Before the Florida Panthers came to Dallas, the Stars seemed to be right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture. The Panthers were scratching and clawing for points to keep up with the Boston Bruins for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The matchup was huge for both teams, with two much needed points on the line.
The Stars won the two points, but nobody expected the cost of attrition to be so painful for the Dallas Stars.
The loss of Tyler Seguin, Patrick Eaves, and Ales Hemsky in that one game basically spelled the end of the Stars playoff hopes. Watching the team's top scorer -- and one of the leading league scorers pushing for the Richard or Hart trophies at that time -- clutch his knee on the ice and not be able to skate off on his own was a gut punch to Stars fans that felt reminiscent of playoffs against Anaheim in game six last season.
Dmitry Kulikov was suspended four games for this low hit that has sidelined Seguin for an estimated 4-6 weeks - Seguin skated with the team this morning in Sunrise for the first time since the injury, and Lindy Ruff said he could be within a week of returning to play depending on how his knee responds, which would put the injury right at the four-week mark.
Even so, hockey has a 'code' that often is followed for plays like that. It is possible that someone on the Stars team could challenge Kulikov to a fight tonight in order to balance the hockey scales, so to speak.
It wouldn't be Kulikov's first fight. One of his handful of fights came against the Stars just last season on opening night.
Pretty sure Garbutt won that one in a landslide.
So today we pose the question: who is the most likely candidate on the Stars to be the one to carry out the self-policing of Kulikov's hit? And how do they matchup against him? Let's look at the tape.
Opponent option #1:
McKenzie has had five fights already since he's been brought up to the NHL level. He has shown he isn't afraid to mix it up, but has only had one win to his name via HockeyFights.com.
Opponent option #2:
Affectionately nicknamed "Daddy", Demers may be the sneakiest fighter of the lot. While he only has two NHL fights to his name, he's always in the middle of after-whistle fracases. He's stuck up for his teammates this season since coming to Dallas.
Opponent option #3:
Will we see Kulikov vs Garbutt round 2? I don't think Kulikov would want to see that.
Opponent option #4:
Antoine Roussel has an uncanny ability to get under the skin of the opposition. He's responsible for nine of Dallas' 27 total fight majors this season, and is in the top 10 in the league in fights. He typically gives as good as he gets.
Opponent option #5:
Jamie Benn is the jelly to Seguin's peanut butter. The two make each other better players on ice, and they have an excellent bromance off it. Benn has dropped the gloves four times this season, and many of those have been to get his team going in games they lacked energy. But you don't mess with the best(ie) of the Stars' captain.
Do you think the Stars will settle the score the old school hockey way tonight for Seguin? If so, who will it be?