With Brenden Morrow out for at least the next few games while dealing a lingering neck injury the Dallas Stars called up Tomas Vincour, with the hopeful thought was that Vincour might just slide up to the spot vacated by the captain. We didn't know exactly what coach Glen Gulutzan would actually do, especially since we've seen a hesitation to play Vincour in a significant role for much of the season.
Gulutzan has decided to actually shake things up a bit more than expected, moving Eric Nystrom to the second line to play with Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder. Here were the lines at morning skate:
Ott - Benn - Eriksson
Nystrom - Ribeiro - Ryder
Vincour - Fiddler - Dvorak
Dowell - Wandell - Burish
The Stars will also be going with six defensemen tonight, with Adam Pardy and Mark Fistric being the scratches. Nicklas Grossman will be paired back up with Trevor Daley, while the other pairings remain the same.
After the skate, Nystrom said he's excited about the chance to play with Ribeiro but made sure to make it known this isn't anything special.
"I'm excited," Nystrom said. "Obviously, someone's gotta fill in spots and step up when it's needed. I'm just going to play my game, I'm going to go to the net and do whatever is needed.
"I just want to try and create space for [Ribeiro], drive to the net and open things up for him. I'm going to be around the net, just like always and hopefully be able to finish."
More after the jump, including an update (sort of) on Brenden Morrow.
Nystrom plays an uptempo game that should be able to help push the offense forward for Ribeiro, as well as provide the net presence and finishing ability that Ribeiro has been lacking with Morrow's struggles. While you might be concerned with the defensive liability of that line without Ryder, it's also good to see Eriksson back with Benn on the top line.
That being said, seeing Vincour playing with the Fiddler line might be exactly what the young forward needs. We've seen how Gulutzan likes to roll the third line fairly often so Vincour will almost certainly see more than the four minutes he had the last time he was with Dallas. Playing with Fiddler and Dvorak, he should also be able to better play his natural style of creating havoc along the boards and creating chances.
As far as Morrow goes, Gultuzan stated that he doesn't really know more than what we learned yesterday when he was put on injured reserve. Morrow is still dealing with lingering neck issues that he played through in Anaheim and San Jose, and the Stars have decided he needs more time to help deal with that injury. He's apparently going to be meeting with the doctor's over this weekend and hopefully come out on the other side healthier than he has been the past few months.
I'm hopeful, but not entirely optimistic.
I have to say I'm a fan of the decision to put Nystrom on the second line as it adds a much different dynamic than someone like Burish, especially if they don't trust Vincour enough in that role. Gultuzan says that they feel Vincour is better than a fourth line player but he's still young and they're working with him to help him mature as a player overall.
In the meantime, Nystrom steps up.