You know it's a slow news day when the most interesting thing to come out of Dallas Stars practice is the list of who didn't skate.
Many of the high-minute and high-mileage players skipped the on-ice portion of practice, choosing instead to do off-ice workouts instead. There was one notable exception, however.
Off the ice were: Kari Lehtonen , Brenden Morrow , Stephane Robidas, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder, Jamie Benn, Steve Ott and Jake Dowell.
Dowell is the only name that doesn't fit among the high minute guys, and he was battling illness today.
Ott suffered a hip injury Thursday against the Kings, but he returned to play and said he was fine. Expect him to play Saturday against the Devils.
Further reading tells me Ott may have been cut by a skate (which would be odd on a hip, but I've heard of stranger things I guess).
Enjoy this game, as the team doesn't play its next game until Friday. Have I mentioned the NHL scheduling people are weird? Because they are.
After the jump, a teeny bit more on today's game against the New Jersey Devils, desperate New York Rangers fans ask for the unthinkable and the return of hockey hugs. You might notice an effort to include several smile-worthy stories today. I'll let you infer why.
- Like I said, it's another really slow day on the news front other than the couple of minor updates about Ott and Dowell availability mentioned above. In fact, it's so slow that I'm forced to link you to this Stars-Devils preview in order to have something else about today's game from a Stars standpoint on here. Fact that jumped out at me: The Devils have only been on the power play five times in the past three games. [ESPN Dallas]
- Steve Ott might already be a little bit banged up, but he recently hit a big milestone by playing his 500th NHL game (in the 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings). That's quite an accomplishment for a player more known league-wide for his mouth than his hands, though we know as Stars fans that he's a deceptively productive player. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- The Stars aren't mentioned in this article about how team chemistry can help win, though there is some implication that the loss of Adam Burish had a much bigger impact on the Chicago Blackhawks than one would think on the ice. But given how this team has been assembled - with a bunch of parts that aren't necessarily going to bring in high UFA dollars - I thought it was interesting to consider that might also bring side benefits within the locker room. [Sports Illustrated]
- New York Rangers fans want Sean Avery back already? What the heck are they smoking up there? [Puck Daddy]
- Know an NBA fan looking for something to watch until that league gets its CBA issues worked out? Have them fill out this handy application for NBA-turned-NHL fans so you can help them through the transition. [Down Goes Brown]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Our friends over at In Lou We Trust give us the rundown on what's going on with the New Jersey Devils and what we might expect out of tonight's game. I'll admit, I'm about to put Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora in the Nicklas Lidstrom category of "hockey players that just might be robots because no real human could play this long." [In Lou We Trust]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: On a night where the Stars are going to honor Joe Nieuwendyk, the Devils beat writer takes a look back at what he brought to that team during the 2003 Cup finals and how his approach to the game is exactly what the Devils need right now. [The Star-Ledger]
- Around the Pacific Division: The San Jose Sharks kept rolling Friday with a 4-2 win at the home of the Detroit Red Wings. Can I just say that the lead of this article makes me roll my eyes so hard they almost pop out of my head? Joe Louis Arena really doesn't have that much of a mystique anymore. Heck, even the freaking Stars, who were once scared of their own shadows there, can win there now. In non-game news, the Phoenix Coyotes made a minor trade with the Nashville Predators that may signal a further breakdown in negotiations with Kyle Turris. [NHL.com/Arizona Republic]
- Another idea the Stars need to blatantly steal from other teams, and possibly the secret to James Neal's success so far this season: cardboard Brooks Orpik. [PittsburghPenguins.com]
- I've linked the first post in this series previously, but c'mon, you can never get enough hysterical out-of-context hockey hugs. No Stars have made an appearance yet, sadly, but I couldn't stop giggling at the Anaheim Ducks picture. [Puck Daddy]
- We're back to Gulutzan for today's featured Stars video (seriously, they need to go back to that "mic'ed up" pregame skate feature that brought us Steve Ott harassing Jeff Halpern for no real apparent reason). A couple minor injury updates and general thoughts on playing the eastern conference and how things are going at this point in the season are the highlights.