Ooh, I sounded so apocalyptic there, didn't I? Now the Stars losing last night didn't destroy them, but it certainly didn't help their sputtering cause. As Tippett said this afternoon, time to get back up off the mat. The points tomorrow are that much more important.
So onto today's practice at the very middle-of-nowhere BankAtlantic Center. Here are the lines: Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen Neal-Modano-Parrish Lundqvist-Richards-Eriksson (Conner was also wearing the line's gray sweater) Petersen-Sutherby-Barch Fabian Brunnstrom was wearing the I'm-not-playing-tomorrow blue sweater.
Guess what part of practice focused on? That's right, kids, the power play. That power play that has found some success at home but just about nothing on the road. And the word of the day is, Execution. The Stars have more of it last night against Tampa Bay, they put the Bolts behind the eight ball sooner, take the wind out of their sails sooner, probably come out of there with a victory.
OK, now about Stephane Robidas. Don't know if I've given him proper kudos on here for being selected for the All-Star game this weekend in Montreal. Good for Roby. He's been a steady presence once again this season, and he's deserving of the honor. All right, there's a dinner at Legal Seafood with my name on it. Later.
Jere Lehtinen has been all around it lately, so it was only a matter of time. And who better to cut through bodies and sticks than him?
That's what he does on this one, getting through Kings defenders Kyle Quincey and Peter Harrold to tie this one at the 11:29 mark. Mike Ribeiro and Stephane Robidas get the assists. And we're back to dead even.
Yep, the Stars will get back three bodies for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets, so the Stars are starting to look more like, well, the Stars. Of the three, the one that surprises me most is Ott. He's just on the front end of the 3-6 weeks he was expected to be out with this, but the doctors gave him the OK, and so he's back in this evening. Now don't expect him to be duking it out with anyone for a while, but we all know Ott can bring the agitation with more than just his fists. So we'll see how he gets back in there.
As for Lundqvist, he'll be out there tonight with Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson, the trio that had some success during last season's playoff run. Lundqvist had a big smile on his face today... he had pretty high expectations this season, coming off what he did in 2007-08, so he's ready to resume the potential.
And Robidas, well, we all knew he'd be back in. Tough man. The cage was donned this morning at skate.
As for Sergei Zubov, there's not much more to report at the moment. He's still looking at a lot of options, and coach Dave Tippett said he didn't want to speak for Zubov until he checked out all the possibilities. Long story short, he's not going to be playing for quite a while. We'll see if Zubov ends up needing more surgery or rest or whatever the future holds.
Stop me if this surprises you: Stephane Robidas is ready to play tomorrow's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coach Dave Tippett said Robidas has been cleared by doctors, one week after suffering a hairline fracture in his jaw, and Tippett added, "my guess is he'll play." Yeah, not shocked at all. This is who this guy is and why we love him. If he can stand up, he'll play.
Good news is, the rest of the injured brood is pretty close. Joel Lundqvist (shoulder) didn't have as physical of a practice today as he did on Monday, but it's all still going well. Jere Lehtinen (upper body) is feeling good, but he's also very careful about making sure he's 100 percent ready (and we mean 100 percent). Let's keep in mind how tough this season has been for him. He doesn't want to dive back in only to end up sidelined again, like earlier this season. Steve Ott (hand) is doing just fine, too, but coming back in the next game or two would be rushing it (he's only at about the three-week mark right now). When he does come back, he won't be fighting for a while. He just can't with that hand. Brian Sutherby (groin) also skated this morning, but he's out for tomorrow. As Tippett summed up this group: They need to be as healthy as possible before they're thrown back in. Caution is still a big word.
Now, about Sergei Zubov. He's talked to someone in Colorado, and Tippett said, "there's still some gray area. He's talking to some people and we'll see where that goes. He's weighing a bunch of different options." Does that mean another surgery or procedure? It's an option, but that's not certain.
Tippett will address that situation tomorrow, so we'll keep you posted.
That's the word out of practice, as one more is added to the Stars' list of walking wounded. And there are no other defensemen available for immediate call-up (Tippett said Mark Fistric is still working through his recent knee surgery). So that's where we are, kids.
Also, Joel Lundqvist will probably test out that shoulder in a Sunday or Monday practice. Steve Ott is going to the doctor on Monday and will have a better idea of where he is then.
Those are the two words we heard in the locker room regarding the Stars' tough-as-nails defenseman, who took a puck to the mouth and lost a few teeth on Wednesday night. But coach Dave Tippett said that wasn't for certain. Robidas was seeing an oral surgeon today and Tippett said they'd know more tomorrow about it. As he said, and as we all know from watching Roby these past few seasons, if there's a possibility Robidas will play, then he'll be out there on the ice.
Besides, that caged mask can never be too far away, considering how many times the poor guy's had to use it. So we'll see tomorrow. I'll bet a good amount of cash he's in tomorrow night's game. Although in these trying economic times...
Otherwise, relatively quiet day out in Stars land. No real updates on all the other injured boys that we haven't already given you.
Oh, and someone asked for the lines... sorry, I always forget to put these up. What's the point of me writing them down when I'm out there?! Conner-Richards-Eriksson Petersen-Modano-Parrish Neal-Ribeiro-Brunnstrom Barch-Wandell-Wilson
Brenden Morrow talked a little bit this morning about his injury. The guy looked like he was still in shock over the whole thing, as the worst-case scenario was clearly unexpected.
"I'm just disappointed, little shocked. I don't feel bad. I expected a game or two, but not this."
Morrow's first call was to Joe Nieuwendyk, who had his ACL tear issues during his career. As far as when he can be back, Morrow said, "I've always thought I recovered fast." He said when he had that nasty wrist injury a few seasons ago, "I kept my hopes up. I need that attitude to get through this."
Meanwhile, Stephane Robidas has been given an "A" in Morrow's absence. Good call, as far as I'm concerned. Robidas has earned that, given his play and his heart. Landon Wilson talked about coming back to Dallas, as he's been looking forward to this opportunity for a while. He's done some good things with Grand Rapids, so we'll see what help he can give the Stars. Doug Janik, meanwhile, will probably be in the lineup tonight. Dave Tippett was asked if seven defensemen was a possibility tonight, and he didn't seem keen on the idea. So wouldn't be surprised if Matt Niskanen is out.
OK, that's more like it from the Stars. They got one on the power play just before the period ended, a scalder from Stephane Robidas, and they're skating much better tonight than the previous two games (certainly better than their last meeting with the Predators). Probably should be up 2-0, but Loui Eriksson's attempt was waived off for that Brenden Morrow goaltending interference call (not sure if Dan Hamhuis might have pushed Morrow into him). Anyway, the Stars are forcing the Predators to make mistakes, and they're buzzing around Mr. Ellis. Fabian Brunnstrom has looked pretty good so far, too.
Was out visiting the Stars today and, thanks to Steve Ott's announcement, noticed that Stephane Robidas got his nose fixed this offseason (actually, not long after the playoffs ended in the spring).
Robidas underwent a 3 1/2-hour procedure, which had doctors taking cartilage from his left ear and putting it in his nose. He had to stay away from sports for a long time (basically anything that could hit him in the face), but the nose is looking good. It's restructured and lifted, so he has a nose fit for a profile again :)
Obviously he didn't get it done for cosmetic purposes. His nose had gotten so bad that he had breathing problems; he was wearing those breathe right-type strips in the playoffs. So now he's back to normal, breathing great and ready to go.