Thursday Injury Update: Toews, Lecavalier, Franzen

(3/29/12) Before we start the injury report today, we'll mention that we're developing a new email newsletter where you can receive the Fantasy Hockey Standard daily injury update to your inbox each afternoon.  In the testing process, we accidently sent out several emails today to those of you on our list of people wanting to receive product information, and we offer our sincere apologizes if we've bombarded your email today.  

We'll get it sorted out and give everyone a chance to tell us whether or not you want the newsletter, and for now hopefully you'll enjoy a little taste of what you'll receive if you sign up.  Apologies for the confusion, and thanks for your continuing support.  If you'd like to be removed from the list, simply send us a message and we'll make sure you don't receive anything else.  With that out of the way, let's get into the injuries!  

The big news today is that Jonathan Toews is officially unofficially cleared for contact.  He was quoted today by the Chicago-Sun Times saying, "I'm not sure if it's official yet, but probably; if it's not today, it will be soon..."  The article also indicates Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said his captain will endure contact over the next few days, although Toews won't be available to play over the weekend.  We'd leave Toews on your fantasy bench in the final week, but things are looking up for the playoffs.

The other significant story of the day is that Vincent Lecavalier is expected to return tonight after missing 18 games with a broken hand.  He's safe to insert back into your fantasy lineup for the final week. 

In last night's action, Johan Franzen returned to the Wings' lineup after missing five games with back spasms.  He failed to show up on the score sheet, but he managed just under 15 minutes of ice time, and it looks like it's all systems go for the final week and the playoffs.  

While Detroit's skaters are finally getting back to full health, it's another story between the pipes.  Jimmy Howard is still nursing a groin strain, and he's questionable for Friday's game against Nashville.  By the sounds of it, he could probably go, but Wings coach Mike Babcock seems to be leaning toward keeping Howard out.  We'll know more tomorrow.

Another ailing goaltender is Columbus' Steve Mason, who took a puck in the mask during Wednesday's practice.  He missed last night's game and is listed as questionable for Friday.  

For tonight, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is out after being cut by a skate in Saturday's game.  According to USA Today, the cut is infected and Seidenberg will not suit up against the Caps.  We also have an update on Bruins back-up goaltender, Tuukka Rask, who is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a groin strain.  According to the Boston Herald, Rask expects to be on the ice very soon, and he's targeting a return for the beginning of the playoffs.

Another back-up getting close to a return is Pittsburgh's Brent Johnson.  He's expected to be available tonight for the first time since Feb. 21, although we don't know yet whether he'll suit up.

Sticking with goalies, it looks like Evgeni Nabokov's season is over.  He sustained a minor lower-body injury, but with only 10 days left in the regular season, he's pretty much shut down for the year.

The Flyers are already hurting on the back end, and now Kimmo Timonen is out tonight with back spasms.  Philly GM Paul Holmgren is calling it a "maintenance day," although it's worth noting Timonen missed five games with the same injury earlier in the month.  

Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov is probable to return tonight against Tampa Bay.  He's missed two games with a lower-body injury.  

Another player probable to return tonight is Caps forward Joel Ward.  Ward missed three games with a foot injury, but he should go tonight against the Bs.  Meanwhile, Tomas Vokoun is expected to be in the crease tonight after missing six games with a groin injury.  

For the Coyotes, Adrian Aucoin is probable to return against the Sharks after missing five games with a LBI, however teammate Radim Vrbata is questionable.  According to a number of tweets, Vrbata suffered a bad reaction to a shot of penicillin and is dealing with a rash and muscle soreness.  He briefly skated this morning but left the ice early.  Expect a game-time decision.

Sharks D-man Doug Murray suffered an undisclosed injury last night against the Ducks.  He's expected to miss tonight's game against the Coyotes.  

Meanwhile, St. Louis has a couple of players making progress, as Andy McDonald is expected to return from a shoulder injury on Saturday, and Matt D'Agostini skated today for the first time since suffering a concussion Feb. 7.  

That's it for today's injuries.  Good luck down the stretch!