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Forging Ahead

by Dallas Stars Staff / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars returned to American Airlines Center on Wednesday night and found a way to win after getting a couple tough breaks; learning that center Tom Wandell would be lost for the season with a torn ACL and defenseman Mark Fistric being assessed a match penalty early in the first period.

Mike Modano has been one of the players to help fill the void left by Tom Wandell’s injury since Jan. 21 and he played over 18 minutes in last night’s shootout win against Calgary. The 39-year old was given the day off from practice today and was also given the day off Tuesday before the game.

“We’re going to try to give Mike every opportunity to rejuvenate because this is a very difficult period that we’re going through right now with the intensity of the games,” Coach Marc Crawford said. “The intensity of the schedule, playing every second day until the break and the fact that we’ve got to do all that we can to make sure that he’s at his best in the game, that’s what counts.”

Help at the center position is on the horizon, with Mike Ribeiro getting closer, but he still is not yet cleared to practice. He has been cleared to skate in non-contact practices, as he did in yesterday’s morning skate, but he was unable to participate in today’s normal practice.

Modano is currently averaging just over 14 minutes per game, which will go up with the recent injuries to Wandell and Ribeiro. The Stars have plenty of options at center with Toby Petersen, Steve Ott, Brian Sutherby and Jamie Benn all having spent time at the center position this season, but right now Crawford is leaning on Modano to pick up more minutes.

“We saw last night we can push him to 18 minutes, he can handle it. I thought he was terrific in all aspects of the game and we’ll try to keep forging ahead with him.”

Mark Fistric was given a match penalty last night for using an opposing player’s helmet during a fight. Fistric was trying to take off Calgary’s Eric Nystrom’s helmet during the fight and the helmet got caught on Fistric’s hand as he threw another punch. The 6-3, 234-pound defenseman had a call this morning to talk about the incident with the league.

“The call [with the league] went alright. We all stated what we felt,” Fistric said. “Anyone that knows me knows that not only was it my third fight in a long time, but I don’t have a history of being a dirty player or anything like that. It was just the heat of the moment; you lose track of stuff. I meant no harm to Eric.”

The league announced earlier today that Mark Fistric would be fined $2,500 for the incident, but would not be suspended.

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