For their sake it's probably a good thing that there's no video (at least that we've see yet) of Karlis Skrastins skating into Matt Niskanen. That's the wrong kind of Dallas Stars viral video waiting to happen because of the rather odd and seemingly disproportionate consequences to a pre-period warm-up skate. (For other examples of embarrassing Stars videos read: Patrick Stefan)
A likely concussion for Skrastins, a broken nose, a cut hand and a chipped tooth for Matt Niskanen later and this blue line is all of a sudden pretty banged up.
Minor bumps and bruises are a normal part of the hockey season but the rumors and reports after the fact of guys playing "banged up" are starting to mount. The Stars were probably a little lucky on the injury front last season, sans a Ribeiro throat spearing, and they've definitely been on the good end of it this seasons. They have lost the second fewest games to injury in the the league to this point, but it doesn't take a big marquee injury to affect a club.
Consider that Brad Richards is playing with a broken toe, Brenden Morrow's broken nose, James Neal is fighting through something in the St. Louis game, Loui Eriksson supposedly had a problem in the Nashville game, Nick Grossman and Tom Wandell missed time with illness, Toby Petersen is now out again with vague lower body "various soreness" and now Skrastins will likely miss time (and has already with a bruised quad) as could Matt Niskanen, though he can play with a broken nose and some dental work...
It's normal, but it can ominously feel like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche when they start piling up one by one like this. Especially because on a hockey club I am convinced there are always two or three maladies the media knows nothing about.
You may have seen the "Nerf Sword" that Adam Burish purchased at a Toys R' Us. It's presented to players who play through little dings and scratches, no matter how chintzy they may be. It's a testament to playing through pain, "every day, for each other.
Lucky for the Stars, they play only three games in the next nine days, featuring a three day break at home next week. There's a two day break the week after that and five days off for the All-Star break at the end of the month. Bad news for bloggers, good news for big toes and sore "lower bodies."
With Edmonton coming up three times, Minnesota, Calgary and some winnable home games, January can be a very useful month to offer little in the way of "relenting" and really infuriate the Sharks and Kings in the division. It would be a shame for injury to de-rail any such effort.
They've proven a hardy bunch so far. Let's hope it continues and everyone can get healthy for the stretch run.