WINNIPEG - Paul Maurice expected an update on Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dmitry Kulikov late in the day on Monday.
Unfortunately, that news wasn't what the head coach was looking for.
Kulikov will be out until around the NHL All-Star break in January with the upper-body injury he sustained against the Anaheim Ducks on November 29.
"Dmitry for me in the last five or six has been playing the best hockey he's played for us, maybe going back further than that has been playing really well," said Maurice.
So with another injury on the back end, the Jets crew of blue liners will continue to embrace that 'next man up' mentality.
Carl Dahlstrom played 10:35 against the Los Angeles Kings, his first action since October 29 in Anaheim.
"We have a really excited player coming in who has played well on the way out. We have some confidence in that," Maurice said. "You've got four of your defencemen weren't really in the league last year, so they're wired coming to the games. They haven't got to the casual point in their career where it's just another night.
"So there is an energy level off the back end and then the style hasn't changed."
Help could be on the way soon, however.
Nathan Beaulieu, who left the November 23 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period with an upper-body injury, participated in this morning's pre-game skate in a non-contact jersey.
"I don't have him in Dallas (on Thursday)," Maurice said of Beaulieu. "But the door would then start to open."
Maurice added that Beaulieu and Mason Appleton - who wore a full contact jersey in Tuesday's pregame skate - are the closest to returning.
Gabriel Bourque also had a non-contact jersey on for Tuesday's session. His return is expected to come after Beaulieu and Appleton.