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Stars' Lindy Ruff: Patience for Alex Goligoski, Sergei Gonchar Pairing "Has Run Out"

Speaking on 1310 The Ticket Wednesday afternoon Stars head coach Lindy Ruff confirmed that a shakeup on defense is coming.

Doug Pensinger

"I think the patience for that [pairing] has run out," Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff told Bob and Dan on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket Wednesday afternoon.

The pair was separated five minutes into Sunday's loss in Anaheim, with Gonchar teaming up with Jordie Benn and Goligoski with Trevor Daley. Indications this week in practice have been that the pair will not reunite, and one could even sit.

"There's cases where pairs don't work and it's my job to maybe find a better mix for them," Ruff continued. "That might be splitting them up. That might be maybe sitting and watching the game, but usually you can put a guy maybe with another guy and it will add a different dimension. Maybe more size for you. Really right there we've got two guys that are based on puck movement and offense. Maybe breaking those two up now and putting a defender with each of them would be a better situation for us. "

The Stars are heavy on puck movers - Daley, Gonchar, Goligoski, Connauton, and light on "defender" types - Dillon, and Aaron Rome, now on waivers. Stephane Robidas might be placed in either category.

Kevin Connauton could see his first action with the Stars tomorrow on a reconfigured defense. "There's a good chance we will put him in the lineup tomorrow," Ruff told Bob and Dan, but that doesn't mean someone will sit. Injury to Erik Cole (day-to-day now) and likely suspension to Ryan Garbutt means the Stars could carry seven on the back end.

Whether one sits or not, it looks like both will be expelled from the power play units. Reports from Frisco today had Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley working on the first and second units where Goligoski and Gonchar started the year.

Alex Goligoski's -10 rating is tied for last in the NHL among 220 eligible defensemen.

However the defense works out, his number-one defender appears to be back in business for tomorrow night. "Kari looks really good," Ruff added, so there's no reason to expect anyone else in net versus Calgary.

Lines for practice were these:



Alex Goligoski practiced on the fourth line, but nothing much should be read into that. They're short Erik Cole and Ryan Garbutt, so Goligoski helps fill things in for practice's sake. He's not going to play forward.

We're waiting for quotes but expect little in the way of anything too committal where Nichushkin and Peverley are concerned. Erik Cole's availability will determine what options they have, but it looks like they could be without him.

Another option on that fourth line: If Rome clears waivers he could be assigned tomorrow and someone like a Travis Morin or Colton Sceviour could be re-called. They've been tearing it up down there and certainly warrant a look.