PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are close to adding more than 46 minutes of ice time back to their blue line.
Defensemen Matt Niskanen (eight games) and Kris Letang (three games) were activated off injured reserve Wednesday. They have missed time in recent weeks due to lower-body injuries. Both practiced with the team Tuesday and took part in the morning skate Wednesday, and were termed "game-time decisions" for the Wednesday night game against the Ottawa Senators.
"[Letang and Niskanen] are moving close to being able and ready to play," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said earlier Wednesday. "We'll see both what the doctor says and (make) a game-time decision on the lineup."
Dylan Reese was returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
The injuries continue to pile up for the Colorado Avalanche.
Johnson would have been paired with Matt Hunwick, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing Monday’s loss with an injured torso.
Colorado is winless in its past three games. The Avalanche face the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday night.
Rakell has no points and three shots on goal in four games, but hasn't played since Jan. 29. He's been a healthy scratch in seven straight games.
The 19-year-old center, taken with the 30th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, made the team out of training camp and centered the fourth line on opening night, playing 9:49.
Rakell had 30 points in 32 games with Plymouth at the start of the season.
By playing Rakell in fewer than six games this season, it delays the start of his three-year, entry-level contact to next season.
Jarmo Kekalainen has been named the new general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and we'll have president of hockey operations John Davidson on Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, to talk about this move with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek.
It's Rivalry Night in the NHL as the St. Louis Blues travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings. We'll talk to NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire, from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam, to preview this big Central Division matchup.
Our Subway Fresh Face of the week is Halifax Mooseheads goalie Zachary Fucale. One of Central Scouting's top goaltenders this season, Fucale is hoping to hear his name called this June at the 2013 NHL Draft. NHL Network insider Darren Dreger will also be on the program giving us the latest on hot topics around the League.
Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, keep an eye on this Senior Reporter's dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek’s top penalty kill unit, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Wednesday.
In two games this season, Bachman is 0-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.
Here is the rest of the lineup the Stars likely will use Wednesday:
Injured: Ray Whitney
Cammalleri, still seeking his first goal this season, was sidelined with a nagging hip flexor injury and missed Calgary's last three games. The injury offered Cammalleri a unique opportunity to refresh his season, according to Flames coach Bob Hartley.
"Injuries, they're not fun," he said. "You need to work out in the gym. You're basically removed from the team, but at the same time it gives you a chance to work on your conditioning, work on your game, think about your game and yes, I think that there's always values to maybe take a step back, do little reflections and tonight it's a new start for Cammy."
PITTSBURGH -- Marc Methot couldn't recall the most recent time he had a letter stitched onto his jersey for a game prior to Tuesday. He did know he was honored for the experience.
"That," the Ottawa Senators defenseman said, "was pretty cool for me."
Just 13 games into his tenure for his hometown team, the 27-year-old Methot was an alternate captain for the Senators in their 2-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at Scotiabank Place.
Methot is a veteran of 288 NHL games since breaking into the League in the 2006-07 season. All his experience came with the Columbus Blue Jackets until being acquired by the Senators in a trade this past summer.
General manager Ken Holland said Franzen will miss the game due to a hip flexor.
"It's day-to-day and has progressively gotten worse," Holland told Ansar Khan of MLive.com. "We're going to give him a day off and see how he feels tomorrow."
Franzen will be replaced in the lineup by Patrick Eaves.
Allen, 22, will get the call when the Blues face the Red Wings on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
Allen was recalled Tuesday from the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen for the second time in a week after Jaroslav Halak aggravated the groin strain that sidelined him for four-plus games during warm-ups prior to Monday's game vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
Allen, the 34th pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, is 12-16-2, with a 2.94 goals-against average and .903 save percentage for the Rivermen this season.
"It's a great feeling," Allen said. "It's something you work for your whole life. You want to make the most of it. I know I'm definitely going to enjoy it. I'll remember it for a while.
"It's another game. I'm excited. ... It's hopefully another step in my career. It's more experience under my belt and I'm looking forward to the challenge tonight."
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Fifty-five? That's shorts weather.