So after a full practice yesterday, with some shuffled forward lines and a couple of new defensive pairings, we now know... nothing.
Well, we know that Kari Lehtonen, thank the hockey gods, should be starting in net on Thursday. Beyond that? Valeri Nichushkin got everyone all excited by skating on the first line at practice... only for us to later be told to not read anything into it, as the shuffling was facilitated by a maintenance day for Erik Cole. Or was it? [Stars Inside Edge]
Lindy Ruff was being all coy about it yesterday. And likewise with the defense pairings. Dillon and Robidas, check. Daley and Benn? Check. Goligoski and Gonchar? Goligoski and Gonchar? Goligoski and Gonchar?
Sorry, I just wanted to type that three times fast. But surely the breaking up of that pairing is significant? Aaron Rome could have quite happily skated in a pairing with Kevin Connauton and no one would have batted an eyelid. Instead we've got more to mull over while we wait for Thursday's game, including Mike Heika saying yesterday, "If you ask me, there is a real chance Connauton is a lineup regular." Great. Thanks Mike. As if there weren't enough speculation going around already.
So Aaron Rome is back, but it's anyone's guess when he'll play. Here are some of his thoughts on returning and being ready for NHL action:
"I feel good, I feel fresh. It was important for me to go down there and focus on it being my training camp, have it be the exhibition games that I didn't get. The first game of training camp is always tough, you're trying to get your timing back and your speed, and as a defenseman trying to get your reads. For me, the first game was tough. The second game, I felt 50 percent better. And the third game, I felt back up to where I needed to be. Obviously it's a different level, it's not the National Hockey League, but it's a good start." [Sports Day DFW]
If Rome does start on Thursday, it will be against the Calgary Flames, so he'll get one more game in against AHL level competition before the real thing Saturday. Ha! If only that were true, instead of every Western Conference team being awesome...
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Pretty sure this article was written after reading through the Defending Big D forums yesterday. No really, I bet it was. Great write-up here on Jim Nill and, brace yourself Bayouboy 'cause this is gonna hurt, PATIENCE. [ESPN]
Treat this as a recap of the Western Conference this past week, instead of power rankings, and you'll be fine. Oh, and don't get too excited. The writer got a bit dyslexic with the Stars record. 3-1-0 woulda been nice this week though eh? [Too Many Men on the Site]
And finally, the fancy stats you've all been waiting for! Cherrymetrics, courtesy of Greg Wyshynski. [Puck Daddy]