When Sheldon Souray is activated from injured reserve sometime later this week (they hope), the Stars will have their full compliment of NHL roster players available for the first time in months. That is, unless Mike Ribeiro is injured after a collision affecting his knee against the Oilers on Saturday.
"Ribby thinks he can play, which is a good sign and he finished that game, which is always a real good sign. However, for the player and his career, we have to take a look at that knee," said Glen Gulutzan. "He won't be a player for Tuesday. Once we get the results of the MRI we might fly him out Wednesday to L.A." [ESPN Dallas]
Not having Ribeiro is a big deal for the Stars as they look to build on a two game win streak. He's been productive lately through pain and was lucky to finish both games. It appeared he could have a broken cheek/jaw bone in Nashville and escaped with dental work only, and then the knee injury at home on Saturday.
Missing Ribeiro on Tuesday night will allow the Ducks to enjoy "last change" focused on the Benn line and the Benn line only. It will be up to Tom Wandell and the puck possession skills of Loui Eriksson to ensure a balanced scoring threat continues until Ribeiro returns. That Fiddler trio has been quiet lately as well, and will be looking to help out.
With Adam Burish clicking and Jamie Benn double shifting on the fourth line Tom Wandell has five points in his last four games, (1 goal, 4 assists)...So perhaps there's some serendipitous timing here with the opportunity to go along with the confidence built over the last five contests.
More on Souray, Fistric and Kari Lehtonen after the jump...
The Ribeiro situation seems to be a precautionary one, but we'll wait for the MRI like everyone else as you never know what's going to come up and those are things that need to be managed properly over the long term.
The ever-changing defensive lineup could get a healthy Sheldon Souray back on Tuesday after he missed six games with an ankle sprain. The bad news is that Philip Larsen is still out and now Mark Fistric is suffering from the flu.
Defensive combinations were these at practice today according to multiple sources...
We might expect Gulutzan to take seven defenemen into the Ducks game, as has been his custom at times when working bodies back into the lineup, but Ribeiro's absence cuts off that option. It will be interesting to see what they do with the d-pairs if Souray comes back. This practice lineup doesn't give us much of an indication.
Souray is "60-40" for Tuesday night according to Gulutzan.
If they want to keep Robidas and Goligoski together then there's going to be a third pairing leftover with two bigs: Either Grossman and Pardy or Souray and Pardy.
Finally, Kari Lehtonen appears to be fine and ready to go. There was a little bit of a panic spread throughout the AAC when word of "stiffness" (uttered on the television pre-game show) came down Saturday afternoon. The official word was that he was not feeling well. Now it seemed he did indeed have a touch of the flu (same as Fistric now) and will be ready to go. Richard Bachman, of course, performed splendidly when called upon.
Lehtonen should be able to start the next three games, and then they'll have to make decisions on two back to back sets in a row. (@STL, home to Detroit, then Tampa Bay at home and @Minnesota)
How would you construct your d-pairs sans Fistric but with Pardy and Souray?