Fantasy Hockey Coach - Hockey Pool and Keeper Hockey Advice - The IR Report March 21st

  • The IR Report March 21st

    The regular season is coming to a close. Injuries will be a factor in the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers are missing some key players, while the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the best shape they have been in the last two years!

    Recent Additions to the Trainers Room:

    Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings – Groin – Day-to-DayHoward has been struggling with a groin injury off and on all season long. He has recently aggravated it again and is listed as day-to-day. Howard's health will be a critical factor in the Wings playoffs chances as they seem destined for a first round match with the team no one wants to play; The Nashville Predators.

    Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings – Back – Day-to-Day
    The Mule has missed the last two games with a back injury but is feeling better as reported by the Detroit Free Press Franzen expects to be back for the playoffs. Franzen has been a warrior in the playoffs with a career performance of 37 goals, 35 assists for 72 points in 83 games.

    Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings – Knee – Mid to Late April
    Helm has a grade two MCL sprain and may miss the entire first round of the post season. Helm has tremendous value to the Wings, but his fantasy value to your team is limited.

    James Wisniewski, Columbus Blue Jackets – Concussion – Day-to-Day
    The Wiz did not play Tuesday night after he developed concussion symptoms after a shot deflected up into his face on Sunday night. Expect the Wiz to return before the season is over.

    Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadiens – Concussion – Day-to-Day
    Plenty of speculation surrounding a potential buy-out is surrounding Gomez right now. Gomez was hit from behind by Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and the hit resulted in a three game suspension. Gomez will not play in Wednesday night’s rematch game in Buffalo. In fact, Gomez may have played his last game with the Montreal Canadiens, and even in the NHL. His fantasy value is zero!


    Mathieu Darche, Montreal Canadiens – Concussion – Day-to-Day
    Darche has missed the last 12 games for the Habs. He has an inner ear infection and possibly a concussion. Darche is at least another week away, if he returns at all this season.

    Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto Maple Leafs – Finger – Indefinite
    Kulemin will join Joffrey Lupul and miss the remainder of the regular season with a broken finger. Given the Leafs play recently, Lupul and Kulemin may be the happiest players on the Leafs roster!

    Slightly banged up and day-to-day:

    Paul Gaustad of the Nashville Predators may miss the return of Radulov this Thursday with a hand injury.

    David Backes
    of the St. Louis Blues did not break his foot when he blocked a shot on Saturday.

    Washington goalie Tomas Vokun is bothered by his groin injury again.

    Injured Players on the Mend:

    Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings – Ankle – Day-to-Day
    Lidstrom has a bone bruise in his ankle. The Detroit Free Press reports he had a second X-Ray on Friday and confirmed there is no fracture. Lidstrom has missed three weeks but returned to the ice on Monday. "That's encouraging, compared to how it was on Wednesday morning in L.A., when I had my skate on, and I couldn't stand on my foot. So that's an improvement, for sure, where I was able to skate out there and even pivot and do some turns." Lidstrom said. Mike Babcock said Lidstrom could be ready to return Saturday. Depending on how Lidstrom heals from this injury and how Detroit performs in the playoffs may weigh heavily on Lidstrom’s decision to retire, or play another season at the age of 42.

    Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning – Wrist – Indefinite
    Lecavalier is only eight games short of achieving 1,000 games played milestone. With 10 games remaining in the season it is still possible he achieves his 1,000th game, but as of last week he was still unable to shoot. Expect Vinny back this season, but the milestone may come next season.


    Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals – Concussion – Indefinite
    Backstrom has not played since January 3rd but has finally been skating for seven straight days. It looks like Backstrom has turned a corner in his recovery. Tuesday was a scheduled day of rest according to the Washington Post, and he will resume on ice work outs Wednesday as long as he remains symptom free. And assuming he remains symptom free he could soon be cleared for full practice and then contact. A potential playoff return is beginning to look like a possibility.

    Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators – Finger – Day-to-Day
    The Sens starting goalie is very close to a return. GM Bryan Murray was suggesting he could be back by Friday. The Sens still firmly hold onto the seventh seed for the playoffs and do not need to rush Anderson back, but he will be ready by next week for sure. If Anderson is your fantasy starting goalie activate him now.

    Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers – Concussion – Day-to-Day
    After suffering a concussion at the hands of Calgary’s Corey Sarich last Friday, Hall is recovering quickly. He participated in Tuesdays practice, no contact but skated hard and was taking shots. Jim Matheson spoke to head Coach Tom Renney who said “You almost have to be careful how you look at this fella, medically, sometimes you have to take the decision out of his hands. He had a good bike ride yesterday, took a baseline test. Both went well.” Considering where Edmonton is in the standings it makes little sense to allow him to return unless he is 100% recovered as sustaining a second concussion could be devastating. However, Renney added “I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays somewhere on our trip.” Considering Edmonton has no chance of making the playoffs, why play Hall and risk another concussion.

    Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames – Upper Body Injury – Day-to-Day
    Cammalleri has missed the last eight games with an undisclosed upper body injury. Flames GM Jay Feaster expects him to return before the season ends. The Flames sit two points out of the playoffs and will need Cammalleri back to push for a post season berth. He could return any day.

    Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild – Shoulder – Day-to-Day
    Michael Russo reports that Chuck Fletcher has confirmed that the Wild will have their Captain back on Thursday to play the Calgary Flames. Koivu has missed the last 15 games and 23 of the last 27. At one point in the season the Wild were the top team in the West, but have been in a free fall in Koivu’s absence.

    Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils – Achilles – Day-to-Day
    Zajac remains on the IR and has missed the last 36 games. He has been on the ice and is skating with the team. He was close to returning in Ottawa on Tuesday and could return for an easy game on Friday against the Leafs.

    Rich Peverley, Boston Bruins – Knee – Day-to-Day
    Peverley is traveling with the team for a Western road trip. The Bruins will play three games in four days in California and Peverley may make his return there. Peverley should have several games under his belt before the post season begins. Unfortunately for Boston, Nathan Horton is still only working out off ice.

    Players close to making a return:

    Flames defenseman Chris Butler is about to return after missing 13 games with a laceration on his leg. St. Louis Blues had a full house as 26 players were in practice Tuesday including the injured Alex Steen (concussion), Kris Russell (concussion), Matt D’Agostini (head), Andy McDonald (shoulder), and Backes (foot). With so many healthy players returning to St.Louis, expect some healthy scratches and demotions to Peoria.

    Back in Action:

    Pittsburgh Penguins welcomed back both Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang from concussions, and tip the balance of favor for the Stanley Cup in their favor.

    Andrei Markov
    has returned to the Montreal Canadiens after missing almost two full years of hockey with knee injuries.

    Martin Havlat of the San Jose Sharks has come back hot with six points in the last three games. The Sharks are battling to make the playoffs and are currently on the outside looking in and losing key games with time running out.

    Pavel Datsyuk made his return to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday and scored a goal.

    The Philadelphia Flyers defense is hurting (Pronger and Meszaros) but Kimmo Timonen returned last Tuesday and has three points in his last two games.

    The Carolina Hurricanes activated Joni Pitkanen off the IR on Wednesday after he missed the last 44 games.

    In addition to having Koivu back, the Minnesota Wild also have starting goalie Niklas Backstrom back who missed seven games.


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