Morrison resurgent with Caps: HNIC Take 5

HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information from the hockey world, including a rash of injury news involving the Pens, Panthers, Kings and Canucks.

1. Revolving door for battered Pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins received news of yet another injury to their depleted blue-line. An infected finger will keep veteran defenceman Jay McKee out two to four weeks. But Stanley Cup hero Maxime Talbot, who scored twice in the seventh and deciding game against Detroit last June 12, will make his season debut after an off-season shoulder injury, when the Penguins visit Ottawa on Thursday.

Pittsburgh also hopes to get either Sergei Gonchar (broken left wrist) or Brooks Orpik (lower-body injury) to replace McKee. Gonchar has been out a month, while Orpik has been missing for 10 days. Mark Eaton is the only healthy regular defenceman. Kris Letang (shoulder) and Alex Goligoski (lower body) remain on the sidelines.

2. Smyth injury could affect Olympic hopes

The Los Angeles Kings played their first game without forward Ryan Smyth and dropped a 3-2 decision to Philadelphia at home on Wednesday. Smyth could be lost for up to a month with an upper-body injury and this may hurt his chances of landing a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. The 33-year-old Smyth, who has nine goals and 23 points in 22 games for the Kings this season, has played in 85 international games for Canada at the past two Olympics, eight world championships and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

3. Morrison fits into Caps

Veteran centre Brendan Morrison has appeared to rediscover his game with the Washington Capitals after a few seasons suffering through injuries and poor production. Playing on a line with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi in Vancouver, Morrison peaked in 2002-03 with a 71-point season, but saw his numbers dip to only 16 goals and 31 points in 81 games with Anaheim and Dallas last year. He already has six goals and 16 points in 21 games this season.

4. Booth not close to returning

Florida Panther forward David Booth has suffered a setback on his road to recovery from the concussion he suffered on Oct. 24 when he was blindsided by Philadelphia’s Mike Richards. Booth has not skated since the incident, but had gone a period of exercising without experiencing any post-concussion symptoms. But when the Panther sniper increased the intensity of his workouts last week, the warning signs returned.

Meanwhile, Naslund will end his brief retirement to play for his hometown Modo team in Sweden, but Bertuzzi has struggled with the Red Wings, having scored only three times this season.

5. Sedin return nears

The Canucks hope to finally see Daniel Sedin return to the lineup on Sunday, when the Blackhawks visit Vancouver. Sedin has been absent from the Canucks lineup since suffering a broken left foot on Oct. 7. The Canucks went 1-3-0 with Daniel in the lineup and have gone 10-7-0 without their leading goal scorer from a year ago.