Even with the two-week absence of goalie Kari Lehtonen, the Dallas Stars have been relatively lucky in the injury department so far this season. They've only had to deal with a nagging injury to Erik Cole early in the year and the prolonged recovery of Aaron Rome from off-season hip surgery among their skaters.
That run of luck came to an end Tuesday as the club announced they were placing veteran forward Ray Whitney on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. The designation was retroactive to Saturday, when he apparently suffered the injury against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Whitney practiced on Monday and played the entire game against the Blackhawks, so the nature of the injury isn't entirely clear. While he's been a little maligned for his lack of goal scoring this season, he is third on the team with seven assists.
The Stars had indicated they were ready to juggle lines even before Whitney went on IR, trying out him with Rich Peverley and Vernon Fiddler and moving Valeri Nichushkin up to the first line at Monday's practice. In today's practice, Antoine Roussel was the winger alongside Whitney's usual linemates of Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson while Nichushkin stayed on the first line.
Ryan Garbutt was the man tapped to play next to Peverley and Fiddler at today's practice while Lane MacDermid filled out the fourth line with Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole.
To fill the hole left by Whitney, the Stars recalled Travis Morin from the Texas Stars. Morin, 29, has been absolutely lighting up the AHL so far this season with 10 goals and 24 points in 13 games with Texas. He was the AHL Player of the Month for October after scoring an eye-popping 19 points in eight games. He was not at practice today, so there's no indication yet where he may fit in the lineup.
Whitney is eligible to return this weekend and could come off IR in time to play at Vancouver on Sunday if whatever is bothering him has healed. He will definitely miss games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.
Here's the official release from the team:
The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has placed forward Ray Whitney on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 9 when he suffered a lower-body injury against the Chicago Blackhawks. The club has also recalled forward Travis Morin from the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Whitney, 41, has skated in all 17 games for Dallas this season and ranks third on the club with seven assists. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward from Ft. Saskatchewan, Alta., ranks third among active NHL players in games played (1,278) and is sixth in points (377-669=1,040). Whitney was San Jose's second-round selection (23rd) overall in the 1991 NHL Draft and was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2012.
Morin, 29, leads the entire AHL with 24 points (10-14=24) and has recorded at least one point in 12 of his 13 games with Texas this season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward was selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October, registering 19 points in eight games (8-11=19). The native of Brooklyn Park, Minn., has appeared in three career National Hockey League (NHL) contests, all as a member of the Dallas Stars. Originally drafted by Washington in the ninth-round (263rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft, Morin was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 12, 2010.