There's just over a month left until the Dallas Stars take the ice for their 2015 season opener and two weeks left until the start of training camp, and one of the biggest questions around the team remains the health of team captain and Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn.
Benn had surgery on both hips early in the offseason to help correct bony overgrowths and cartilage damage, and the original timeline had him ready to return just at or after the start of the season. There's a lot of individual variation in how long it takes a player to get back up to full strength after this surgery, so an exact date was hard to place. John Klingberg, for example, came into last training camp on a similar timeline and was obviously still dealing with the tail end of the recovery period.
But Benn has always been a relatively quick healer, including back when he played in the NHL All-Star game (and won the accuracy shooting competition) about a week after having his appendix removed in 2012.
This time around, thankfully for the Stars, he seems to be on another quick-healing path. Benn joined his in-town teammates at Friday's informal practice up in Frisco.
Now obviously, these practices are nowhere near full speed, and they are essentially non-contact. But it's a great sign seeing him released to participate with his teammates this far before the preseason begins.
If you're really missing hockey right now, there's a Periscope video of today's informal practice available as well.
In other "Please god let hockey season start soon so we can have more to talk about," news, Julius Honka was at the practice and wearing the No. 6 on his helmet. I think this set of commentary captured the spirit of the thing the best.
@RobertTiffin I'm waiting for Klingberg to switch to the symbol for infinity.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 4, 2015
We missed you, Mark. Happy almost hockey season.