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Stars without Morrow due to 'upper-body issue'

by Steve Hunt
DALLAS -- As the Dallas Stars look to build on a 3-1 home win over Edmonton on Monday night, they will face the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night without a fixture in their lineup, captain Brenden Morrow.

The Stars' mainstay suffered an upper-body injury in the win over the Oilers and after leaving the ice for part of the game, returned to finish the contest. But he wasn't on the ice for a morning skate on Wednesday and has been ruled out for tonight's game.

"In the first period of the Edmonton game, he came off for a bit and then he came and finished the game. He's got a little upper-body issue here," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We don't think he’ll be too long but he’s not going to be available for tonight."

With Morrow out, that means Steve Ott will move to the left side of the second line, a trio centered by Mike Ribeiro and featuring rookie Tomas Vincour on the right. Vincour was recently called up from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, where he had 13 points (10-3-13) in 15 games for Dallas' top minor-league affiliate.

The Czech-born forward saw the ice in 24 games last season for the Stars, but Monday's game against Edmonton marked his first NHL action of this season. Moving to Dallas' No. 2 line represents a big opportunity for the versatile 21-year-old.

"Yeah, if I was Tomas, I'd like it. Yeah, it's a real good opportunity for him," Gulutzan said. "We're not putting heavy pressure on him. We want him to play hard, be sound defensively and use his size and frame down low to create some chances."

After skating on Dallas' fourth line two nights again against Edmonton, the talented young Czech is now looking forward to seeing some ice time alongside Ott and Ribeiro.

"Yeah, it's exciting," Vincour said. "I'm really looking forward to the game tonight and playing with those two guys. At the same time, I need to play my game. I have to do that early job for them, just work hard and did what I did in the first game."

But Vincour won't be the only rookie to see the ice tonight. Defenseman Philip Larsen, who was a teammate of his in the AHL earlier this year, figures to play a second straight game at the blue line paired alongside Mark Fistric.

The Stars will be facing a Los Angeles team that is 2-0-0 against them already this season. The Kings come off a 3-2 win at St. Louis on Tuesday night. Terry Murray's club is currently being led on the offensive end by Anze Kopitar (10-14-24) and newcomer Mike Richards (9-9-18), who has 16 points in his last 18 contests.

Richards is definitely one player the Stars will have to be aware of if they are to beat the Kings for the first time this season tonight in Dallas.

"There is one guy we did watch. We know that he was 15-for-16 on the draws last night. We've got to be good in the circle against them," Gulutzan said. "When he PKs, he'll try to score and he's smart. He's a key guy and then their big line there with [Anze] Koptar. We'll have our hands full but we're ready to go."
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