Mike Heika reports in from practice today, where things got pretty interesting on the ice when Steve Begin took the place of Mike Ribeiro as the top line center. Yes, you read that right.
However, that's supposed to just be temporary since Ribeiro was not at practice today in San Jose so he could "rest". James Neal was also not at practice and although Dave Tippett proclaimed he wouldn't talk about injuries, he did say that both were probable for tomorrow's game against the Sharks. Steve Begin and Brian Sutherby, on the other hand, are most likely out.
Follow the jump for a look at the lines in Friday's practice as well as an updated outlook for Brad Richards' return.
Based on the lines Heika notes were on the ice and who is supposed to return tomorrow, perhaps we can guess that tomorrow's lines will look like this:
A couple of interesting things to note about the lines above. First, Lehtinen is back on the top line with Ribeiro and Steve Ott, a combination that was very dangerous back in January and early February. Richards centering Morrison and Eriksson could also become a very dangerous line. You have sound defensive forwards along with some very skilled offensive talent. It will be very interesting to see what they can do together.
However, the biggest adjustment is on the third line. Neal and Conner are once again back on a line with Mike Modano. It's seemed that Modano has been at his best this season when he's played with the younger guys on the team. It reinvigorates him in a way and it's obvious he has a better jump on the ice when he's playing with Neal.
As far as Brad Richards goes, it's still up in the air. Heika mentions that he looked real good on the ice today in practice but that the final determination will come after tomorrows pre-game skate. Based on what happened at practice today, it's obvious the Stars are planning on him playing.
Heika leaves us with this gem of a quote, that pretty much sums up how this last month has gone:
This entire team is ``day to day,'' it seems.
Aren't we all.