After a road-heavy schedule to start the season the Dallas Stars returned home for long awaited extended stay over the Thanksgiving holiday with a chance to start some real home cooking.
A big win over the Anaheim Ducks followed the desired script to perfection.
What happened after that is hard to get our arms around even now. Dallas lost Stephane Robidas, then a third period lead to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Then fans and media discovered they lost Tyler Seguin, and in short order another third period lead to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
Four out of six points, but at a tremendous cost. Tyler Seguin reacted adversely to a hit in the Chicago game Friday night.
"Earlier in the week, there was a muscle strain that we kept him off the ice for, but these two incidents are not related," Ruff said. "It was just a hit that didn't seem like too much, but just caught him right, and he wasn't feeling good the next morning."
Seguin was officially credited with hitting Oduya in the first period and Kane in the third. According to the off-ice officials he "took" no hits in the game, but that doesn't mean anything. Seguin played one shift in overtime and took his turn in the 22-man shootout.
The news was, therefore, shocking on the heels of the Robidas injury, given Seguin's involvement in all things positive for Dallas this season. I've mentioned this several times previously, going back to the preseason, but I'll say it again - I had come to think of Seguin/Benn as an ace in a pitching staff. If things are going poorly they're the ones who step on the playing surface and right the ship. Stem the tide. Turn it, more often than not.
To be without that dynamic going forward indefinitely, and to call upon Cody Eakin and company to all move up a slot (not trading Fiddler looks better and better...) challenges an already, on some nights, beleaguered forward group.
And now we know that while we were busy scribbling defensive pairings on the back of cocktail napkins Lindy Ruff and staff were sweating major shufflings on the back end AND the front end.
Here was Ruff's first interpretation of the situation last night:
What jumps off the page when looking at the numbers from last night is the poor performance of the Peverley line. Peverley's done little wrong in the eyes of many (mine included) and so I was interested to see if he could raise Whitney's play in a manner that Cody Eakin could not.
They got a face full of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall last night and kept them off the scoreboard, so on one hand it's mission accomplished, but they were also caught chasing on Hemsky's goal to end the second. The Stars need offense right now, and that they did not generate- Now they have to try in Chicago and in Toronto.
That Jamie Benn continues to struggle to finish is frustrating. That he continues to generate chances even away from Seguin, however, is encouraging.
Nichushkin looks like the loser on paper here as he slides down to an odd mix on the fourth line, until you see that he was (5-on-5) on the ice for 11 shots toward the Edmonton net for, and only 2 against. His possession numbers are always strong. It's just a matter of finishing, and the now long-running supposition is that he will start. Sometime.
One game against a lesser quality opponent showed the Stars could get their chances (finishing them is another post...) without Seguin. In Chicago they may not be so lucky, and if the power play is to get better one would imagine he would have to be a part of it.
The good news is that he'll be on the plane this afternoon. The bad news is that there are several incremental steps that must be taken before he can safely re-take the ice.
"As soon as he feels better and can exercise and the symptoms go away, he'll be back getting ready to play," Ruff said last night.
When that will be is anyone's guess, but the Stars will be careful with their new prized possession. His youth will likely make it easier to bounce back, but we've seen these things drag on before.
The Stars march forward without two of their most important players. The west, somehow, just got even harder. The Stars kept inching forward this weekend, even if they were facing backward while they did it. Now the "next man up" mentality must take over as they visit hostile buildings Tuesday and Thursday.
- Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stephane Robidas' Presence Missed in Loss to Edmonton Oilers
- Dallas Stars Fail to Convert Opportunities and Fall to the Edmonton Oilers in the Shootout
- Gameday Thread: Dallas Stars Host Edmonton Oilers
- Gameday Preview: Edmonton Oilers @ Dallas Stars (5:00pm CST)
- Dallas Stars' Stephane Robidas Out 4-6 Months; Jamie Oleksiak Recalled