There are plenty of fears abound that Box 13 defenseman for the Avalanche, Kyle Cumiskey, may have aggravated his soft head and suffered yet another concussion, only a couple of games into his return from a major concussion from earlier this season. Much like Marc Savard, when players are coming off major concussions, the chances of suffering another one are far greater. Cumiskey left last night's game against the Wild with an upper-body injury, but the official diagnosis has not been released yet.
It was a return to the press box for Box 12 defenseman Matt Niskaken, who hasn't been up there for a little while lately. Niskanen, who has struggled through the 2011 season with Dallas, came out of the line-up for a healthy Marc Fistric and it looks like the defenseman rotation may be back to normal, now that the blueline has returned to 100% health.
The Canadiens welcomed the return of James Wisniewski back to their line-up after a major bout of the flu, which means Alexandre Picard, the Box 29 defenseman, comes back out of the line-up as the odd-man out in Montreal. Picard has been steady enough this season to stay with the Habs all year, but hasn't lifted himself above and beyond some of his teammates, which would give him a spot in the starting six every night. It'll be back to filling in duty for Picard now.
The Coyotes took out a little bit of youth for a little bit of grit on Wednesday night, as Vern Fiddler returned to the line-up after an upper-body injury, which meant that Kyle Turris made way for him for the evening. Turris has been off and on this season with the Coyotes, not quite finding his stride on a regular basis and that has cost him a few healthy scratches through the year. With Mikkel Boedker starting to score a bit, it may be Turris' turn to take a spin down in the minors.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to have to slug it out in the Eastern Conference for at least the next month, after the news had dropped that Evgeni Malkin is done for the year and Sidney Crosby won't likely return until March, but Box 25 forward Eric Tangradi has not stepped up into a dominating role, so he has been sent back down to the minors on Wednesday. Lauded for his size and speed, it doesn't look like Tangradi is able to fit into the current Penguins' system, so some more seasoning is required.
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