It’s been said once before, but it bears repeating in light of recent news - would whoever has the voodoo doll of the Dallas Stars forward corps please put it the heck down?
(Looking at you, Corey Perry.)
Yes, the Stars awful fall with regards to injury luck continued Monday after practice, when coach Lindy Ruff announced that not only would Ales Hemsky be out after making a Hemsky-esque return on Saturday, not only was Patrick Eaves still questionable with a “contusion” and not only was Jiri Hudler still recovering from an illness, but Jason Spezza was now on the list of the walking wounded after he aggravated an injury in practice.
Spezza is now questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, along with Eaves while (stay with me now) Hemsky, Hudler, Patrick Sharp, Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark are all guaranteed to be out.
It’s a rash of injuries unlike any that has been seen around Dallas rinks in recent memory, and most are attrition/bad-luck related rather than anything you can put a finger on. Hemsky picked up an injury in the World Cup, Hudler has a relatively long-term illness. Eakin was injured in a training camp collision, Sharp by a hit in a game, and Janmark went down with a possibly-genetic cartilage/bone condition. Eaves having a contusion-related injury isn’t a surprise, and it sounds like Spezza was playing through something that has flared up.
That’s.... quite a list.
And it leaves the Stars very thin at experienced forwards. There are now just six “healthy” (since who knows how Tyler Seguin’s heel injury from the World Cup might be affecting him) forwards with more than 45 NHL games experience - Seguin, Jamie Benn, Lauri Korpikoski, Antoine Roussel, Adam Cracknell and Radek Faksa.
That’s pretty darn thin, especially when you consider only Seguin, Benn, Korpikoski and Roussel have more than the equivalent of two seasons worth of games under their belt, and the rest of the forwards on the active roster have less than 100 career games combined.
Jamie Benn received a maintenance day today, which may be the safest thing possible as a top six forward on this Dallas Stars team right now. No lines were reported from practice today, but the assumption is the Stars will need to make a call up from the Texas Stars for them to field a healthy 12-man forward corps. Sean Shapiro prognosticates that call up will be either Justin Dowling or Remi Elie.
The forwards for tomorrow’s game will be some combination of the below, and it wouldn’t surprise me if head coach Lindy Ruff dressed only 11 forwards and rolled 7 defensemen instead of a traditional 12 forwards/6 defensemen set (especially considering there is only 10 healthy forwards on the roster right now...)
Elie (assumes call-up)
Dowling (assumes call-up)
That right wing is hurting. That center depth is hurting, but not as badly. The left wing is the only one that resembles anything close to normal, and that’s being a bit generous.
Before the season, plenty of people called for the prospects to have their chance at quality minutes. Now, the Stars need them to fill big shoes just to keep pace with the rest of their division and give guys some time to heal.