Who's In, Who's Out?

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Written on 1/20/2011 by Jim Cerny

There's an old saying in sports for teams suffering from many injuries that goes something like "you can't tell them without a scorecard".

Well if that saying really holds true, scorecard and program sales must be skyrocketing this year in the National Hockey League because the amount of injuries---and injuries to key players---has just seemed off the charts this season.

Just taking the past 24 hours as an example, the number of big names returning from injury stints is balanced out by a number of equally important performers in a dizzying display of in one door, out the other.

Let's take a look...

Returning: Tonight will see the return to action of four pretty important players to their teams. Chris Pronger (pictured), out since December 17 with a foot injury, returns to further bolster a Flyers team which is already sitting atop the Eastern Conference. Shawn Horcoff, captain of the Oilers, makes an earlier-than-expected return to the lineup from an MCL sprain that has sidelined him since December 8. Skilled winger Kyle Okposo, out since the pre-season, will see his first game action for the Islanders tonight at a time when the Isles are playing some of their best hockey of the season. And Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard gets the start in St. Louis this evening after being set back briefly by a sore knee.

Those are four very important players to their team, and fans benefit with their collective return this evening.

But with the positive comes negative news, as well.

Sidelined: Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Cammalleri was diagnosed with a separated shoulder and was placed on Injured Reserve today. Even though his production has been down this season he is a vital cog in everything Montreal does. Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin was scratched from the lineup last night due to an undisclosed injury. St. Louis today placed defenseman Carlo Colaiacavo on Injured Reserve with an eye injury. And the Rangers---who are already without Ryan Callahan, Vinny Prospal, Alex Frolov, Erik Christensen, and Derek Boogaard in their lineup because of injuries---were hit with the double whammy yesterday, losing the team's top scorer Brandon Dubinsky for 3-4 weeks because of a stress fracture in his left leg and dependable 3rd-liner Ruslan Fedotenko for 2-4 weeks with a sprained left shoulder.

And this is just the injury-related news---both good and bad---from the past 24 hours. Keep in mind that earlier in the week Bryan McCabe broke his jaw and Ryan Whitney was placed on season ending long-term IR.

It's been a crazy cycle of injuries in the NHL this year, it seems more so than in the past, but I'd have to research that out.

For some reason it stands out more to me this year than ever before.

Follow Me On Twitter: @jimcerny

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