During their recently-concluded five-game road trip, the Dallas Stars got a huge boost from the return of three injured regulars to the ice in defensemen Trevor Daley
and Alex Goligoski
plus captain Brenden Morrow
All three played central roles in the Stars going 3-2-0 on that trip. Now as the club starts a run of games at home leading up to the Christmas holiday, they figure to get another injured player back in winger Adam Burish
Burish will have missed some 15 games with a broken hand by the time he returns for Wednesday’s game with Philadelphia. He suffered the injury in a loss to Florida on Nov. 15 and has spent the last month on the sidelines.
“He'll be a player for us tomorrow," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. “He's ready to go. His hand is ready, he can shoot and conditioning-wise he is where he needs to be. He'll be in our lineup tomorrow.”
This season, Burish has skated in 16 games and has posted solid numbers (3-5-8) in that time. The 28-year-old forward began the year on the third line but shifted to the fourth line just a few games into the season and has settled in nicely to skating alongside a rotating cast of Jake Dowell
, Tom Wandell
and Toby Petersen
on that line.
And it’s a group he’s ready to resume skating with again.
"I am ready to go," Burish said. "Felt good today. I saw the doctor last night, so everything checked out. ... I'm excited. It feels like the first game of the season."
Returning to the lineup means he doesn’t have to watch any more games either from the press box at home or on TV when the team is on the road, something he’s not a big fan of.
“Yeah, it was hard, probably hard for a lot of reasons. Watching is always hard. You see a loss in San Jose. You want to get out there and help with that,” Burish said. “Then you see three big wins in a row that you miss being a part of. On the side, LA and New York are kind of fun cities. You hate missing going on those trips. I was really, really bored sitting here for a week, so I was excited when the guys got back.”
Sure, the ex-Blackhawk and member of their 2010 Stanley Cup championship team has never been a guy who posts big numbers, but the Wisconsin native more than proved his value last season, his first with the Stars.
Plain and simple, he is a guy who makes the Stars a better club through all the little things he does whether it’s blocking shots, digging pucks out of the corner, delivering a punish check or other small nuances many don’t see but his teammates and coaches definitely notice.
Burish’s return to the lineup will be a welcome one for his teammates as well as for Gulutzan and his staff. The man himself is also ready to get back because that means no more solitary workouts with club strength and conditioning coach Steve Jellis, which were a regular occurrence during the road trip.
“That was it, just go on the ice every day and skate. For the last two days, Kari [Lehtonen] was on the ice,” Burish said. “He came on the ice the last two days but the first week was just me and Jelly out there, making up drills, playing games, just trying to stay ready and get in shape. The one nice thing about a hand is I could skate every day. I’ve been skating since two days after I got hurt. I’m in as good a shape as I’ve been all season, probably a little bit fresher. I don’t feel banged up.”
He has never had a hand injury during all of his years playing hockey and being a guy who blocks his fair share of shots, he didn’t see anything he could have done differently to avoid a similar injury in the future.
“Whenever you get hurt, especially for me, when I break my hand, you think to yourself what did I do wrong or what could I have done differently? If somebody else gets hurt, you’re thinking what did he do wrong? Was he out of shape or not strong enough? How do I avoid it next time? For me, I’m going to the front of the net, trying to be where I need to be to score goals, what I need to do for this team and I break my hand,” Burish said.
He added: “It’s bad luck for me. Nothing I could have done differently, nothing I would have changed about the play. I was in front of the net and got hit with a shot. It was just bad luck. So your next frame of thought is what do I need to do to be ready when I get back?”