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Thursday Injury Update

(3/8/12) Fantasy owners got hit pretty hard with Joffrey Lupul, Matt Duchene, Mathieu Garon, Jaromir Jagr and others going down in yesterday's update, but thankfully we escaped last night without adding any bodies onto the pile.  In reality there were only two games, but hey, let's focus on the positive here.

Here's some good news: Tuomo Ruutu is expected to return this week.  The 'Canes play Saturday and Sunday, so when the weekend rolls around we should have a better gauge of where Ruutu is at.  He's missed 10 games with an upper-body injury - it's believed it was his shoulder.  

Benoit Pouliot played sparsely last game - 4:50 on the ice - due to an undisclosed injury and his status for tonight was in doubt, but ESPN reports that Pouliot is good to go against the Sabres.  He'll play, but we have to wonder if he's 100%.  As well for the Bs, Dan Paille and Andrew Ference have missed a few games and are expected to sit out again.

Keeping with the positive theme, Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin blocked a shot with his foot last game and his status was questionable for tonight, but the team announced via their twitter feed that Nikitin is likely to go.  

And according to USA Today, Preds winger Brian McGrattan is probable to return from an upper-body injury tonight against the Avs, while Alex Ponikarovsky is likely to be back from an MCL sprain for the Devils.

But let's face it, this is an injury report.  We held out as long as we could, but it's not all rosy.  We have an update on Matt Duchene's ankle injury, and our fears are confirmed.  Duchene is out 3-4 weeks with a severe sprain, meaning his season is pretty much finished.  And what a disappointment.  Barring a return for a handful of games at the end, he'll finish with 26 points in 48 games.  If you're battling for a championship, cut the dead weight and find a player who can help in the final month.  

We can also confirm that Kris Versteeg will miss at least two more games with what may be a hip problem.  Officially it's lower-body, but regardless, he's doubtful through the weekend.

Andrej Sekera skipped last night's game with the flu and is questionable to play tonight against the Bruins.

For Dallas, Trevor Daley has an upper-body injury and is doubtful to play against the Sharks.

And here's another little nugget of semi-good news.  Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk skated briefly at Red Wings practice today.  Both players are out through the weekend but should join the Wings on the road next week. 

The Wild have a MASH unit on their hands, as Kurtis Foster, Cal Clutterbuck, and Just Falk are questionable for tonight.  Foster received a pain-killing injection for back pain prior to last game.  Clutterbuck is dealing with an undisclosed illness and did not come out for an optional morning skate today.  And Falk has a leg injury and did not play Tuesday.

For the Habs, Scott Gomez practiced yesterday, but he's still listed as questionable with an eye injury tonight against the Oilers.

Here's one that's a little strange... Michael Grabner has missed two games with the flu, but now he's ready to play and yet he's a healthy scratch for tonight.  Kinda wonder if there isn't more to it...

According to the New York Daily News, Henrik Lundqvist is being given a rest day, so the Rangers will go with Biron between the pipes tonight against the Sens.  Meanwhile, Brandon Dubinsky is also out.  He's dealing with a hand injury and sinus/head issues after a fight last game.  And Ryan Callahan left practice early yesterday, but he's expect to go.

For the Flyers, Jaromir Jagr (groin/hip) and Jakub Voracek (possible concussion) went down with injuries Tuesday.  Both are doubtful for tonight's game, although there is a slim chance Jagr might go.  

And we'll leave you with a couple of goalie notes: Roberto Luongo is being given a rest day, so Cory Schneider will start for the Canucks.  And Tomas Vokoun is recovered from a lower-body injury and is expected to get the start tonight for the Caps.