FRISCO, Texas -- There was some good news from the Dallas Stars' optional skate Tuesday.
Defenseman Brenden Dillon, who has been out since the final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury, was on the ice with several of his teammates.
"It was awesome," said Dillon, who hasn't played since April 11 against the St. Louis Blues. "It was a step in the right direction, especially at 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 has missed the first three games of the Stars' Western Conference First Round series with the Anaheim Ducks, which Dallas trails 2-1. But Dillon is hopeful he will at least be able to participate in the morning skate Wednesday in advance of Game 4 at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET, TSN, CNBC, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).
"I am going to plead my case, for sure," Dillon said. "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."
Stars coach Lindy Ruff was pleased to see his defenseman back on the ice but said it's unlikely Dillon will be in the lineup Wednesday.
"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 said.
Like many of his teammates, Dillon was itching to get his first taste of Stanley Cup Playoff hockey, a sensation he has yet to experience. And with no firm timetable still in place as far as a return, he admits frustration has set in a bit as he continues to watch from the sidelines.
"I can't even describe it. 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," Dillon said.