Dallas Stars Practice Update: Ray Whitney Out for Tampa Bay Game; Erik Cole Game-Day Decision

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Benn was also given the day off practice as the Stars prepare to continue their road trip in Florida with a game against the Lightning.

Another member of the Dallas Stars foward corps is down for the count, at least temporarily, as Ray Whitney will not play in Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of a lower-body injury suffered in the loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

There's no mention if this injury is connected to the one that caused Whitney to miss practice earlier this week and, at least as of yet, no idea how long he might be out.

The team may get veteran forward Erik Cole back in his place, though the winger is officially a game-day decision as he tries to come back from an upper-body injury. Cole is one of three players tied for third on the team with 16 goals this season.

If Cole cannot play, the Stars would have to recall a forward from the Texas Stars to be able to field 12 healthy forwards. It's been, what, a week since they've used an emergency recall? So they're about due again.

[Ed. note: And in how these things have been going recently, just after publishing this, the Stars officially recalled Chris Mueller again, who must have enough frequent flyer miles for quite a nice vacation this summer after all the back-and-forth he's been doing recently.]

You'll also notice a familiar name missing on the first line as the Stars gave captain Jamie Benn the day off for maintenance. Cole took his place on the first line for the day.

And on the back end...

No word on which goalie will go on Saturday, though you'd expect with the travel between the back-to-back games as well as another set of back-to-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday, Kari Lehtonen and Tim Thomas could very well split starts in the Sunshine State.

The Lightning will also be coming into this game more than a little annoyed after a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames on Thursday. They are safely in the playoffs in the east but still fighting for positioning, home-ice and all that other fun stuff the Stars are hoping to be worried about by the end of next weekend.

They had been playing well going into that game and clinched a berth with a 3-1 win over the Canadiens earlier this week.

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