As the Stars' MASH unit prepares to roll out on the road for a two week, five game road trip, Glen Gulutzan's medical updates are getting cheerier and cheerier. Brenden Morrow and Trevor Daley should both be back in the lineup Thursday to play the hated (but not for long) San Jose Sharks.
Even better news still might be the condition of Alex Goligoski, absent the last 12 games with a broken hand. His prognosis was a 4-6 week recovery period but he's well ahead of that, and even a possibility for Thursday night as well.
"I think it's a 50/50 possibility for sure...no, I think it's better than that. I think it's 60/40 that he'll play Thursday,'' Gulutzan said after practice Tuesday afternoon.
If Daley and Goligoski both come back in the lineup, pending what happens with Mark Fistric's disciplinary phone hearing today, Philip Larsen could be sent back to Texas as early as tomorrow. The team won't have to officially activate anyone from IR until Thursday so they have some time to think about it.
If Goligoski cannot go on Thursday, the defensive pairings could be made back into what they were before, or close it: Robidas/Souray, Grossman/Daley, Fistric (or Pardy) and Larsen. If Fistric is suspended that decision gets a little easier. Goligoski's injury may make him a tenuous participant for the next week or so. The Stars may want to keep an extra defenseman until he's back in the swing of things.
Tomas Vincour looks like the odd-man out then, despite how well he's been playing. Brenden Morrow will presumably come back to the Ribeiro line with Steve Ott, and that Fiddler line looks pretty, so Texas could get one of their best scorers back in Vincour.
All of that begs the question: What happens when Adam Burish comes back in another 10-14 days? It's not a bad problem to have but it makes you wonder how handling so many bodies on the fourth line will bode long term.
Meanwhile Kari Lehtonen's recovery is said to be progressing steadily. "He's already to a point where there's no sharp pain, just kind of an aching, and that's a real good sign." Gulutzan said. "I think they think he's ahead of schedule."
How would you handle the lines and defensive pairings for this upcoming week?