The Stars returned to the ice in Frisco today with a spirited practice and a real belief that they can handle the absence of Brad Richards (wrist) for the next 6-8 weeks. Steve Ott (lower body) was back at practice and is expected to play tomorrow against Edmonton. The lines were not changed all that much:
Lundqvist-Petersen-Eriksson played well in the playoffs last year, was a great line in Iowa two years ago and played well in the third period against Columbus after Richards was hurt. I'm curious to see what that line can do. Sutherby slides off a line with Richards and Eriksson and centers the fourth line. That's a potential loss of a really great forechecker, but Dave Tippett can rotate him up on a left wing if he needs to.
Stars GM Les Jackson said they probably won't be recalling Tom Wandell from Sweden and will instead look at solving things from within. But, he added, they are looking at things on a day-to-day basis right now, so things could change. He also seemed to think that the management team will not completely rule out an increase in budget until they get a better read on the team and get closer to the March 4 trade deadline. Fun stuff. I'm actually excited about this stretch. You have some great opponents coming up with a six-game homestand and some really big questions to answer. Isn't this what makes sports interesting? _Mike Heika