It's been a newsy sort of day at Dallas Stars practice, particularly for this time of the year when coaches hold information close to their vests.
The big updates were about the injured forwards:
Lindy Ruff said Tyler Seguin and Mattias Janmark are available to play, but decision will be made Thursday.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 13, 2016
Given it's the playoffs, assume the decision will not be made until game time on Thursday. It's not the time of year that coaches show their cards early.
Still, that's big news, particularly for Seguin and his lacerated Achilles tendon. A return on Thursday would be right at four weeks and a week-and-a-half after he started skating again. There's obviously concern about things like conditioning and game-shape that are natural when a player has to be off his feet for two weeks, but his All-Star talent would also be a huge boost to a lineup that already scores all of the goals.
Seguin shared time with Patrick Sharp in the first-line right wing slot in practice, skating next to Cody Eakin and Jamie Benn. He did not practice on the power play units, but it does make sense the Stars might try to limit his ice time in the first few games back.
Janmark, coming back from an upper-body injury, split time at the fourth-line left wing position with Travis Moen. He has not played since April 2 in the win over Los Angeles.
Also returning to practice was defenseman Alex Goligoski, who missed Tuesday's practice with an illness. He slid back into his regular position next to John Klingberg, and Jamie Oleksiak went back to skating as the ninth defenseman. The other pairings were unchanged.
The other news in Stars world came from captain Jamie Benn, who authored a Players' Tribune article that was posted while the team was at practice. As always, the entire thing is worth a read, but here is at least one highlight.
We wanted to prove that this wasn’t the same team. We brought in new talent during the off-season, players like Sharpy and Johnny, who have already accomplished what we’re setting out to do here. They jelled right away. We were all on the same page even during training camp. I think everyone in the room knew what we were capable of, but we made it our mission to show our fans and the rest of the league how good we were.
We play with pace, we score a lot of goals, but we’re also a much better defensive team than in past years. Honestly, we have fun out there because nothing in this world is more fun than good hockey.
He's absolutely right - nothing in the world is better and more fun than good hockey, and the Stars will get to show off their playoff version of such things tomorrow night.