Saturday Injury Update
(3/10/12) With the weekend's action set to get underway, here are the top injury notes at Fantasy Hockey Standard HQ. David Desharnais, the Canadiens' #2 scorer, will not play on Saturday against the Canucks. He is dealing with a lower body injury and was unable to go at practice on Friday. Tomas Plekanec has been moved up to the top line to fill his role, and Louis LeBlanc has been called up from Hamilton. There is currently no timetable for Desharnais' return, although optimistically speaking that might be a sign that the injury is not too serious.
Sidney Crosby has announced that he will not play on Sunday in the Penguins' game against Boston. Fantasy fans wait with baited breath. Expect Crosby to make an immediate impact when he does return, but hold on for what could turn out to be a white-knuckle ride.
Some good news for Derek Dorsett owners. The NHL's leading PIMs man is dealing with a UBI, but he might be back as soon as Sunday. He is not with CLB for their road game Saturday. Another CLB forward having health problems is Derek McKenzie - he is now out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. Further, Blue Jackets' D-man Fedor Tyutin is expected to miss the rest of the season with a broken hand that he suffered in the last period of Tuesday's game. If it weren't for Jack Johnson, Tyutin would be the top scoring defender in Columbus.
Pavel Datsyuk did not play on Friday, although he is getting closer. We should see him back in action some time next week. Overall, the good news is that he is about to return. It is the same story with Howard and Lidstrom - both players expect to play on the team's western road trip. However, Bertuzzi said on Friday that he still needs more time.
Tomas Vanek (BUF) is dealing with a UBI, but he might be back sooner than later. Coach Lindy Ruff says that Vanek's injury is not overly serious, but it sounds like playing Saturday will be a game time decision. If you have Vanek, and you have the luxury of making roster substitutions at game time, we advise watching what develops through the day.
Steve Downie (COL) has been on fire of late playing alongside Gabriel Landeskog and, although he has been suffering from the flu, he is expected to play on Saturday. The tough news from Denver is that Erik Johnson is dealing with a knee injury that is more serious than first suspected. That story is developing.
Phoenix will be without Martin Hanzal who is day-to-day with a wrist injury. He's collected 7 assists in his last 7 games.
The Minnesota Wild have suddenly been hit with an injury epidemic in net. Josh Harding is out with a LBI, Niklas Backstrom is already out for a month with a groin problem, so the team is forced to turn to third-stringer Matthew Hackett.
Roto stud Matt Martin is listed as day-to-day for the Islanders due to an illness. He has 314 hits and 99 PIMs on the season; he may not be big in points-only leagues, but in rotisserie pools Martin is a huge factor who will be sorely missed. Over on Manhattan Island, Rangers' forward Brandon Dubinksy is currently out with a sinus infection.
For Dallas, both Sheldon Souray and Steve Ott are listed as game-time decisions. It's good news on both fronts because it means that both are close to returning.
For the Leafs, Cody Franson (puck in the eye) and Colby Armstrong (broken nose) will both miss a bit of time. Armstrong should return soon, whereas Franson's condition is unclear.
Finally, Chicago rookie Ben Smith will have season-ending surgery "to fix a right hip labral tear and hernia" (USA Today). He hasn't done much this season in 13 NHL games, but he does have 31 points in 37 games at the AHL level. Smith is expected to be ready for next September's training camp; however, he will no longer be considered an NHL rookie.
There you have the Fantasy Hockey Standard Injury Report for Saturday (3/10/12). Good luck as you make your roster moves during the coming hockey pool week.