The Dallas Stars season continues to lurch toward the finale with no end to what has been a bewildering, sometimes scary injury bug among the forwards.
Curtis McKenzie was on the scary end of that spectrum last night as he took an inadvertent yet extremely nasty high stick that caused a ton of blood from around one of his eyes. While Lindy Ruff was somewhat optimistic the eye itself had been spared after the game, McKenzie was flown back to Dallas today with instructions for no activities for at least five days and follow ups with specialists ahead.
Any facial laceration can bleed a ton (just ask a parent who has had a toddler whack their head on the corner of a table), but the questions about the health of McKenzie’s eye obviously brings this to a much more serious level. Hopefully it is something relatively minor that heals as the swelling goes down.
Ales Hemsky also may be shelved for a shorter term after a flare up of hip problems. He missed the majority of this season recovering from hip surgery, but there’s no indication if this is related or not.
To fill in over these final few weeks, the Stars recalled Gemel Smith and Justin Dowling from the AHL, both for the second time this season. Smith and Dowling each made their NHL debuts earlier this season when the Stars were in another injury rut, and both filled in well on the lower lines. Smith also scored two goals in his 12 game stint.
Hemsky is officially day-to-day, so either or both of Smith and Dowling could play tomorrow when the Stars face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Here is the official release from the team:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled forwards Gemel Smith and Justin Dowling from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Smith, 22, shares fourth on Texas with 11 goals and is tied for fifth on the team with 30 points (11-19=30) in 50 AHL games this season. He also paces the club with three shorthanded goals and is tied for fourth with three power play goals. Smith also made his NHL debut this season as the forward registered three points (2-1=3) in 12 contests with Dallas.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound native of Toronto, Ont. was originally selected by Dallas in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Dowling, 26, has registered 28 points (8-20=28) in 49 AHL contests with Texas this season. The forward currently ranks second on Texas with two shorthanded goals in 2016-17. Dowling also made his NHL debut earlier this season, recording two assists (0-2=2) in five NHL games with Dallas.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Cochrane, Alta. went undrafted and was originally signed by Dallas as a free agent.