Dallas Stars Make Valeri Nichushkin Healthy Scratch Tonight in Colorado

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Lane MacDermid draws in tonight to help slow down the speedy Avalanche in Denver.

There is news out of Denver this afternoon, and many fans aren't going to like it much.

After four pointless games and only a single shot on goal produced along with a -1 rating, Dallas Stars rookie and first-round draft pick Valeri Nichushkin will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.

Nichushkin began the season with Vernon Fiddler and Shawn Horcoff before sliding to more of a fourth line look with Fiddler and Garbutt upon Rich Peverley's return that pushed Erik Cole down the lineup.

The shot and the minus-one rating came in the season opener when Nichushkin played nearly 20 minutes. He's been limited to about 13 minutes since, not able to noticeably affect play one way or the other. Mike Heika says the Stars think it's a chance for him to "take a breath."

It's tricky to know how to handle this if you're the Stars. They've done everything they can to make him feel a part of the team and that the best thing for him is to be here, playing sheltered minutes. It can't be easy to be patient for an 18 year-old, but hopefully he's on the same page and not wondering how many tallies he'd have in the KHL by now.

After a great Traverse City tournament and a productive training camp it looked like it might just come easily for him, with the requisite bumps along the way paid for by offense. There's been no offense, however, nor any real generation of chances.

In the KHL he could use his natural gifts to generate. Here he's finding out that it's a lot harder, and it will take some time. It's OK. He's 18 stinking years old.

Lane MacDermid comes in and gives the Stars a different look against what Razor calls a pretty abrasive fourth line for Colorado, so it's prudent tactically.

Defensive pairings will remain the same tonight, as will the top three lines.

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