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Ruff Juggles Lines in Practice

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Ray Whitney had a maintenance day on Tuesday, so Stars coach Lindy Ruff took the opportunity to tinker with his forward lines.

“With Ray not out there it was an opportunity to experiment a little bit,” Ruff said. “I liked what a couple of the lines did today. Ray will go back in his spot, but we may take a look at a couple of different looks.”

Among the moves in Tuesday’s practice was shifting Rich Peverley to the right wing on the top line with left wing Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin.

“It’s a look we would have liked to have seen during the preseason,” Ruff said. “They (Peverley and Seguin) are familiar with each other. Pevs sometimes ends up down low and Seguin can end up right, so it’s a look that I am anxious to see if it can work.”

Peverley, who did not play in the preseason or in the season opener due to an irregular heartbeat, centered the fourth line in Saturday’s win over Washington. He was expected to move up the lineup at some point.

Chris Mueller filled in for Whitney on the second line with Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson. Ruff did some juggling on the lower lines as well. Vernon Fiddler centered Valeri Nichushkin and Ryan Garbutt. Shawn Horcoff centered Antoine Roussel and Erik Cole.

The defense pairings remained the same.

Notes: Rome still a ways away

*Defenseman Aaron Rome, who is out following hip surgery, continues to practice with the team, but he is still not close to returning.

“He is still working on his conditioning, getting him in more game intense drills,” said Ruff. “But he’s still in a non-contact situation, so he is still a ways away.”

Rome, who had a procedure on his hip just prior to training camp, said he is making progress.

“I feel good. I feel better every day,” Rome said. “It’s still a work in progress. I am just trying to put in the extra work and feel as good as I can when I get back.”

Rome said he expects to travel with the Stars on their upcoming three-game road trip, but won’t play.

*Stars forward Ray Whitney did not practice Tuesday. It was a day of off-ice work for the veteran forward.

“Ray was a maintenance day. He was in the shop, new tires,” Ruff said with a smile.

Whitney is expected to practice on Wednesday.

Stars practice lineup

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Rich Peverley
Chris Mueller
-Cody Eakin-Alex Chiasson
Ryan Garbutt
-Vernon Fiddler-Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel
-Shawn Horcoff-Erik Cole

Alex Goligoski-Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon
-Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley
-Jordie Benn
Aaron Rome
(injured)-Kevin Connauton

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge

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