As the Dallas Stars get set to embark on a five-game road trip that will keep them away from home for a total of 10 days, they do so with some good news. Three injured players-defensemen Trevor Daley
and Alex Goligoski
along with team captain Brenden Morrow
, are set to return during this trip.
Daley, who has been out with a back injury since leaving early in a loss at Phoenix on Nov. 26 is expected to return for Thursday’s game at San Jose along with Morrow, who has been sidelined since Nov. 22 with a back issue of his own.
Goligoski has been off the ice since suffering a broken thumb in a loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 11. “Goose” won’t be back for the opening game of the road trip against the Sharks, but should return in fairly short order.
“Yeah, we’re getting closer obviously. [Daley] will be a player for us come Thursday for sure. So will [Morrow],” Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said after practice on Monday. “That will be two guys back for sure. [Goligoski] is very close for us too with his playing cast and stuff. We’re getting there. If we can get through another week here with no injuries, we’ll be getting pretty close to healthy.”
All three players were on the ice on Monday and each offered their own rave reviews of how they are progressing.
“Yeah [I should be 100 percent] by Thursday for sure,” Daley said. “I’m ready to get back. I haven’t gotten the chance to shoot or be hit yet but it feels good. The first bump will make it feel better.”
Morrow added: “It felt good. The hands weren’t where I’d like them, so I need to get a couple more good skates before San Jose on Thursday,” the Dallas captain said. “That’s the plan right now [for me to return on Thursday]. The body actually felt pretty good today, so I just need to get the timing back a little bit but Thursday’s looking pretty good.”
However, Goligoski’s return isn’t quite as far along but he has been encouraged by how he’s been feeling of late.
“Good, it felt good to be out there with the guys,” he said on Monday. “Right now I’m waiting on a special kind of brace to be made. I won’t know for sure until that gets in and I get a feel for that. The brace I have now, it feels pretty good, probably better than even I expected. We’ll see how it goes the next couple days.”
Having all three regulars return should pay fairly immediate dividends for the Stars, especially on the power play. Daley and Morrow have logged significant minutes on that unit while Goligoski has served as the club’s point man on the power play for much of this season, a role he first filled when Brad Richards was injured late last season.
Daley and Morrow were two of four Stars to not miss a single game in the regular season all last year. And it’s not like injuries are a regular thing for the talented, young blue liner.
“Just getting out of your routine is a little weird. I know it’s early in the season but you spend the first half [of the season] getting back into your routine and then an injury gets you out,” Daley said. “I just really wasn’t used to that. It was a little different for me and it’s not something I want to get used to too much.”
Like his two injured teammates, his game nights have been spent checking out the proceedings from a suite or the press box during his recovery, which he admits does give him a different view of how things happen, but it’s not a vantage point he’d like to have on a regular basis.
“When you slow it down and when you get to watch it up top, it’s a hell of a lot easier. It’s a lot easier up there,” Daley said. “I’m ready to get back down. It’s way too easy up there.”
Goligoski is still taking things relatively slow but admits the early signs are good for him being able to return at some point during this next trip.“Everything healed good. The bone should be stable. It’s just listening to my body right now, the pain management and not overdoing it,” he said.
One thing that won’t be an issue is his conditioning, which he has maintained during his injury. “Mostly just bag skates every day,” Goligoski joked. “Paulie Jerrard, he’s good at skating guys. I feel good and feel refreshed.”