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Stars-Canucks Morning Skate

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 2:18 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars-Canucks Morning Skate
It will be Kari Lehtonen vs. Roberto Luongo in goal when the Dallas Stars take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at American Airlines Center.

It will be Kari Lehtonen vs. Roberto Luongo in goal when the Dallas Stars take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at American Airlines Center.

It doesn’t appear there will be any lineup changes among the 18 skaters for the Stars tonight. They’ll go with the same set of forwards and defensemen used in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Colorado at American Airlines Center. And, based on this morning’s skate, will be going with the same line combinations and defense pairings.

“I thought after the road game (in Colorado) we needed to clean up some of our play,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “A complete turnaround where we did good things with the puck and people coming back. I thought all lines paid good attention to detail.”

Fortunus clears waivers, will stay on roster

Defenseman Max Fortunus, signed to a one-year contract yesterday, cleared waivers and will stay on the Dallas roster for now. Fortunus skated with the Stars this morning.

“It’s not how you want it to happen, but you’ve got to be ready to step in when guys get hurt,” Fortunus said. “That’s what I was working on all year down in Austin, I told them my goal was to get a contract.”

Fortunus has been around the Dallas organization quite a while, signing with the Stars back in 2008 and staying under contract until the end of last season. He signed an AHL contract with Texas for 2013-14 and then signed a one-year, two-way deal with Dallas on Wednesday.

Fortunus played eight NHL games with Dallas back in 2009-10, registering no points.

Injury notes: Fiddler could return Saturday

Center Vernon Fiddler took part in this morning’s skate, but will miss his sixth straight game with an upper body injury. He could be ready for Saturday’s game in San Jose.

“Vern’s getting real close,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’re going to put him through a real good workout today, even in a more physical sense. He hasn’t been in a full practice, and tomorrow’s plan is to get him in a full practice. If he can get through that, I think he’ll really be available to play on Saturday.”

Defenseman Aaron Rome, who missed the last game due to an upper body injury, skated prior to this morning’s skate. He remains out.

There’s not much new on defenseman Trevor Daley , who is out with an ankle injury.

“Trevor’s doing better, but he hasn’t been on the ice yet,” said Ruff. “I’d say he is still weeks away.”

Gulutzan returns

Thursday’s game with the Vancouver Canucks marks the return of former Stars coach Glen Gulutzan to Dallas. Gulutzan is now an assistant coach with the Canucks. Gulutzan said it didn’t’ feel strange coming back to American Airlines Center, where he spent two years behind the bench.

“No, not really. We’ve played a lot and it’s kind of ingrained. That’s the thing with hockey, you get ingrained in what you’re doing,” Gulutzan said. “Whether it was junior or whatever, you’ve moved around a little bit, it’s always tougher for the families than it is for the coaches I think.”

Gulutzan posted a 64-57-9 in his two seasons as head coach of the Stars. Gulutzan was let go after last season, just a couple weeks after Jim Nill took over as GM. Gulutzan said he has put the past behind him.

“Well, you can’t dwell. You can’t dwell,” Gulutzan said. “Of course, no one likes to be let go or whatever but things happen, GM changes and everything. You’ve just got to move forward.”

Gulutzan joined the coaching staff of John Tortorella in Vancouver in July.

“I didn’t know him, no. He’s going to be a star. I really believe that. He’s done a terrific job with us, big reason why I wanted him I just heard so many good things about him,” Tortorella said. “I did not know the Western Conference. He’s helped me tremendously there and I just think he has a unique way of looking at the game, fresh ideas. Gully and I have been together now for seven years. He’s going to be a star in this league.”

Thursday’s game
Who: Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Erik ColeShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour
Ray WhitneyRich PeverleyAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiBrenden Dillon
Jordie BennSergei Gonchar
Kevin ConnautonCameron Gaunce

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Mike Santorelli
David Booth – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Jeremy Welsh – Zac Dalpe – Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Andrew Alberts - Kevin Bieksa
Yannick Weber – Jason Garrison

Roberto Luongo
Eddie Lack

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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