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Dillon Practices, a ‘Long Shot’ to Play Wednesday

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 5:28 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Dillon Practices, a \u2018Long Shot\u2019 to Play Wednesday
The Stars held an optional skate in Frisco Tuesday afternoon and defenseman Brenden Dillon was among those on the ice.

The Stars held an optional skate in Frisco Tuesday afternoon and defenseman Brenden Dillon was among those on the ice. It was the first time Dillon has skated with his teammates since suffering a lower body injury against St. Louis on the final weekend of the regular season.

“It was awesome,” Dillon said after coming off the ice. “It was a step in the right direction, especially at a time like this where we are making a hopeful big playoff run, and the guys are doing great. Especially after last night, it’s great to get out and have a smile on your face and share things.”

Dillon was off skates for several days after the injury and has just started in the past couple days and getting into Tuesday’s practice session was significant.

“Today was a big step,” he said. “I’ve skated the last two days on my own. I guess I was the best player on the ice the last two days being on my own, but being out here with the guys today was good, getting up to the pace. It is feeling better and better.”

Dillon missed the final regular season game and has missed the first three games of the Stars’ first round playoff series against Anaheim. It’s been frustrating for Dillon to have to watch as the Stars play in their first playoff series since 2008.

“I can’t even describe it,” Dillon said. “You play an 82-game regular season and you battle hard with your teammates every day and you make it to the playoffs, the first time in six years with this group of guys, I think we have something special in here, and to not be able to play and be a spectator, it is tough.”

One of the challenges of turning Dillon from spectator to player is making sure he has had ample practice time prior to his return. He’s had just one practice, and an optional one at that.

“There’s always the next step. This is just an optional skate. The next step is getting into a full team practice. That’s half the battle of getting in,” Dillon said. “You can ride the bike all you want and run on the treadmill. There is nothing like playing a hockey game, especially an NHL hockey game. This is a step forward and I am looking forward to the future.”

And the question is the team’s skate on Wednesday morning would be comparable to a full team practice.

“I hope so. I am going to plead my case, for sure,” said Dillon. “It’s the doctors, too, that I have to prove it to. Like I said, I am feeling better and better, which is a good sign. I am taking care of what I can and controlling what I can control. Hopefully I can get in here and help my team.”

And what does Stars coach Lindy Ruff think of Dillon’s chances of getting into Wednesday’s game?

“He’s moving along. He’s getting closer for us. I think, if he keeps progressing, he has a chance here pretty soon to have an opportunity to get in for us,” Ruff said. “I think anything is a possibility. I think Game 4 is a long shot, unless he walks in my office and demands it, which I could hope could happen, but I’m not banking on it.”

Ruff talks decision to scratch Cole

Forward Erik Cole was a healthy scratch in Monday night’s game, and coach Lindy Ruff explained the move in his media briefing Tuesday afternoon.

“That was just my decision, a coach’s decision,” Ruff said. “What was behind it was – I don’t think since he’s come back from injury his play has been where I needed it to be. In fact, there was some situations that have been tough on the team. You have to make decisions about that stuff and that was a hard decision. That was just my decision.”

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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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 66 41 18 7 196 162 89
3 STL 64 40 19 5 198 162 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 MIN 64 35 22 7 181 164 77
6 VAN 64 36 24 4 184 176 76
7 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
8 CGY 64 35 25 4 182 165 74
9 LAK 64 31 21 12 175 167 74
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 DAL 65 29 26 10 203 215 68
12 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
13 ARI 65 21 37 7 142 220 49
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 65 23 38 -3 61
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 65 15 37 -5 52
J. Klingberg 51 10 25 4 35
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
C. Eakin 62 15 15 -1 30
A. Goligoski 65 3 24 3 27
A. Hemsky 59 9 17 -9 26
A. Roussel 63 12 12 -12 24
S. Horcoff 61 9 14 3 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 26 13 10 .905 2.98
J. Enroth 14 25 2 .901 3.26
 
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