Just a quick update from morning skate today as the Dallas Stars prepare to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. The Stars players were given the option of choosing their own lines for the skate, which ended up looking a bit like this:
The irony is that there are some who feel this actually could be a great way to spread around the scoring for the Stars. Perhaps if you swap Eakin and Fiddler, and suddenly there are three pretty deep and interesting lines there. Instead, the Stars will be back to their "normal" lineup as Ruff says he wants to find consistency as long as the team is playing well.
Ryan Garbutt will be back tonight after missing a bit over a week with an upper body injury. Defensive pairings will be the same, and the guess is that Sceviour and Jordie Benn will end up as the scratches once more.
"Right now, I'm going to create some pressure where if the team is winning and you're out, you're going to be staying out," said Ruff on Tuesday. "That'll get the incentive for the guys who are in there to play well. I get the sense when they're rotating, they think ‘Oh next game I'm out anyway.' So I'm going to go in a different direction with that."
Part of that will be getting the pairing of Jyrki Jokipakka and Jamie Oleksiak more ice time. The Stars had Jason Demers and Trevor Daley both with over 25 minutes on Tuesday, something that Dallas would likely want to avoid getting into very often.
"I liked what I saw," said Ruff on the bottom pair. "My goal is to get them more ice time," Ruff said. "My goal is to get these guys playing and get them more involved, get then where the top guys are playing less minutes, and those guys are getting 14 to 15 minutes."
Kari Lehtonen will be in net.
Also of note, Ales Hemsky will be playing in his first game against his old team
"He's getting more pucks to the net, and I think he's going to get rewarded. I think he understands that to get some action, you've got to get inside," said Ruff on Hemsky. "He's had three assists in the last two games, and that's got to make him feel a little better about his game."
Hemsky has had a rough start to his season on the scoreboard, but has been far from playing poorly. In fact, he's been one of the better forwards for the Stars all season -- he just needs to get some puck luck going again.
"I feel like I'm getting plenty of good chances, and they're just not going in," Hemsky told the Dallas Morning News. "When you do that, you just have to keep working and doing the same things, and you have to believe they will start going in."