The cavalcade of new faces in victory green continues, and won't abate any time soon.
With Ales Hemsky already having missed the first four games of the year and Jiri Hudler battling a nasty bout of the flu the Dallas Stars got some of the worst possible news Thursday when Patrick Eaves had to leave during the game against the Los Angeles Kings, followed by Patrick Sharp.
The former could play tonight. The latter will not, placed on injury reserve with talk of concussion-like symptoms.
So Adam Cracknell, Devin Shore, Lauri Korpikoski and Curtis McKenzie could see Gemel Smith, newly recalled from the AHL, make his NHL debut tonight, adding to the drastically changing roster that was tops in the West a season ago.
The loss of yet another pair of bodies hurt a Dallas team already badly taking on water against a physical Kings team that dictated throughout Thursday. Los Angeles dominated possession and out-shot Lindy Ruff's squad 39-20 in shots on goal, though the Stars' coach wanted only to discuss the overtime winner-
"I respectfully and disrespectfully disagree with that (non-call). Terrible," Ruff said. "Somebody is going to have to explain why that goal counts. I want an explanation."
Kari Lehtonen may (or may not) have been interfered with when the winner found its way past him early in OT. It was a good point, given how they were outplayed, but a tough way to lose after a long night.
"We've got to clean up our penalties in a few situations," Ruff said of his team. "We've got some guys that are overplaying some situations trying to get just a little too cute. I didn't see that in Nashville but I saw it at home. For me, it's that we want to be a little bit fancier at home and we've got to clean that up."
So perhaps look for more of a north-south business-like attitude tonight if that is the message. Simple may the way to go after what could be another lineup shakeup with Ales Hemsky finding his way back while Sharp and Eaves step out. Jiri Hudler (illness) is not ready to return.
Hemsky replaced Eaves on the Seguin/Benn line in practice Friday. A starter has not been indicated in goal- Check back after morning skate.
The Blue Jackets had a rather curious five day break early in the season leading into last night's contest before the NHL schedule, as it is wont to do, throws them into a back-to-back situation against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars, why not...
Columbus entered the game at home as the league's only winless team but managed to defeat Chicago at Nationwide despite being out attempted 71-50 on the night. Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno, and William Karlsson found the back of the net while Sergei Bobrovsky saved 32 of 34 againt (.941) in earning his team's first win.
The five-day break beforehand means Bobrovsky could very well go again this evening should John Tortorella see fit. Veteran journeyman Curtis McElhinney is riding shotgun on the Columbus again this season after 28 appearancs and a .909 save percentage last season.
A win over the Blackhawks is good news for 'Lumbus (and the Stars) but bad news came in the form of first-pairing defenseman Ryan Murphy leaving the game with an apparent upper-body injury.
Tortorella confirmed after the game that Murray would not join the team on their four-game trip starting tonight in Dallas. So that leaves things a little up in the air on that blue line. Before the injury the lineup looked like this-
- Ryan Murray-Seth Jones
Werenski figures to move up that first pair on Seth Jones' (-20 Corsi last night) left side. We'll see how the rest shakes out.
From Stars PR:
STARS HOLD ANNUAL HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER NIGHT
The Dallas Stars will hold their annual Hockey Fights Cancer night presented by UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center on Saturday night. Trevor Strader, son of Dallas Stars play-by-play announcer Dave Strader, will sing the national anthem and participate in the ceremonial puck drop. His father, Dave, was diagnosed this summer with cholangiocarcinoma, a fairly rare and aggressive form of cancer. Beginning on Saturday night, the team will wear a helmet sticker to support Dave in his fight against the disease for the rest of 2016-17 season. As a part of the league-wide initiative, all members of the Dallas Stars coaching staff will wear Hockey Fights Cancer ties on the bench during the game and Dallas Stars players will wear lavender jerseys during warmups. The Dallas Stars Foundation will be raising money for five non-profit organizations represented at the game by auctioning off the jerseys worn during warmups by Dallas Stars players.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Stars captain Jamie Benn recorded a goal (1-0=1) on Thursday night against the Kings and now has four points (2-2=4) this season, which is tied for second on the team. Benn shares first on the Dallas with two goals and ranks third on the club and leads Stars forwards with 20:06 TOI/G. Benn finished with a career-high 89 points (41-48=89), including a career-high 41 goals, in 82 games during the 2015-16 season. The native of Victoria, B.C. ranked second in the League in points (89) and third in goals (41), with his 41 goals registering as the second-most by a Stars player since the team moved to Dallas and tied for the 11th-most in franchise history. Benn has points in two-straight games against Columbus (0-2=2) along with points in eight of his last 10 games (4-8=12) against them. Over his NHL career, the forward has notched 17 points (6-11=17) in 20 games vs. the Blue Jackets.