Just when the Dallas Stars were getting some consistency, both in make-up and in scoring, from their second line, it looks like it will be scrambled a bit out of necessity because of an injury to Erik Cole.
Cole, who has been playing alongside Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky recently, appeared to injure a shoulder or something in that area crashing into the boards late in the first period of Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.. Although the collision seemed rather innocuous in and of itself, he immediately took himself off the ice and did not return to the game.
Lindy Ruff's initial assessment of the injury wasn't very optimistic.
"He’s got an upper body injury and he’s going to be out for a period of time by the looks of it. I can’t give you a timeframe, but it looks longer than shorter at this point. I wouldn’t expect him back post-break."
Cole struggled with injuries last season, including a shoulder injury early and an upper-body injury very late that held him to just 29 points in 75 games and an ugly minus-17 rating.
This year, especially lately, Cole has looked rejuvenated. He's third on the team with 12 goals, ahead of players like Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky, and tied for fourth with 23 points. He has also rounded out his game with a relatively regular role on the penalty kill and had six goals and 10 points in the month of January alone.
Cole is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.