At the end of yet another three-day break between games, the Dallas Stars have had a very eventful past 24 hours or so with players going on injured reserve, players being called up and even rumors of players asking to be traded breaking in the lead up to their game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Lindy Ruff addressed two of these in his media availability after the team's morning skate at Rexall Place this morning. Ray Whitney's mystery injury will just have to remain a secret a little while longer.
The Stars coach did address the call-up who will fill in for Whitney during his absence, 29-year-old Travis Morin. Morin has been absolutely tearing up the AHL this season and will be in the lineup tonight.
"I've just heard a lot of good things," Ruff said of Morin. "I think the point production speaks for itself. Somehow he got there. He's got to be doing a lot of good things. I think where I have him, and us losing a skill guy, you need another skill guy to go in there. And he deserves the opportunity. For me, I'd like to see what he can do.
"He was good in the last couple games I played him in the preseason. I liked him in Oklahoma City when he played that game. So maybe it's just time to take a look and give him that opportunity."
Morin has 10 goals and 24 points in 13 AHL games with the Texas Stars, and he has played in three career NHL games.
With the addition of Morin, the Stars scrambled their lower three lines yet again. Here's what they were running in morning skate:
Stars lines at morning skate in Edmonton: Benn-Seguin-Nichushkin, Chiasson-Eakin-Cole, Horcoff-Fiddler-Peverley, Roussel-Morin-Garbutt.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 13, 2013
I believe this may be the first time Alex Chiasson will play the left side in an NHL game, given that he's been attached at the hip with Whitney since Chiasson's NHL debut last season.
The defensive pairs will remain the same as last game and Kari Lehtonen will be in net.
Ruff also talked about the recent Vernon Fiddler rumors. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that Fiddler approached the Stars a few weeks ago and asked to be traded if his role was going to continue to decrease. Fiddler has seen an uptick in playing time since then (indeed, he was one of the heroes of the recent road trip), but now that the story is out there, Ruff was asked to address the types of conversations he's had with Fiddler about playing time.
"I've had conversations with Vern on where he's at and where he was at last year," Ruff said. "Those conversations are really between the coach and the player. It wouldn't be fair for me to even address the rumors. But I can tell you we've had conversations on where I see his role and where it's going to end up and try to end up. Those have been real good conversations with Vern.
"He's been very professional. Vern's a good guy. Again, it's a long season. You have ups and downs, and he's a guy that just wants to play. And you want that. You want a guy to come bang on your door and say, 'Come on, I want to play more.'"
If today didn't have enough story lines already, it's also the homecoming for Shawn Horcoff, who played 13 years in Edmonton and was the Oilers captain for three years before being traded this offseason.
You can watch a bit of Ruff's media availability session here: