There is no timeframe on how long Ben Bishop will be sidelined with a knee injury, but the Stars goaltender will travel with the team on its upcoming six-game road trip, which begins this weekend. The team is hopeful he will be back on the ice next week.
Coach Ken Hitchcock saw that news as positive.
"Being able to have him go on the ice this early stage is good news," Hitchcock said. "Whether he is on the ice stopping pucks or whatever, just to have him on the road trip and be able to join us is good news."
Bishop was injured in Monday's game against Ottawa when Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis fell on him in the crease late in the first period. Bishop finished the period but then did not return for the start of the second. The Stars don't expect Bishop to be out long.
"On the aspect of the injury, this is short-term and not long-term," Hitchcock said. "I can't tell you exactly the time frame, but he is going to join us when we leave on Saturday, he'll be on the plane with us, and we'll go from there."
With Bishop out for now, the Stars will turn to Kari Lehtonen in net. Lehtonen, the longtime number one goalie for the Stars, has been in a backup role this season starting 18 games to 49 for Bishop, who was acquired in an offseason trade and then signed to a six-year contract.
Video: OTT@DAL: Bishop leaves game with injury
And Lehtonen has been superb in the new role, posting an 11-7-2 record, 2.30 goals against average and .919 save percentage. Hitchcock has full confidence in riding Lehtonen during a key stretch of the season, pointing to Lehtonen stopping 32 of 33 shots in a 2-0 loss at Nashville on Tuesday.
"He just showed us. Come on. He was incredible in Nashville," Hitchcock said. "We expect the same again. He's on top of his game. Why would we expect anything different? He's just a flat good goalie."
The injury news on center Martin Hanzal, who has missed the last seven games with a back injury, was not as encouraging. Hitchcock said Stars GM Jim Nill would provide an update on Hanzal, most likely on Friday.
"Obviously, he is out long-term," Hitchcock said.
Radek Faksa (foot) and Esa Lindell (illness), who both missed the last two games, practiced Thursday morning at American Airlines Center. Hitchcock said if both are fine in the morning, they should play Friday against Anaheim.
"Both practiced today, and they went full," Hitchcock said. "I pulled both guys off early just from a precautionary standpoint. If they come through and they feel good tomorrow morning, then they look like they are both players for (Friday)."
The Stars practiced at American Airlines Center Thursday since it was team picture day.
Hitchcock said if Lindell plays Thursday he will skate with John Klingberg on the blue line and Marc Methot will go back to playing with Stephen Johns.
Hitchcock juggled his forward lines in practice. Jamie Benn skated on a line with Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick. Mattias Janmark was on a line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. Hitchcock said he plans on moving guys around including using both Benn and Janmark on the Faksa line depending on opponents and matchups.
Here was Thursday's practice lineup:
Mattias Janmark - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Remi Elie
Devin Shore - Jason Dickinson - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Marc Methot - Stephen Johns
Gemel Smith and Julius Honka were the extras.
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.
Read more: Dallas Stars, Ben Bishop , Martin Hanzal, Ken Hitchcock