Instead of making everyone wait until game time, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff broke the bad news at morning skate.
Although All-Star forward Tyler Seguin is getting very close to being able to return from a lacerated Achilles tendon, he won't make his return in Game 1 of the first round tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
"He’s had really, in my eyes, one good practice," Ruff said. "He had a practice earlier in the week that I thought was OK. The next day he was better and the fact that playoff intensity is even ramped up more than the regular season, I want in to step in and not play OK. I want him to step in and really be ready. If this was a Game 7, he’d probably play. You’d take that chance. You’d say OK, let’s take a kick at it, but right now we’re not there. These guys have done a terrific job. We can give them the opportunity of two more days of practice, which gives him three full days and I think that’ll make him an even more hungrier and effective player."
One of the hardest parts from coming back from a significant injury is trusting it at full speed, so it's not a surprise that Seguin isn't quite back to full intensity just yet. And the team has continued to score and win in his absence, to the tune of an 8-2 record over the last 10 games.
Ruff said Seguin should be ready to play in Game 2, which would be one day shy of a month since he suffered a cut through 15-20 percent of his tendon.
With Seguin out and Mattias Janmark returning in place of Travis Moen, here's what the lines looked like at morning skate:
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Mattias Janmark - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour
It's a little surprising to see Janmark low in the lineup given the chemistry he's displayed at times with Spezza, but the lower-line assignment will likely allow him to ease his way back into hockey after missing two weeks. It also distributes the scoring options on all four lines - each line boasts at least two players who have scored at least 10 goals.
In the season finale against the Nashville Predators, Lindy Ruff flipped Sharp and Eaves midway through the second when the Stars needed a spark, and that could be an option again tonight. It's really a very flexible lineup even missing a 30-goal, 70-point player.
The defense will look the same as it did against the Predators, but Kari Lehtonen will backstop the team this time.
So with Seguin out for one more game, how would you deploy the Stars forwards tonight in Game 1?