Modano, Morrow both doubtful for Thursday
January 6, 2004
By J. Douglas Foster
Uncertainty already loomed with the Stars concerning the injury status of their captain.
They now have the same uncertainty concerning their most consistent player this season.
While Mike Modano's injured groin hasn't made enough improvement to move him past "doubtful" status for Thursday's game against Atlanta, the same tag can now be placed on left wing Brenden Morrow, who left Monday's game in Anaheim with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Placing a timetable on the return for either, at this point, is virtually impossible. We just know now that it's not likely either will be in the lineup against the Thrashers.
"Mike is making some progress," Stars head coach Dave Tippett said. "But those pulled muscles take time to heal."
As far as Morrow is concerned, Tippett said he would be back on skates most likely "as soon as he can deal with the pain."
While we wait to find out their return dates, it appears that defenseman John Erskine is close to a return from his ankle injury as he skated Tuesday for the third consecutive day.
This day of skating, Erskine said, was much more intense than the previous two. In fact, he feels as if he is almost completely healed from the second-degree ankle sprain he suffered just more than a week ago.
"Today was the best it has felt," Erskine said. "I think I'm ready to go right now. I'll go to practice tomorrow and see how it feels, but every day it gets a little bit better."
Tippett said the team could now place Erskine in the "day-to-day" category, and that he would practice with the team Wednesday.
Defenseman Philippe Boucher doesn't have a serious injury, but did miss Monday's game in Anaheim with the flu. He is listed as questionable for Thursday's game.
The combination, Tippett said, is just all part of being an NHL team.
"Every team goes through injuries," he said. "You've got to have the ability to overcome them."
Another thing the Stars hope to overcome is their recent inability to turn third-period leads into victories and, in turn, two points in the standings.
Three times in the last four games the Stars have led, only to see the opponent get the tying goal. The key to stopping that trend, Tippett said, is pushing forward to turn one-goal leads into a two-goal advantage.
"That's the difference between a close game and taking control of a game," Tippett said. "A two-goal lead in the third period enables a team to take control of a game."