Whitney Out, Cole Questionable for Saturday
Stars forward Ray Whitney, who left Thursday night’s game against Carolina with a lower body injury, is out for Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Whitney did not skate Friday and is listed as day to day, but Stars coach Lindy Ruff said time will tell on this injury.
“He’s got a muscle strain, lower body,” Ruff said. “These prove to be longer than day to day usually. He could be day to day and feel better tomorrow, but these sometime take a little bit of time.”
Forward Erik Cole, who has missed the last seven games with an upper body injury, practiced on Friday, but is questionable for Saturday.
“That is a tough one. We’re hopeful, but I don’t know. I don’t know,” Ruff said. “He’s working hard trying to fight through it, but he hasn’t been through a real practice. Today was maybe as close, and that wasn’t a real practice. It was a get the hands and feet and get the blood flowing.
With Whitney out and Cole questionable, the Stars called up forward Chris Mueller from the Texas Stars Friday afternoon. Mueller has no points and has won 24 of 43 faceoffs (55.8 percent) in eight games with Dallas this season.
Ruff said bringing in someone from Texas for injury relief has its advantages.
“I like the fact that players are playing, that they are not sitting around as the extra guy,” Ruff said. “I think you see the benefits with what [Dustin] Jeffrey has done to help us win a couple games. I think when you have that proximity and you can get players in as easy as we can, they are more ready to be players by playing than they are by sitting in the stands watching.”
Special teams focus
The Stars lost the special teams battle Thursday at Carolina, allowing two power play goals and going 0-3 on the power play in the 4-1 loss. It was a topic of discussion Friday for the Stars.
“We got a little bit passive on our penalty killing and I thought on our power play we had no net front presence,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We were a little disjointed on the entries again, where we weren’t patient enough to get everybody back and together. But once we were in the zone we allowed [Carolina goaltender Anton] Khudobin to get out in the paint and see pucks and make plays. We’ve got to do a better job getting in front.”
The Stars are 0-10 on the power play over the last three games and 1-13 over the last five. The penalty kill has allowed goals in 10 of the last 15 games.
*Captain Jamie Benn did not practice Friday. He was given the day off.
*Defenseman Aaron Rome practiced Friday, but remains day to day with a lower body injury.
Quotable: Lindy Ruff on misconduct penalties
“It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. The penalties we took in the game were a big deal. It’s the one thing I addressed after the game. We’re not going to do that. It was actually embarrassing. I told the team we should all be embarrassed. We’re not going to do that.”