Fan favorite and opposing fan target-of-rage Steve Ott was back on the practice ice with the Dallas Stars for Monday's practice, but his status for today's game against the Florida Panthers is still up in the air.
Ott has missed the last five games with a hip pointer. The injury is starting to clear up, but there's that little matter of getting back into game shape.
"It's going to be a game-time decision tomorrow," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He's very, very close. He's a for sure for Friday. I'd say it's pretty close for tomorrow. He skated the last couple days at home. He's feeling pretty good. I think the only thing is his conditioning. If we waited until Friday he's going to be as close as he can get to 100 percent. I'd say he's pretty close to 90-95 percent right now. We'll see how that goes tomorrow in the morning."
If Ott does play, Gulutzan went on to say, he probably won't slot right back on to the top lines as the team will limit his minutes. Regardless, it will be fun to have his hockey-troll antics back out there soon.
After the jump, more on today's game against the Florida Panthers, Jamie Benn claims another victim and players' thoughts on the Brenden Morrow bobblehead.
- Mark Stepneski catches up with the team about coming home to face the Florida Panthers and what they have tweaked from the last two games. [ESPN Dallas]
- And this paywalled story from Mike Heika promises to take readers behind the learning curve of Glen Gulutzan after the end of the road trip. [DallasNews.com]
- The Morning News brings us the AP story from the HHOF inductions, which includes Joe Nieuwendyk reminiscing on the strange things the Stars did for Eddie Belfour and some discussion of the former goalie's wardrobe. [DallasNews.com]
- Things I learned from the Stars behind-the-scenes photo epic, which has its final installment of the road trip here - Mark Fistric does an excellent contemplative face, and Vernon Fiddler's mustache gets more epic by the minute. [DallasStars.com]
- To incorrectly paraphrase Razor, if you can't win, at least make the other team break something. And that's exactly what Jamie Benn did to the Detroit Red Wings, as Ian White might have saved a goal with his face blocking a Benn shot, but he broke his cheekbone. [Fox Sports Detroit]
- And speaking of Benn, he gets some fantasy hockey love in this Puck Daddy column. Anyone wanna have a caption contest with the photo at the top of this entry? [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: The Panthers are impressed with the play, and the raw speed, of young Evgeny Dadonov. [Miami Herald]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Our friends at Litter Box Cats run down all the numbers you would ever need to know about the Panthers after their first 16 games. [Litter Box Cats]
- Around the Pacific Division: A familiar face will show up much more often now because the Anaheim Ducks have picked up former Stars winger Niklas Hagman off of re-entry waivers from the Calgary Flames. [ESPN Los Angeles]
- One of the wonderful weekly features out there in hockey blog land is this takedown of the NHL.com headline puns. Seriously, it's good times, and you will laugh almost as much as you will roll your eyes at the terrible, terrible headlines. [The Royal Half]
- Okay, for one, Steve Ott has more personality than all the other post-practice interviews combined, and his mustache makes him look like he could fit right in at a NASCAR event. I love it.