The Dallas Stars have been struggling this month and while they haven't leaned on it too hard as an excuse, there's no doubt that health has been a paramount concern for them.
Last night Adam Burish and Krys Barch both re-entered the lineup and contributed greatly both on and off the score sheet, but it turned out there was someone else getting healthy who hadn't even missed any time: Loui Eriksson.
Eriksson had been feeling under the weather at various points of the season and has had some flu like symptoms while still playing in 60 of the Stars 61 games this year, but last night the Stars broadcast pulled the curtain back a little on Loui's recent slump to reveal that the Swedish All-Star may have been battling a little more than the occasional upset stomach.
Ralph Strangis and Razor Reaugh said on the telecast he had lost up to 12 pounds and was having a hard time keeping any solid food down. Last night he was evidently feeling a little better and had a good day, leading to a spirited rush up the ice and a pivotal short handed goal for the Stars in Detroit.
"That's the best he's felt in the last week or so," said Crawford after practice today. "He's been playing at a lot less than 100 percent."
Eriksson entered play last night with only three goals in his last 22 games and has been slumping a little since stellar November and Decembers. It seems Brad Richards' absence was not the only thing hampering him.
Now with Richards skating and Loui on the road to recovery from whatever it was, Stars fans have hope that balanced scoring from throughout the lineup can return with the month of March time for a bevy of games against fellow playoff spot competitors in the West, especially the Pacific (9 games in March).
This is the time of year when significant portions of every NHL roster are dealing with these kinds of issues, both minor and in the case of Loui, maybe not so minor. The Stars will have to rise to the challenge if they want to play beyond April 10th. Hats off to Loui for fighting through it.
The Stars PR department asked us to pass along the following notes:
*The game against Nashville on Saturday afternoon will be broadcast on The Ticket's sister station 570 AM KLIF, due to Ticketstock this weekend on 1310 The Ticket. (Hope you enjoyed Craig Lugwid and Jere Lehtinen on with Bob and Dan today)
Incidentally, when asked about Brad Richards Craig Ludwig hemmed and hawed like anyone would but said that he genuinely believes that Richards would like to stay here.
*Next, the game against the Kings on Sunday, March 13th was listed as an NBC game but NBC opted not to pick it up so it will instead be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. No surprise there.
Ray Sawada has been sent back to the AHL now that he's healthy again, and thus ends his month of NHL level paychecks. (Of course, he paid dearly for them)
Brad Richards will not play Saturday, as expected.