For the first time since early this season, the Dallas Stars had a practice where everybody was on the ice.
That might seem like a small thing, but the Stars hope it signifies a change in fortunes for a team that hit a slump just before the All-Star break.
With Jamie Benn back from his appendectomy and Mike Ribeiro willing to play on a still-somewhat-wonky knee, the last additions to the healthy list were Stephane Robidas and Brenden Morrow.
Robidas had been playing with a hairline fracture in his foot according to the Stars broadcast crew while Morrow missed the team's most recent game against the Anaheim Ducks with what he called a neck/shoulder issue.
"It was just some maintenance stuff that needed to be done," Morrow said. "We took care of it and the body feels pretty good right now."
Gulutzan said Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, who returned for the final game before break from a MCL injury, are at about 95-96 percent at this point. Stephane Robidas, who has been dealing with a foot injury, is doing a lot better.
In another story in the Morning News, Ribeiro mentions he has a structural problem with the knee that he can play with while it's braced. Remind me to question the Stars definition of a "tweak" next time they say a problem is minor.
After the jump, a look at the playoff race and where the Stars fit into it, hockey players in Plano get some good news and the San Jose Sharks newest secret weapon.
- This month will be extremely important to whatever playoff push the Stars plan on making this season, and coach Glen Gulutzan said he thinks they have at least one run in them in this paywalled story. [DallasNews.com]
- The race for a playoff spot is very, very crowded at the moment, and Mark Stepneski has a pretty good breakdown of where every team stands heading into the games that start up again tonight. [ESPN Dallas]
- This is really a fantasy hockey story that makes mention of a few Stars players about 3/4 of the way through. But I linked it because it reminded me just how important, and busy, this month will be for Dallas. [CBSSports]
- Multiple Stars make an appearance on this list of the Top 10 goals of the first half, though probably not as high as some around here might have liked. [Backhand Shelf]
- Oh Prince Edward Island, the amount of politicking that's going on about the Stars training camp there the past two years is entering the realm of slightly absurd. [CBC]
- I first learned how to play hockey at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Plano from Whip (a former Dallas Blackhawk and wonderful human being). That rink has been closed for a while now due to some foundation problems, but apparently the Stars sale being finalized means they can finally get around to the business of fixing the place to re-open it this summer. [WFAA]
- The worst part of NHL All-Star weekend is pretty clearly the game itself, but the whole celebration, along with other annual events like the Winter Classic, have enjoyed an increased audience thanks to NHL director of operations John Collins, who jumped over from the NFL about one year after the lockout. [Sports Illustrated]
- And speaking of the All-Star game, the commonly told story is that the first one was a benefit for Ace Bailey after he suffered a severe injury at the hands of Eddie Shore. But the real history is quite deeper than that. [Backhand Shelf]
- Meet the enemy: The Anaheim Ducks get back to the ice one day before the Stars do as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. [AnaheimDucks.com]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Stars offense struggled with its two top centers out, but the Los Angeles Kings offense has struggled for most of the season. And goalie Jonathan Quick has had to bear the brunt of that in his stats. [Grantland]
- The San Jose Sharks will try out their newest pest in their attempts to find someone to out-annoy Steve Ott today when Nyjer Morgan of the Milwaukee Brewers skates with the team. [Puck Daddy]
- This was advertised as a highlight reel of Stars practice, but it's more like some B-reel of practice over several interviews. Even so, I do like the parts of the interviews they pulled out to feature. I'd like it more if it were all over practice footage, but I'm a nerd like that.