Philip Larsen practiced with the team today and spent a lot of time late in the practice working on his one-timer from the point. Stars coach Marc Crawford said he expects to get Larsen into the game and that the young, skilled prospect will likely take the role of the right-handed shot on the power play that will be lost with Stephane Robidas out of the lineup (because of a one-game suspension).
``Most likely with Robi out and our need to have a right shot power play guy, we felt that might be a necessity,'' Crawford said.
It sounds like this might just be one game for Larsen. The Stars have an extra roster spot and could carry eight defensemen if he looks really good Thursday, but Crawford said he likes the mix of the defensemen. He said that if Nicklas Grossman or Mark Fistric had been out for a game that he probably would have just used Jeff Woywitka. However, with Robidas out, Crawford said he wanted that right-handed shot.
So we'll see how this shakes out. It's clear Larsen won't get Robidas' minutes and might play at even strength on the third pair. But with Grossman out of practice (soreness) and the normal pairs normal (Fistric-Daley, Skrastins-Nickannen), it's tough to say what the team will do with Larsen. It should be an interesting experiment. The kid clearly is the best young prospect they have right now.
Grossman and Brenden Morrow each had the day off of the ice for ``maintenance.''
Crawford: "Grossy is sore, so he had the day off. He should be OK for tomorrow. Morrow is also sore and will be OK for tomorrow."
Crawford said he will play Kari Lehtonen again. It will be Lehtonen's ninth straight start, and veteran backup goalie Andrew Raycroft has yet to play this year. But Crawford said the schedule is allowing Lehtonen to play all of the game, and it's arguable that he is the team's MVP so far this season.