FRI Injury Update: Van Riemsdyk, Hossa, Hanzal, Garrison, Neuvirth, Clifford
(4/20/12) And here we go again: the high-flying Penguins and Flyers meat in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series Friday night back in Pittsburgh averaging 11+ goals a game. Undoubtedly any player not in the line-up wants to draw in as badly as fantasy owners want a piece of the action.
James van Riemsdyk has been out since March 1st with a broken foot, but it sounds like he will play tonight. NHL.com speculates that JvR will bump Zac Rinaldo from the starting squad, but all told this is a game time decision, so watch the warm-ups for the final word. If you reached for JvR at your draft it could pay off, that is if Philly can take out the Pens. Bourdon and Grossman (UBIs) are still listed as injured, and Paul Martin has missed 4 straight with a mystery ailment. Get a game-time update for all three. Also for the Pens, James Neal and Craig Adams will return for Game 5 from their one game suspensions; Neal will be a boost to the Penguins' potent attack. Whoever gets that all important 6 goal lead, should come away with the win...
In the only other Friday game, the Nashville Predators will return home and attempt to knock out the Detroit Red Wings in just 5 games. This one is going to be a dog fight, as any elimination game is always the hardest fought. There are no new injuries or updates to pass along here. Hal Gill (NSH) remains day-to-day.
Looking back to Thursday night's action, Phoenix managed to win Game 4 in OT on a goal by Michael Boedker. The Coyotes won despite not having Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski in the line-up. Both of these players are reportedly progressing and could be back for Game 5. The Blackhawks played minus Marian Hossa, their top player from the regular season. Without Hossa, the Hawks lose a big chunk of their offensive depth. Raffi Torres (PHX) will face his disciplinary hearing for the Hossa hit today in person in New York - as a repeat offender, he could be done for the post-season.
Jason Garrison - the third highest goal scoring D-man from the regular season - was a surprise game-time scratch for the Panthers in Game 4. He is out with a LBI and is listed as day-to-day. Keaton Ellerby drew into the Florida line-up in his stead.
Jaroslav Halak indeed did not dress for Thursday's win over the Sharks. He was last seen in a walking boot. Elliott is looking great in net for the Blues, and he will play every minute barring an injury, or Halak's return.
Nicklas Backstrom served his one-game suspension on Thursday, but the Capitals won Game 4 regardless. Backstrom will be back on Saturday for Game 5 against the Bruins. Michal Neuvirth (G) continues to make progress for the Caps, he could be back on the bench shortly, but don't expect him to play unless Braden Holtby cools off.
Lastly, we have an update on Kyle Clifford (LA). He skated by himself on Thursday as a part of what the Kings' are calling protocol; although the team has not come out and said it, "protocol" implies the procedure for assessing a concussion. There is no timetable for Clifford's return.
Enjoy the Friday night games.