Forward Ales Hemsky did not practice Monday and will not play Tuesday when the Stars play at St. Louis. The Stars are hopeful that Hemsky, who suffered a lower body injury in Friday’s game against Florida, can return later this week.
“Just day to day,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Hemsky. “Hopefully, he’ll be ready for Thursday maybe.”
That means the Stars will be without three of their top six forwards for Tuesday’s game against the Blues. Tyler Seguin (knee) and Patrick Eaves (concussion) are out as well. Both those players are on injured reserve. Seguin is out 3-6 weeks. There is no timetable on Eaves.
“I think we are dealing with a little bit of adversity, and you’ve got to wrap your arms around that,” Ruff said. “It’s an opportunity some of these young guys will welcome, and I want to see them be part of the guys that help push us through here.”
The loss of Seguin leaves a big hole for the Stars. He’s the team’s top center and top scorer. He ranks fifth in the NHL with 29 goals and is tied for third in points with 59.
“It’s obviously tough losing a guy like that. He’s having such a great year,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’ve got to find a way to put pucks in the back of the net and to win games.”
Ruff said he plans on keeping Benn and Jason Spezza together on a line for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis. Those two skated with Erik Cole in Monday’s practice. Antoine Roussel is back from a two-game suspension, and he was back on his usual line with Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt. Ruff is hoping the Eakin trio, which would appear to be the team’s No. 2 line, can provide some offensive punch.
“The only way it can be a No. 2 is if it produces. They’ve got to score goals,” Ruff said. “Otherwise, that is a combination that we’ll have to look at breaking up and putting pieces in different spots. The thing that line did so well [last season] is they were tough on other teams top lines and, at the same time, they were producing. Right now, I don’t think the offensive numbers have been there. We need them to find the back of the net for us.”
With Hemsky not playing, the Stars have 12 available forwards on the roster. Ruff said there is no plan to call up an extra forward for Tuesday’s game.
Kulikov gets four games for hit on Seguin
The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov four games for his low hit on Stars center Tyler Seguin in Friday’s game. The hit left Seguin with a knee injury that will sideline him 3-6 weeks.
In its explanation of the suspension, the league said that Kulikov “bends severely at the waist and throws his body across Seguin’s knees, flipping Seguin dangerously to the ice and causing a significant knee injury. This is clipping.”
The league acknowledged that a hip check is legal when delivered properly and that Seguin was eligible to be hit legally, but that it is “illegal to deliver any body check at or below the knees.”
Kulikov, who had no history of supplemental discipline, will forfeit $93,189.96 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Quotable: Jamie Benn on Tyler Seguin
“I have had a chance to talk to him. He could be doing better. He’s a little down. He’s having a great year and he is such a big of this team. It’s tough to lose a guy like that.
Stars practice lineup
Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Curtis McKenzie – Vernon Fiddler – Brett Ritchie
Travis Moen – Shawn Horcoff – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jyrki Jokipakka – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
David Schlemko – Patrik Nemeth
This story was not subject to the 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 Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.