Michael Del Zotto sits out Rangers-Blackhawks game

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Michael Del Zotto’s name doesn’t carry the same panache as Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards or even Marc Staal, but he’s been enjoying the best season of his brief NHL career for the New York Rangers. He’s been a nice offensive producer with 35 points, but an already shaky Rangers power play will have to find a way without him tonight.

Andrew Gross reports that MDZ will miss tonight’s game and hints that it could be a hip injury. Steve Zipay indicates that del Zotto initially hurt his hip in a Feb. 25 game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The offensive blueliner arrived on the NHL scene in a big way as a rookie, collecting 37 points in 2009-10. That being said, he struggled in his end (exemplified in part by a -20 rating) and then regressed last season, making him a big wild card this year. It seems that MDZ has cleaned up his all-around game (whether you dig the stat or not, a +24 rating certainly isn’t a bad thing) while getting his scoring touch back. MDZ already has 35 points this season, so he should be able to set a new career-high as long as this hip issue doesn’t sideline him for too long.

Steve Ott won’t be able to help Stars against Sharks

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The Dallas Stars opted against trading Steve Ott for games like tonight: a gut-check defense of their Pacific Division lead against a desperate San Jose Sharks squad that hasn’t lost to Dallas this season.

Unfortunately for the Stars, Ott won’t be able to play. The team reports that back spasms have sidelined him for tonight’s game, forcing marginal forward Jake Dowell into the lineup.

Ott has played in 61 of 67 games so far this season, collecting a useful 33 points while agitating his way to 124 penalty minutes. The Stars will miss his feisty style, versatility and faceoff acumen in an important squabble with the Sharks.

Mathieu Garon has a torn groin, out 3-4 weeks


Seeing Mathieu Garon go down in last night’s Tampa Bay loss to Ottawa was hard enough to watch. The update this morning from GM Steve Yzerman isn’t any more pleasant to read.

Yzerman says that Garon will be out of action for the next 3-4 weeks with a torn groin. While you’re busy crossing your legs hearing about that, the Lightning will call up youngster Dustin Tokarski from the AHL to fill his spot on the roster. With Dwayne Roloson playing poorly this season and Tokarski being a relative unknown, Tampa Bay’s charge up the standings in an effort to make the playoffs is taking a huge hit.

Tokarski is a guy who has some upside to his game and has been decent in the AHL this season, but he comes in with just two games to his NHL record. Now’s the time to show what you’ve got, kid.

If you’re wondering if Marty Turco might be a solution to their problems by grabbing him on waivers, that wont’ be possible. Any team claiming Turco on re-entry waivers cannot play him this season because Turco was signed after the trade deadline. The only team that Turco can play for is the Bruins. The NHL is fun with odd by-laws like that.

Matt Duchene helped off ice after tweaking right leg


Just about everything seemed to be going right for the Colorado Avalanche tonight. Sure, the Minnesota Wild are in nosedive mode, but the bottom line is that the Avs are doing what they need to do – and more – in what ended up being a 7-1 beating.

Unfortunately for Colorado,a nice win on national TV might cost the team its streaky young star Matt Duchene. The 21-year-old forward needed help to get off the ice after an unlucky accident in which he locked skates with Minnesota Wild Nick Palmieri

The way his leg moved, it certainly didn’t look good, either. Check out video below:

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Adrian Dater provides a medium update: it is a right ankle injury, but a “prognosis” won’t come until tomorrow.

Duchene might not be the most consistent offensive performer, but when he’s on his game, the third overall selection of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft is one of the NHL’s flashiest forces. Losing his touch could be a brutal blow for an Avalanche team stuck in a rugged playoff bubble battle out West.

Jaromir Jagr is banged up … again


Jaromir Jagr’s stay in Philadelphia has been about as splendid as any reasonable person could expect. Unfortunately, he’s “fitting in” with his Flyers teammates by regularly showing up in injury reports.

The latest ailment appears to be a hip injury, which the team describes as a day-to-day issue.

Little day-to-day tweaks have been a pain for Jagr and the Flyers this season. A nagging groin injury was the primary cause of his woes, but the bottom line is that he already missed nine contests with smaller problems. It makes you wonder if the team might give some pause to re-signing the 40-year-old veteran, especially if Jagr demands a two-year deal.

In other Flyers injury news, the team reports that Jakub Voracek received stitches to his “upper and lower mouth area” and much like Jagr, he’ll be re-evaluated on Wednesday. It’s tough not to think “concussion” when you watch that mind-blowing hit via the freight train known as Niklas Kronwall, but we’ll need to wait and see.

On the bright side, the Flyers managed to hang on and beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on the night that they retired Mark Howe’s No. 2 jersey.

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