It was a newsy day out at Dallas Stars practice, even though the team had a relatively short day out on the ice before heading up to the wilds of Western Canada for one of their final long road trips of the season.
The biggest and most pressing news came regarding the status of Jamie Benn, who took a skate boot to an uncomfortable place last night in the late minutes of the Stars 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Here's a screenshot of the moment in question:
I winced pic.twitter.com/WserhX4Mpm— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) March 24, 2015
Benn finished the game, in which he had three points to move within four of the NHL points lead, but he is considered questionable for tomorrow's big game against the Calgary Flames with a mysterious injury, according to Mark Stepneski.
Jamie Benn a question mark for tomorrow. Injured late in last night's game.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 24, 2015
Is that errant boot and the injury tied together? Lindy Ruff, as always, isn't saying. We likely won't find out until tomorrow, and very possibly game-time, whether or not Benn is able to play and try to continue his individual tear. He has eight points in his last six games and six in the last three.
Better news came in the form of updates about Trevor Daley and Valeri Nichushkin. Daley has started to skate again after suffering a knee injury at the hands (or knee) of Matt Martin at the beginning of this month. The original timetable was 2-4 weeks, and Ruff indicated Daley will both travel and could be available to play on this roadtrip.
Whatever you think of Daley's contributions or failings on the defense this season, it is always better to carry seven rather than six, especially given the Stars tendencies to pick up a lot of defenseman injuries this season.
Valeri Nichushkin is also nearing a return. He is scheduled to head down to Cedar Park to join the Texas Stars this week and could play with them as soon as Friday, according to Stepneski.
Nichushkin will play three games with Texas.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 24, 2015
Nichushkin has missed the last four and a half months after hip surgery, very similar to what John Klingberg went through last offseason. He has been skating for several weeks now, but the team has been taking a cautious approach to ramping up his workload so far.