Thursday Practice Update

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 3:26 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Thursday Practice Update

After a day off Wednesday, the Dallas Stars were back on the ice for practice Thursday morning in Frisco.

“It’s nice to recharge the batteries, especially with how things have been going the last six or seven months – go, go, go, go, go,” said defenseman Brenden Dillon. “It was good to get a good day of practice and we’ll be ready to go.”

The day off came after the Stars played four games in six days, including the back-to-back against Winnipeg and Chicago Monday and Tuesday. But the schedule gets even tougher moving forward. Starting with Friday’s game against Nashville at American Airlines Center, the Stars will have 10 games over the final 17 days of the season. Wednesday’s day off was needed, and so was Thursday’s practice, because there may not be practice days ahead due to the schedule.

“I thought we had a good day of practice,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We have another back-to-back and then we have another practice day. I don’t know if I can find another one (practice day). The schedule gets pretty intense for us.”

It’s an intense schedule on a couple fronts. There are a lot of games in a short amount of time and those ten games will determine whether the Stars get into the playoffs. They currently sit three points behind Phoenix with one game in hand. The Coyotes play tonight at New Jersey, and scoreboard watching has become part of the routine as the Stars head down the stretch.

“It’s tough not to,” said Dillon. “After a game the first thing you do is get on your phone and check the game center to see what some of the game scores were. It’s the last sprint to the finish and every point is important and every game is important. You’d like to get some help from certain teams, but you want to take care of yourself.”

And that starts with Friday’s game against Nashville.

Whitney questionable for Friday, Cole still out

Forward Ray Whitney did not practice Thursday and is questionable for Friday’s game against Nashville.

“He’s got the flu, so it will be a question mark if he’ll be available for tomorrow,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

If Whitney can’t go, the Stars likely would need to bring up a forward from the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Forward Erik Cole remains out with an upper body injury. Ruff indicated that Cole will miss Friday’s game and Saturday’s game in St. Louis as well.

“Still isn’t going to be available,” Ruff said. “We’re hopeful that we get past these two games , but the longer it goes without practice and exercising the tougher it is going to be for him to get back in immediately and if he gets in immediately, how effective can he be without practice time.”

Thursday’s practice lineup

With Erik Cole and Ray Whitney not skating, defenseman Kevin Connauton skated as a forward to give the Stars four full lines for practice. Here is how the Stars lined up in Thursday’s session.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Kevin ConnautonDustin JeffreyAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Aaron RomeSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Not skating: Ray Whitney (illness), Eric Cole (upper body), Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)

Stars sign prospect Guptill

The Stars Thursday announced the signing of left wing Alex Guptill to a two-year entry-level contract. Guptill, a third round pick (77th overall) in 2010, just completed his junior season at the University of Michigan, where he had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 31 games. The highly skilled forward had 94 points (44 goals, 54 assists) in 110 games during his three-year career at Michigan.

The 22-year-old Ontario native is expected to join the Texas Stars of the AHL in the near future on an amateur tryout contract.

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.




1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


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