The Dallas Stars were one of the healthiest teams in the league and still couldn't keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.
Now the injury conga-line is in full swing.
Tyler Seguin missed time with concussion-like symptoms, Stephane Robidas is out six months with multiple leg fractures. Ryan Garbutt is out with a bone bruise. Aaron Rome is on IR. Now Trevor Daley, dependable, durable Trevor Daley, will miss considerable time with what some are calling a high ankle sprain.
Daley was dispossessing James van Riemsdyk of the puck coming back into the defensive zone when the Maple Leaf appeared to drag him down from behind, without comment from a near-by official one way or the other, excusing, somehow, a devastating injury to the Dallas defense and a subsequent Toronto goal.
The moving pictures, that say van Riemsdyk got "upended by Daley"...
The Stars are saying lower body injury. Mike Heika names it as a high ankle sprain here.
"He's got an injury that looks like it's going to be a little bit of time," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff after the game. "Our people will evaluate it, but I can just tell you that it's going to be nothing that is going to be short-term."
Circuitous verbiage from the head coach, but it amounts to what could be a 4-8 week absence for Daley if other high ankle sprains in various sports teach us anything.
So Jordie Benn's night off in Toronto while Kevin Connauton and Jamie Oleksiak both played turned into a sort of preview of things to come. Now the elder Benn will be in. As will Brenden Dillon, Connauton and Oleksiak- Making it one of the younger blue lines in the league sans the average bloating years of Segei Gonchar.
Stephen Meserve at Hundred Degree Hockey likes Cameron Gaunce as the next man up if Dallas needs another body, and Etienne Boutet as a call-up from Idaho for the Texas Stars- Because when this happens in the NHL the proverbial excrement rolls down the hill. It's next-man-up for the entire organization.
After Daley's departure the pairings generally revolved around these sets:
And Jamie Oleksiak floated around in between.
Connauton and Gonchar had a big night, driving the play offensively while giving up almost nothing, statistically, in the way of pucks toward Kari Lehtonen. The Stars track chances internally and if their findings are the same that pair could get some run. Connauton was terrific last night, and recorded his first NHL point.
Goligoski and Dillon saw the better competition and were more challenged. The guess is that will be your number-one pair moving forward, but only if they're comfortable with Jordie Benn and Oleksiak together as, one might assume, a lesser minute third pairing.
Then there's the 'T' word. I won't even say it, but you know that Jim Nill has to be at least surveying the landscape and taking stock of what options exist. Two of his main men are down. Patching things together as they currently stand is doable. If one more goes down, well...
We see how it all starts unfolding Saturday at 1:00pm against the Flyers at home.
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