DETROIT – A bad night in Pittsburgh on Friday for the Dallas Stars got worse with the news that puck-moving defenseman Alex Goligoski has a fractured thumb that could keep him out of action for up to a month.
Goligoski was hit in the hand by a shot just six minutes into the game and left the game immediately. He didn’t return and flew back to Dallas after the game for X-rays – which showed the fracture.
“It’s non-displaced, so it’s probably going to be a four-week thing,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said, following Dallas’ optional morning skate Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s a bad blow for us, but he took a wrist shot off the thumb, so it’s just one of those things that teams go through. Other guys can step up now.”
In the immediate short term, that will include Adam Pardy – who will step into the lineup in place of Goligoski on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings. He will be on the second defense pairing with Mark Fistric, who was hit in the throat with a puck against Pittsburgh on Friday night but is healthy enough to play.
“(Pardy) is a guy we went after in free agency and really wanted,” Gulutzan said. “He’s a big body that can move, so this can be a good chance for other guys to showcase themselves on a full-time basis.”
Another guy to watch in that regard is 21-year old puck-moving defenseman Philip Larsen, who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Saturday morning. Larsen, Dallas’ fifth pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (No. 149), could see a lot of ice time while Goligoski. He played for Gulutzan on the Texas Stars last season, so the coach is already familiar with him.
“I like the idea of having a right shot here,” Gulutzan said. “(Goligoski) can skate, (Larsen) can skate. Obviously he’s not at the offensive level that Goose is. Goose is a one or two (defenseman) and Philip, in my mind, is a five or six guy in the NHL. He had a great training camp. I don’t think there will be any huge learning curve for Philip. I think he’ll be ready to step in and help us when he gets an opportunity.”
Gulutzan said that won’t happen in Saturday night, but could after Larsen gets a few practices with the Stars under his belt.
Prior to his call-up, Larsen led all Texas Stars defensemen in scoring with one goal and nine assists in 10 games. He was also their top-scoring defenseman on the power play by racking up six assists with the man-advantage.
“I’ve got a lot of trust in Philip,” Gulutzan said. “He’s got a high compete level. When you get European-skating defensemen like him, you seem to think he’s a real catalyst offensively. He’s good offensively, but he competes real hard defensively and that’s what I think about him.”
Gulutzan said the only other lineup decision to make will be whether Krystofer Barch or Jake Dowell plays left wing on the fourth line for the Stars, which he said will be a gametime decision made after warm-ups.
Here are the projected lineups for tonight at Joe Louis Arena between the Dallas Stars (11-4-0) and Detroit Red Wings (8-5-1):
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell or Krystofer Barch -Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy
Andrew Raycroft will start in net for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen will get a night off as the backup.
Tomas Holmstrom - Pavel Datsyuk - Danny Cleary
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Patrick Eaves
Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl
Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings and Ty Conklin will be his back-up.