your family the best during the final weeks of 2008.
The NHL will take some time off Wednesday and Thursday to celebrate Christmas, so on Tuesday there will be a week-high 13 games. Eight teams are playing just two games and one team -- Montreal -- is playing just once because of the shortened week.
Despite the unique scheduling in Week 12, there are no early games Monday, so Fantasy owners still have most of the day to tweak your lineups.
Editors Note: Projections are for Dec. 22-28 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is away from the team for personal reasons, but he is expected to rejoin them Monday in Vancouver. Even if Giguere is not game ready for Monday, the Ducks play four times Week 12 and Giguere is still a safe Fantasy start. Backup Jonas Hiller might be worth a look in leagues that use average points per game ... Speaking of the Ducks' four-game road schedule, Anaheim plays three teams that rank in the bottom 10 for defense -- Calgary, St. Louis and Dallas. Despite the fact Anaheim averages just 2.31 goals per game on the road; consider starting your Ducks skaters ... Forward Brad Larsen, who has been out since Oct. 3 hernia surgery, has surgery Dec. 5 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and is not expected to play again this season ... Chris Kunitz has been red hot lately with three goals and four assists in five games ... Teemu Selanne has not scored a goal in five games ... Rookie Bobby Ryan has two goals and two assists in his last five games.
Atlanta Thrashers: Prospect Angelo Esposito has been named to Team Canada for the 2009 World Junior Championships. The 19-year-old has totaled 15 goals and 27 points in his first 21 games for Quebec of the QMJHL (juniors). He is likely to spend the entire season in junior hockey and still remains just more of a long-term Fantasy keeper ... Starting goalie Kari Lehtonen has been activated from IR because of a back injury that has kept him out since Oct. 30. He still might not be an ideal start Week 12, but he is worth a look as a No. 3 Fantasy goalie when healthy. Ondrej Pavelec has been sent to the minors to make room ... Rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian, who has been sidelined since Oct. 28 with a broken leg, practiced with the team Monday. Still, coach John Anderson said it could be two weeks until he is able to play in a game ... Erik Christensen skated with the team prior to Thursday's game against Pittsburgh, but was still held out with a shoulder injury. It does appear he is close to returning. ... Defenseman Mathieu Schneider has missed seven games with a hamstring injury and might only be ready to play as soon as Bogosian is ready so Atlanta can get the two back in a defensive pairing ... Atlanta is up for four games Week 12 with three home contests. The Thrashers rank 25th in home GFA (2.50), but they face three teams with GAAs 2.88 or higher -- Carolina, Toronto and N.Y. Islanders. Consider starting your Atlanta skaters ... Defenseman Nathan Oystrick has one goal and four assists in his last six games.
Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron missed only one game with the flu before playing Thursday against Toronto. He has three assists in his last four games, but hasn't scored in 10 outings ... Marco Sturm returned from a 12-game absence Thursday because of a neck injury, but lasted less than a period before injuring his knee. He is not a recommended start Week 12 ... Phil Kessel's NHL-leading streak has reached 16 games. He has 14 goals and 11 assists during the run... David Krejci has three multi-assist games in his last six outings and 13 points (four goals) in six December games ... Defenseman Matt Hunwick has totaled 13 points (three goals) in his last 14 games ... Milan Lucic has three goals and two assists during a five-game point streak. He has 21 points, a plus-13 rating and 62 penalty minutes on the season and is quickly becoming a viable Fantasy option ... Defenseman Dennis Wideman has managed two goals and seven assists in his last eight games ... Center Marc Savard hadn't scored a goal in 10 games before lighting the lamp Thursday ... Boston hits the road for three games Week 12. They rank 14th in road GFA (2.71).
Buffalo Sabres: Buffalo's injury woes continue as they lost rookie forward Nathan Gerbe for at least two weeks because of an upper-body injury and defenseman Craig Rivet at least two weeks with a shoulder injury. We might not see either player until the New Year ... Right wing Drew Stafford has a four-game point streak and has tallied in five of the last six games. He has three goals and one assist during his streak and four goals and three assists over the six games ... Center Derek Roy has recorded points in 14 of 16 games. He extended his point streak to seven games with an assist Wednesday against the Devils, giving him seven goals and 11 assists since Nov. 14 ... The points have dried up for forward Clarke Macarthur. After having seven points in 10 October games, he has just six points in his last 20 outings and has been a healthy scratch because of his inconsistent play ... Jason Pominville has managed one goal and five assists in five games ... Jochen Hecht, who played on the top line Wednesday, has managed one goal and four assists in his last six games.
|1.||Brent Johnson, G, WAS||24|
|2.||Marian Gaborik, RW, MIN||18|
|2.||Andrew Ladd, LW, CHI||15|
|4.||Cam Ward, G, CAR||14|
|5.||Marc-Andre Fleury, G, PIT||13|
|6.||David Krejci, C, BOS||13|
|7.||Mats Sundin, C, VAN||11|
|8.||Matt Hunwick, D, BOS||11|
|9.||Michael Ryder, RW, BOS||10|
|10.||Craig Anderson, G, FLA||10|
Calgary Flames: Daymond Langkow made his 900th NHL game memorable as he scored a goal and tallied an assist during Wednesday's game against the Wild. The 13-year veteran has three goals and two assists in six games ... Jamie Lundmark played with Langkow and Todd Bertuzzi Wednesday. He has managed two points in two games since his recall from the minors, but he remains a wait-and-see Fantasy project since he doesn't have a great track record ... Curtis Glencross has missed two games with a leg injury and remains day-to-day ... Jarome Iginla has half of his eight December points in one of eight games as he tied his career-high with four points (two goals) Tuesday against the Blues ... Defenseman Dion Phaneuf has not scored a goal since Nov. 11 ... Bertuzzi ended his goal slump by scoring Wednesday. It was his first goal since Nov. 2. He has six points in his last seven games ... Michael Cammalleri has two goals and four assists in his last seven games ... David Moss and Rene Bourque have both scored four times in eight December games.
Carolina Hurricanes: Center Eric Staal has two multi-goal outings in the last four games. He has five goals in seven games under new coach Paul Maurice compared with eight goals in 25 games this season under former coach Peter Laviolette ... Defenseman Niclas Wallin is still in the press box trying to shake a lingering leg injury ... Sergei Samsonov has managed two goals and four assists in seven December games. He has four goals and seven assists in his last 14 games ... Ray Whitney has three goals and five assists in seven games ... Center Rod Brind'Amour has managed an assist in six of seven games after getting one in the previous seven ... Justin Williams notched his first goal of the season Thursday against the Panthers and has three points in seven games since coming off IR ... Defenseman Joe Corvo scored Tuesday against Montreal, ending a streak of 16 games without a goal. He added another goal Thursday.
Chicago Blackhawks: Defenseman Aaron Johnson has recovered from a rib injury that has kept him out since late November and has resumed skating with the team. He is eligible to come off IR ... Forward Andrew Ladd leads Chicago with 11 points (three goals) in seven December games. He had all of eight points in his first 22 games ... Patrick Kane, who leads the Western Conference in All-Star voting, has totaled nine points (two goals) in December. The 2007 No. 1 pick has 37 points in 29 games and is already a burgeoning Fantasy star in his second NHL season ... Defenseman Duncan Keith has one goal and four assists during a three-game point streak. He has seven points and a team-leading plus-10 rating in December ... Forward Martin Havlat has managed one goal and four assists in five games. More importantly -- knock on wood -- he has yet to succumb to injury in 2008-09 ... Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews lead the team with four December scores.
Colorado Avalanche: Defenseman Marek Svatos is having trouble shaking a back injury, but he still just remains on the day-to-day watch ... Defenseman Ruslan Salei returned to the lineup Thursday against the Lightning after being a healthy scratch Tuesday against the Flyers. Coach Tony Granato just wanted to give him a night off and get Daniel Tjarnqvist into the lineup. It was not because the 34-year-old defenseman has yet to score this season and has a minus-1 rating in 30 games ... David Jones is starting to get his confidence up with four goals in 10 games ... Jones, Ryan Smyth, Milan Hejduk, Svatos and Wojtek Wolski all have three goals in December ... Paul Stastny has scored in three straight games and leads the team with 11 points (five goals) in nine December games.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Rookie center Derick Brassard scored a goal Thursday against the Stars, but paid the ultimate price after fighting with James Neal. Brassard separated his shoulder and will miss 3-4 weeks. R.J. Umberger should remain the team's top-line center for the duration of Brassard's absence ... Jason Chimera has been placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury suffered Wednesday against the Sharks. 2004 first-round pick Alexandre Picard has been recalled to take his place. He had no points in six games during his first stint with Columbus ... Enforcer Ole-Kristian Tollefsen has also been placed on IR, but he is out 4-6 weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery ... Fellow enforcer Derek Dorsett came off IR after missing 2 1/2 weeks with a broken finger, but he has been told to avoid the rough stuff initially ... Defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who has been out since mid-November with an ankle injury, could return within the week. Still, he is a risky start Week 12 ... After stopping 47 shots Wednesday, goalie Steve Mason is first in the NHL with a 1.91 GAA and is fourth with a .929 save percentage ... Goalie Fredrik Norrena has refused an assignment to the minors and has been placed on unconditional waivers. He is expected to become a free agent shortly, but Norrena still should not be owned in Fantasy ... Fredrik Modin leads the team with five goals in nine December games.
Dallas Stars: Defenseman Sergei Zubov, who has played just 10 games this season, will undergo hip surgery in January and miss the remainder of the season. The veteran defender has been injury-plagued since 2007-08 and has become a risky play in Fantasy. He should be dropped in all seasonal formats and has little value in keeper leagues since his career might be over ... Joel Lundqvist and Steve Ott have both been activated off IR. Lundqvist missed 21 games with a shoulder injury and Ott was out 11 games with a broken hand ... Tom Wandell was returned to his Swedish team -- Timrk IK -- after playing four games with the Stars and scoring once ... Jere Lehtinen (upper body) is skating with his teammates and is getting closer to playing. Still, he remains a risky start for Week 12 ... Defenseman Stephane Robidas played Thursday against the Blue Jackets after missing three games with a jaw injury ... Loui Eriksson scored twice Tuesday against the Coyotes to snap a five-game point-less streak. It was his third multi-goal game of the season and he followed that up with a hat trick Thursday against Columbus for his fourth multi-goal game.
|1.||Ducks||@VAN, @CGY, @DAL, @STL|
|2.||Thrashers||TOR, @NYI, CAR, BOS|
|3.||Panthers||NSH, TB, @TB|
|4.||Maple Leafs||@ATL, DAL, @NYI, @WAS|
|5.||Canucks||ANA, @SJ, EDM, OTT|
Detroit Red Wings: Starting goalie Chris Osgood lost for only the second time in regulation Monday against the Avalanche -- the first time he has failed to garner a point since a season-opening 3-2 loss to Toronto. Osgood had gone 12-0-4 in his last 16 starts despite an inflated GAA (3.19) and poor save percentage (.876). He has been battling a groin injury for a few weeks, but is still dressing and not expected to miss any time ... Tomas Holmstrom has a goal in two of the last three games. He has regained his conditioning after struggling following an eight-game absence because of an inflamed disk ... Defenseman Niklas Kronwall is struggling badly with a minus-6 rating in his last 12 games and a minus-4 for the season. Kronwall broke out of his slump with a plus-4 rating Thursday against the Sharks, but before that he hadn't had a plus rating since Nov. 17 against Edmonton (plus-1) and no points in 10 games ... Defenseman Brian Rafalski is back on track with seven points in eight December games after getting just five points in 12 November games. He also has a plus-6 rating in December as opposed to minus-2 in November ... Forward Pavel Datsyuk ended a scoring slump with two goals Thursday against San Jose. He had gone 10 games without a goal ... Detroit is up for three games Week 12 against teams with GAAs 2.87 or higher -- Nashville, Colorado and St. Louis. Consider starting your Detroit skaters.
Edmonton Oilers: Rookie skater Rob Schremp was sent back to Springfield of the AHL after Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson came back from injury. He managed no goals and three assists in four games ... Gagner and Erik Cole continue to be major disappointments. They've combined for four goals through 29 games and it's a far cry from the 40 or 45 that was expected from the pair at the outset. Still, they continue to eat up major ice time as the Oilers struggle to find offense ... Marc-Antoine Pouliot, who has been ridiculed plenty in his career, has scored three times in the last six games ... Ales Hemsky has managed five goals and nine assists in his last 12 games ... Dustin Penner has six goals and five assists in his last 12 games ... Shawn Horcoff has totaled four goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games ... Defenseman Tom Gilbert hasn't scored since Nov. 18 and has just three points in eight games ... Defenseman Sheldon Souray hasn't scored in eight games, but has six assists in that span.
Florida Panthers: David Booth was back in the lineup Thursday against the Hurricanes for his first game since Nov. 30 because of a shoulder injury. He still leads the team with 12 goals ... Nathan Horton also came off IR Thursday and played his first game since Nov. 26 because of a cut ankle. He and Booth are two of Florida's most valuable Fantasy players ... Stephen Weiss dodged a serious head/neck injury suffered Dec. 14 against the Canucks to remain active for Florida. He has 11 points in his last 20 games ... Defenseman Keith Ballard dodged a serious knee injury in Dec. 14's game as well, but his offensive woes continue with just three points in his last 22 games ... Rookie forward Michael Frolik is starting to find his groove in the NHL as he has totaled two goals and seven assists in his last nine games ... Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has scored in three of five games and six of 11. He also has four assists in that span ... Defenseman Bryan McCabe has just one goal and two assists in his last 12 games ... Defenseman Nick Boynton has scored twice in five games, but still has just eight points in 28 contests ... Florida plays Tampa Bay twice and Nashville once Week 12. Both teams have GAAs 2.87 or higher, so it might be worth starting your Florida skaters.
Los Angeles Kings: Goalie Erik Ersberg is expected to miss at least two weeks with a groin injury. Jason LaBarbera is expected to start in his absence while Jonathan Quick is his backup ... Oscar Moller won't be back with the team until early January as he spends the next several weeks representing Sweden in the World Junior Championships ... In the four games since Dustin Brown was dropped from the first line to the second, he has totaled four goals and three assists ... Patrick O'Sullivan has one goal and six assists during a six-game point streak ... Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar lead the team with five December goals ... Defenseman Kyle Quincey has gone 16 games without scoring a goal.
Minnesota Wild: Marian Gaborik finally returned Wednesday against the Flames from a lower-body injury that kept him sidelined 27 games. He started on a line with LW Stephane Veilleux and C James Sheppard and ended with LW Andrew Brunette and C Mikko Koivu. He tallied a goal and assist. It appears safe to get Gaborik active for Week 12 ... Gaborik's return meant Brent Burns went back to defense after playing at forward since Oct. 30. Coach Jacques Lemaire still feels Burns can help the team more at forward, so his time on the blue line could be short ... Owen Nolan continues to be sidelined by a leg injury and won't be re-evaluated until next week ... Mikko Koivu has just two points and no goals in five games after getting eight goals and six assists in his previous 10 games ... Pierre-Marc Bouchard hasn't scored a goal in seven games and has just two points in that span.
Montreal Canadiens: Starting goalie Carey Price, who has a groin injury, has resumed skating and might play over the weekend. However, coach Guy Carbonneau could also play it safe and keep the potential All-Star out until after Christmas. If Price is not in the lineup Sunday against the Hurricanes, then he remains a risky start Week 12. Jaroslav Halak might be a decent stopgap option ... Montreal did receive a bit of good news Thursday against the Flyers with the return of defenseman Mike Komisarek, who played his first game in 16 outings since straining his shoulder Nov. 13. Komisarek returned to a pairing with Andrei Markov and registered three hits, blocked six shots and was plus-2 ... Sergei Kostitsyn, who has been in Carbonneau's doghouse, was used on the point for the power play Thursday and scored his fourth goal of the season. He also had an assist. They were his first points since Nov. 20 ... Brother Andrei Kostitsyn wasn't as lucky Thursday as he suffered a lower-body injury and is day-to-day ... Right wing Matt D'Agostini scored his fifth goal against Philadelphia. The rookie has six points in the nine games since his recall from the AHL ... Right wing Alexei Kovalev scored a goal Thursday for his 900th NHL point. Kovalev has scored in the last two games after going 19 contests without a goal. He has seven goals for the season and his 24 points tie Markov for the team scoring lead ... Center Robert Lang had four goals and five assists in seven games ... Montreal is the only team with one game Week 12, so consider benching your Canadiens skaters.
Nashville Predators: Goalie Dan Ellis has given up five goals in his last four starts. In his last nine games, Ellis has posted a 2.30 GAA and .914 save percentage. He has been putting in solid performances, but they are often not translating into wins since Nashville's offense has been sputtering ... Injured forward Steve Sullivan, who hasn’t played a NHL game since February 2007 because of a back injury, practiced twice with the team during the week but has yet to make any contact. There is no timetable for when he might play in a game ... Defenseman Shea Weber notched his 15th assist Thursday against Phoenix, surpassing his 2007-08 total ... Defenseman Ryan Suter has four assists in five games, but hasn't scored since Nov. 28 ... Center Jason Arnott hasn't scored in seven games and has just two assists in that span.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils have a tough slate Week 12 as they face the Bruins, Rangers and Penguins. All top 15 defenses and Pittsburgh just got back goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from a lower-body injury. Consider benching your Devils skaters ... Brian Rolston has not been back up on the team's top two scoring lines since missing 18 games with an ankle injury. Coach Brent Sutter doesn't intend to break up his top six since they have been playing well, so for now, Rolston is paired with Bobby Holik and David Clarkson ... Forward Patrik Elias has managed five goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak ... Zach Parise has 10 points in seven December games and already has managed double-digit points for a third straight month ... Jamie Langenbrunner has two goals and six assists in seven December games ... Brian Gionta is far behind with one goals and seven assists in December.
N.Y. Islanders: The countdown for Rick DiPietro's return to net has begun. The Islanders are targeting Friday's game against the Maple Leafs as DiPietro's first game since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Oct. 31. DiPietro is still a risky start for Week 12, but is worth adding in Fantasy since he is expected to see the majority of starts for New York as soon as he is healthy ... Mike Sillinger isn't close to returning from a groin injury, according to coach Scott Gordon, and could be a risky play Week 12 ... Mike Comrie (hip) and Kyle Okposo (wrist) both returned to action Friday against Minnesota after long stays on IR ... Defenseman Mark Streit leads the team with seven points in December and has racked up 24 points for the season. He hasn't fallen off much offensively since leaving Montreal in the offseason ... Doug Weight has six points in seven December games and continues his revival under Gordon ... Forward Richard Park has managed two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak.
N.Y. Rangers: The Rangers lost out on the Mats Sundin sweepstakes because they couldn't clear any cap space. They will have to make do with what they have ... Chris Drury has scored in consecutive games after going 11 contests without a goal ... Defenseman Michal Rozsival doubled his goals total Wednesday against the Kings. He had all of two goals in his first 34 games. Despite the two-goal night, Rozsival is still at minus-12 for the season ... Nikolai Zherdev has two goals and four assists in four games. He is tied with Scott Gomez for the team lead with eight points ... The Rangers have home games against New Jersey and Washington Week 12. Both teams rank in the top 15 for defense and the Rangers are dead last in home GFA (2.05). Consider benching your New York skaters.
Ottawa Senators: For a team that has Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, the Senators rank second to last in goals per game (2.28). For that reason, coach Craig Hartsburg has broken up his Big Three. The new line formations for the time being are Alfredsson skating with Mike Fisher and Antoine Vermette; Heatley with Nick Foligno and Chris Kelly; Spezza with Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil. The fourth unit is Cody Bass, Shean Donovan and Christoph Schubert ... Defenseman Anton Volchenkov returned to the lineup Friday against the Devils after missing two games with a lower-body ailment ... Ottawa is on the road for three games Week 12. They rank dead last in road GFA (1.75). You might want to bench your fringe Ottawa skaters.
Philadelphia Flyers: Simon Gagne is the likely leader for comeback player of the year. Having missed all but 25 games last season with a series of concussions, he has 16 goals and 21 assists and is on pace for 44 goals, 59 assists and a career-high 103 points, which would eclipse his previous high of 79 while playing alongside Peter Forsberg in 2005-06. Gagne is also tied for the NHL lead in plus/minus (plus-20) and leads all players in shorthanded points with eight ... Goalie Martin Biron is battling a case of the flu, but it's nothing for Fantasy owners to worry about. Keep him active as a No. 2 Fantasy goalie Week 12 ... Defenseman Randy Jones, who has been out all season following hip surgery, has been assigned to the AHL for a conditioning stint. He is expected to be recalled shortly. Jones is a decent low-end Fantasy defenseman when healthy ... Forward Jeff Carter has been held off the stat sheet just nine times this season ... Mike Richards had a seven-game point streak snapped Thursday against Montreal. He had seven goals and 15 points in that span ... Daniel Briere (groin) has begun skating and is looking to return Dec. 30 against Vancouver. Keep him reserved through Week 12.
|2.||Devils||BOS, PIT, @NYR|
|4.||Senators||@PHI, @CGY, @VAN|
|5.||Lightning||@PIT, @FLA, FLA|
Phoenix Coyotes: Peter Mueller is struggling to score. His last goal came Nov. 9 and coach Wayne Gretzky said the second-year forward is pressing too much. Despite his struggles, Gretzky is keeping Mueller up with the top six ... Defenseman Zbynek Michalek leads the NHL with 110 blocked shots. He hasn't been lacking on offense either with six points in nine December games ... Defenseman Ed Jovanovski leads the team with nine points in nine December games ... Martin Hanzal has a team-high six goals this month, but hasn't scored in four games ... Rookie forward Kyle Turris had the first two-goal game of his career Thursday against the Predators ...Fellow rookie forward Viktor Tikhonov has just two points in 11 games. He has no goals in that span ... Phoenix has four games Week 12 with three on the road. The Coyotes rank 22nd in road GFA (2.31).
Pittsburgh Penguins: Third-year forward Jordan Staal scored his 11th goal Thursday against the Thrashers and now has 20 points through 31 games. Staal scored all of 12 goals and recorded 28 points in 82 games last season. Staal, who is in the final season of an entry-level deal, is hoping to sign an extension shortly ... Center Sidney Crosby did not score a goal Thursday. He has not scored a goal in a season-high eight straight games, but still has 12 assists in that span ...Forward Evgeni Malkin recorded four points Thursday to extend his points streak to seven games (4 G, 10 A). He has failed to register a point in only four of 31 games ... Petr Sykora is finally living up to his Fantasy potential with 12 points (five goals) in eight December games ... Ruslan Fedotenko is having his best run of the season with three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak ... Defenseman Ryan Whitney, who has been out all season following foot surgery, is expected to return Tuesday against the Lightning. Whitney has high-end Fantasy potential, but is still a risky start heading into Week 12 since Pittsburgh could take it slow with him off the bat.
San Jose Sharks: Jonathan Cheechoo was back in the lineup Thursday against the Red Wings after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. Cheechoo hasn't scored in 14 games and has just two assists in that span. He is enduring another one of his patented first-half slumps, and we hope he can get it going again after the New Year since Cheechoo can be an elite scorer ... Second-line center Joe Pavelski also returned Thursday after missing two games with a lower-body injury ... Milan Michalek was held out against Detroit as a precautionary move, but is not expected to be out long ... First-line center Joe Thornton has stated just once in six games -- a three-assist night Dec. 13 against the Blues.
St. Louis Blues: Goalie Manny Legace (concussion) has been traveling with the team and is expected to come off IR soon. If he doesn't dress by Sunday against the Bruins, he remains a risky start heading into Week 12 ... St. Louis' blue line continues to lose players left-and-right with the latest casualties being Eric Brewer and Jay McKee. Brewer is out indefinitely following back surgery and McKee is out 4-6 weeks wit ha fractured finger. Because of the injuries, both Tyson Strachan and Jonas Junland made their NHL debuts ... Left wing David Backes scored his ninth goal Thursday against Washington. After scoring three goals in his first 21 games, Backes has netted six goals in his last 10 games. Backes remains on a line with Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes ... Forward Brad Winchester scored his third goal Thursday, giving him three goals in his last three games. Winchester continues to see valuable ice time with Paul Kariya and T.J. Oshie out of the lineup ... Oshie (ankle) has begun skating, but is not expected back until after Christmas. Kariya is doing off the ice work, but hasn't skated since mid-November.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Backup goalie Olaf Kolzig is nursing an upper-body injury and Karri Ramo has been recalled on an emergency basis to backup Mike Smith. Tampa Bay is in no hurry to get Kolzig back since he has had a pretty bad season ... Speaking of Smith, his winless streak ran to 10 games Thursday against Colorado in a controversial 2-1 shootout loss. Colorado was awarded the shootout win after the refs ruled Smith threw his stick to try and stop a Milan Hejduk attempt ... Veteran forward Gary Roberts, who is currently sidelined with a groin injury, is contemplating retiring after the season. He is in his 21st NHL season ... Jeff Halpern was back on the ice Thursday for the first time since having knee surgery this summer. He scored the team's lone regulation goal while logging 17:39 of ice time ... Ryan Malone was also back in action Thursday after missing five game with an upper-body injury. Malone didn't record a point, but had four goals and five assists in his previous seven games before getting injured ... Rookie forward Steven Stamkos logged just 1:34 of third period ice time against Colorado. He has no goals and two assists in eight December games ... Tampa Bay plays Florida twice (2.68 GAA) and Pittsburgh once (2.81) Week 12. Consider benching your Lightning skaters.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto is up for four games Week 12 with three on the road. Toronto ranks 11th in road GFA (2.81) and face three teams -- Atlanta, N.Y. Islanders and Dallas -- that rank in the bottom three for GAA. Consider starting your Toronto skaters ... Now that Mats Sundin opted to sign with the Canucks, center Matt Stajan can stop looking over his shoulder about a possible replacement coming to town and focus on his offensive game again ... Niklas Hagman (concussion) is having no trouble practicing and is expected to get back in the lineup shortly ... Jason Blake leads the team with seven points in eight December games. He is tied with Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov and Jeremy Williams with three goals ... Antropov has a disappointing minus-9 rating this month ... Mikhail Grabovski has scored just twice in his last 12 games.
Vancouver Canucks: If you made it this far in the Planner, by now you know the Canucks were the winners in the Mats Sundin sweepstakes. Vancouver actually has a top 10 offense (3.03), but adding another All-Star caliber player like Sundin was a must. He will be a consistent top-six forward with Vancouver, but is not expected to join the team until after Christmas. Keep him reserved through Week 12 ... The Canucks still have no firm timetable for goalie Roberto Luongo's return from a groin injury, but he hasn't practiced in a week and it is widely believed he will be out 2-3 more weeks. Curtis Sanford and Cory Schneider will continue to start in his absence ... Defenseman Shane O'Brien left in the first period Wednesday against the Oilers with a leg injury. It is not considered serious and he is just day-to-day ... Defenseman Sami Salo was not as fortunate after suffering a rib injury Wednesday. He will now miss at least four weeks ... Jannik Hansen has gotten some time on the top line recently with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin ... Forward Kyle Wellwood, who is second on the team with 12 goals, has a NHL-high 35.3 percent conversion rate ... Vancouver has four games Week 12 with three at home. The Canucks are 11th in home GFA (3.15), so consider starting your Vancouver skaters.
Washington Capitals: The Capitals beat St. Louis 4-2 Thursday, but it was costly as both Alexander Semin (back) and Mike Green (shoulder) succumbed to injury. Both players are awaiting re-evaluation, but if they don't play Saturday against the Flyers, they have to be considered injury-risk starts Week 12 ... Sergei Fedorov is still day-to-day with an ankle injury ... Goalie Jose Theodore came off injured reserve Friday because of a hip flexor and Washington then sent rookie Simeon Varlamov back to the AHL ... Forward Nicklas Backstrom has three goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak. He has 13 points in nine December games, tying him with Alex Ovechkin for the team lead ... Viktor Kozlov had a pair of goals Thursday and now has 10 points (four goals) in December.
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