Game 82 on the Dallas Stars' schedule has arrived, and it is completely, blissfully irrelevant. The Stars will stop by Glendale tonight because they have to. After all, it's on the way to Anaheim.
A rare stress-free display of Stars hockey is on tap this evening. Well, almost stress free. The focus now is on the health of the team, and keeping the blocked shots column on the box score at zero.
Ruff and staff are viewing this as something to simply get through, and re-called Chris Mueller from the AHL again yesterday as another body to use. Brenden Dillon's injury Friday adds an unfortunate wrinkle, however.
"We've had several guys taking days off for maintenance, we'll evaluate who is the worst of all those guys and give them some time off," Ruff told media Saturday. "That goes for the same with the back end. A couple of guys that haven't played are going to play. One of our top two will not play because they have been logging some serious minutes."
'One of our top two'- so Daley or Goligoski will not play.
Jordie Benn, Patrik Nemeth, Sergei Gonchar, Kevin Connauton, Aaron Rome- That's five. Brenden Dillon is day-to-day and had a boot on his foot Friday night after the Blues game.
On the front end there's a similar issue. You'd really, really, really like to see Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both sit this one out just in case, but injuries and a lack of bodies may prevent it.
Ray Whitney was set to play this one if they needed him. If they needed it. But they don't, and he may prefer to give what ails him a few more days. They have Chris Mueller, but that was the only callup made, so someone's going to have to play.
We'll expect a healthy dose of Sceviour, Dustin Jeffrey and Chris Mueller, however.
They'll travel from Phoenix to Anaheim in all likelihood at the conclusion and have two days to practice, but rest, rest, rest. We expect Wednesday to be the day but lobbying from the Ducks, the NHL, NBC, and even the Dallas Mavericks come into play when scheduling this thing.
These are called good problems to have. Speaking of problems to have, Razor brings up another good one...
Just when we thought we were out of the Pacific, they pull us back in. #latenighthockeyreturningsoon— Daryl Reaugh (@Razor5Hole) April 13, 2014
Back to the matter at hand this evening- It's expected that Tim Thomas will start, giving Kari just one game in the seven games leading up to Wednesday, and that's a big plus.
Rookie Mark Visentin made his NHL debut and allowed a couple of tough angle goals in the early-going. The Sharks, locked in with the Kings already, had nothing to gain in particular either.
If the Coyotes lose today it will be their first winless month in franchise history.
Elsewhere in the league the Blues play the Red Wings (now) and the Ducks try on the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado and St. Louis both have incentive to win, as the winner gets the Minnesota Wild and the loser dances with the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.