Marc Crawford decided to hold the morning skate in Frisco today so that he could work on the power play and maybe shake things up a little bit to get things going at home.
Ironically, the old administration moved all morning skates to the arena because it believed that players needed to be at the arena to recognize it was a game day and to prepare accordingly.
Crawford said it was a one-time thing and he'll wait and see how the team responds.
Mike Modano (ribs) skated, but said he still feels iffy. He won't go tonight and is hoping that maybe Friday against Florida might be the magic day. I told him he had to get back by Saturday's trip to Nashville because they love him so much there.
Jere Lehtinen (intercostal muscle) skated, but still is out. He's listed as day to day.
Steve Ott is suspended for the first of two games and Jeff Woywitka is your healthy scratch because Matt Niskanen (head) is back after missing two games.
Francis Wathier is your call-up from the Texas Stars.
Stars owner Tom Hicks said today that the Dallas Stars are not for sale.
The Globe and Mail newspaper, based out of Toronto, ran a story today in which columnist David Shoalts quoted ``sources in the banking community'' saying that Hicks could have to sell both the Rangers and the Stars to resolve his debt. Hicks said that's not true.
``Hicks Sports Group is working through the default issue with its lenders, and is in the process of getting things resolved,'' said Hicks, who has the Rangers up for sale. ``I believe that will be resolved in a positive manner and we'll move forward from there. But I have no interest in selling the Stars.''
Hicks would not put a timetable on the sale of the Rangers.
Hicks is juggling a lot of issues at this time. He and former Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett are 50-50 owners of the Liverpool Football Club. Hicks said he just returned from Liverpool's game with Manchester United, and said he believes Liverpool is moving forward successfully in its plans to expand marketing.
Hicks Sports Group (which primarily owns the Stars and Rangers) in March defaulted on $525 million in loans to 38 different lenders. Hicks said he is working with banks right now to resolve the debt, and the sale of the Rangers is a big part of that deal.
Hicks, who accepted funding from Major League Baseball to help him through the Rangers season, said he has not accepted any financial help from the NHL. He said he believes the Stars are a viable financial entity and that one of the reasons the team has a $45 million payroll this year (more than $10 million less than they spent last season) is because that is what is currently viable for the team.
Brad Richards was back out practicing, so was Mike Modano (rib).
Jere Lehtinen (intercostal muscle) did not practice but skated beforehand.
It appears Matt Niskanen (head) will probably be able to play Wednesday. Obviously, Steve Ott will not.
With Ott out, the question arose whether Mark Fistric might be used as a forward again. Coach Marc Crawford said he does not expect Fistric to be used as a forward, and from the tone of his voice, I would say Fistric will probably be in the lineup with Niskanen.
The Stars have called up Francis Wathier to be their 12th forward.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk just confirmed that the NHL has suspended Steve Ott for two games for his hip check on Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo Saturday in St. Louis.
The NHL did not release its reasoning, and it generally does not take questions on its suspensions, so they just said the hit was ``low.'' There is argument that it was late, and I can agree with that, but it just seemed the wrong hit to make a point on with a suspension.
The frustrating thing about the NHL's supplementary discipline is that it appeared to me that Ott's hit last March on Gregory Campbell was more worthy of a suspension than this one. He received no suspension for that hit. It also appears that Rob Scuderi's hip check on Jason Chimera was much worse, and Scuderi (who has no previous suspension history) was only fined.
Maybe that was considered in this suspension. Who knows.
Anyways, he will miss the next two home games (against Toronto and Florida) and be eligible to return on Halloween against Nashville.
This is the third suspension in his career.
Ott would not comment on the situation, but when asked if this would change how he plays the game, he responded:
``Not one bit. The only thing I can do is continue to throw textbook hits, and that's it.''