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Goligoski trying to adjust quick to life with Stars

by Brian Hedger
DETROIT -- Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski is used to things moving fast on the ice.
The blur that he's going through off the ice, after being traded to the Stars by the Pittsburgh Penguins just three days ago, isn't nearly as familiar.
"Everything's moving fast, so I'm just trying to get to know the guys right now," said Goligoski, a 25-year old puck-moving defenseman whom Dallas acquired in exchange for talented forward James Neal and young defenseman Matt Niskanen. "It's good playing games. That's where I feel most comfortable right now."
Goligoski played one game with the Stars already, recording no points and one shot on goal in 23:34 Tuesday during a 1-0 home loss to the New Jersey Devils. Thursday night, the Stars will face the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena before playing four of the next five games on the road.
An upcoming four-game road trip to the West coast will be a good opportunity to bond with his new teammates, but for now Goligoski is concentrating on hockey instead of the trade.
"I've just tried to put it out of my mind," he said. "I'm just trying to learn quickly because we've got to win some hockey games. So, learn quick. Go out there and play. Do well. It's pretty simple."
What Goligoski adds to the Dallas blue line, however, is more complex.
In 60 games with Pittsburgh, he scored 9 goals, tallied 31 points and tied Sidney Crosby with a team-high plus-20 rating. The Stars hope those numbers get even better with added ice time and responsibilities.
"Pittsburgh has an excellent defense and they had other people they looked at to do specific jobs," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said. "Here we had a need, and I think Alex will get more opportunity to do a couple things that maybe he didn't do a lot of in Pittsburgh. His skating is so efficient, so it stands to reason that his recovery time will be quick. So, you can play him a few more minutes than Pittsburgh was playing him."
That part of the trade was exciting for Goligoski, who's working with Stephane Robidas on the top defense pairing and No. 1 power play unit. Following the Stars morning skate on Wednesday, he was asked whether he could develop into a player like former Pittsburgh teammate Kris Letang.
It didn't take Goligoski long to answer.
"I definitely think I'm capable of having a season like that, with the opportunity and staying healthy," he said. "It's a great opportunity (in Dallas). It's something to look forward to. I kind of played a different role (in Pittsburgh), but this is the kind of role I think I should be playing. So I'm looking forward to it."
Modano, Filppula target Saturday
: The Red Wings are real close to getting back to full strength on the upcoming five-game road trip that starts in Buffalo on Saturday.
Veteran center Mike Modano said he'll make himself available to play for the first time in nearly three months against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, while center Valtteri Filppula (knee sprain) said he's also hoping to return for that game. With the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaching, getting their injured players back is almost like pulling off a trade for Detroit's stretch run -- especially in Modano's case, following a long absence after wrist surgery.
"That was mentioned a couple times, that it feels like they made a trade for somebody," Modano said. "Hopefully it pays off, but I'll make myself available for Saturday and go from there. The fun part is just starting. Spring's right around the corner, so I think that's the part we've all been gearing toward and this team seems to thrive at that time of the year. I think it'll be fun to be a part of it. I just can't get too discouraged or too frustrated too fast."
Detroit also lost another forward in Patrick Eaves, who left Tuesday's loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second period and will not make the five-game road trip. He has a lower-body injury that he said is not a knee injury.
Stars getting healthy: Both Adam Burish and Krystofer Barch are off the injured reserve list, and one or both will be in the lineup for Wednesday night's game against Detroit.
Burish will dress for sure. Barch is available, but will be a game-time decision. Both have missed eight games after having surgeries to repair the orbital bones in their faces. Both were hurt on Feb. 2 in separate fights against the Boston Bruins. The Stars, riding a five-game losing streak, are hoping to get an emotional lift from Burish -- who's described as an energy player and good influence in the locker room.
"You just feel so helpless when you're watching and the team is struggling," said Burish, who saw the Stars go 1-6-1 while he was out. "It'll be fun to come back and hopefully be an answer to what's going on. More than anything, I just want to bring some positive energy back to this group. I don't think it was a fluke that we were on top of the standings for as long as we were. It's a good team and I just hope I can bring some energy back and get some belief back in this room again."
As for the face cage he's required to wear for the next couple of weeks, Burish is not a huge fan.
"As soon as I can take it off, I will," he said. "I'm miserable. I wore the plastic one in college and tried that for awhile and hated it. It was hard to see and felt like a furnace in there. My face was burning up. This thing, to me, you get the cold breeze in your face, you don't have the wetness in front of your eyes, but still you've got the bars you've got to deal with. They both stink. I'm not happy either way."
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