The 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche not only was a tough pill to swallow on the scoreboard and in the standings for the Dallas Stars, but it appears to have left the team with more lasting repercussions as well.
Jamie Benn and Vernon Fiddler are both questionable for Tuesday's home game against the Ottawa Senators with injuries (Fiddler's definitely suffered in the loss to the Avs, from which he left early and did not return). To add insult to injury, NHL-leading scorer Tyler Seguin is also questionable with an illness that sent him home early from Monday's practice.
Benn has been taking a few maintenance days recently, so the injury (which was not specified) could be more nagging than acute. Fiddler appeared to suffer a lower body injury on Saturday in Denver, and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said the team would have to see how he responded on Sunday to know how long he would miss.
As far as illness goes, Shawn Horcoff recently spent a week on injured reserve while sick and Erik Cole missed the game on Saturday in Colorado as well as Friday's practice, though he returned to practice on Monday.
Mike Heika offers a glimmer of hope, at least on the Seguin front:
Lindy Ruff said to list questionable for Tuesday: Seguin (ill), Jamie Benn (injury), Fiddler (injury). Seguin most likely to play.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 12, 2015
The only thing that could be taken as potential good news is that the Stars haven't called up a player from the AHL to fill the roster spots just yet. Still, the Texas Stars are in the middle of a homestand and don't play either today or tomorrow, so it's quite possible Dallas could recall one or more players as late as tomorrow.
As it stands right now, the Stars are carrying one extra forward, which means two call ups would be necessary if all three players miss. They could theoretically also play 11 forwards and seven defensemen if things get really dicey, which would only necessitate one forward coming up from Cedar Park.
Any way you look at it, there's not much good about any of this news. The Senators broke out of a slump in Phoenix with a big victory over the Arizona Coyotes and the Stars have been reeling recently, especially against teams you'd hope they could beat in the Avalanche and Blue Jackets.
Now it appears they'll have to find a way out of the mini-slump without their top offensive players and a very important lower-line guy. Even if Seguin plays, he's likely to not be at full strength.
It would seem to be an opportune time for Jason Spezza to have a breakout night against his long-time team.