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Saturday Practice Update

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Everybody was on the ice this afternoon as the Stars held a short practice in Frisco. With an earlier than usual start tomorrow against the New York Islanders and no morning skate, Stars coach Lindy Ruff wanted to get the players going a little bit.

“It was just get the blood flowing today,” Ruff said. “It was a late night. Most people probably didn’t get to bed until maybe 3:30 (this morning). For me, with a 5 o’clock game tomorrow, it was just trying to get the hands and the feet and the brain going.”

The Stars are back home after a three game road trip where they lost all three games, extending their overall losing streak to five. Ruff said the Stars are making progress and the play has improved.

“We had a couple games with real low energy where we beat ourselves. We made big mistakes. Typically, when the legs aren’t going the heads aren’t far behind. We made some big mistakes in those games that cost us,” Ruff said. “The game last night (3-2 loss to New York Rangers) looked very similar to the games we’ve been winning. If we put the puck in the net on a couple of the chances late in the third, we’ll walk out with points. We played a real good third period when it comes to giving up anything. It was kind of a fall away shot off a battle that beats you. For me, we’re closer to where we need to be.”

One of the reasons GM Jim Nill hired Ruff to be head coach of the Stars is because Ruff has just about every situation imaginable during his career. So, he has seen his share of losing streaks. While veteran players can play a key role at a time like this, Ruff said a lot of it falls on his shoulders.

“I am responsible for picking them up and keeping their hope tank full,” Ruff said. “This isn’t the time to go around and look for every little mistake in the game. We evaluate the game, we see where we could have been better. We made some adjustments out of the Jersey game that I thought the guys really bought into for the Ranger game. We’re not quite there, but it was a game we could have won.

But when you are going bad - I’ve been through enough of these - when you are going bad, you are going to lose that game. If you are going good, you win that game. That’s just the way it is. It’s no different than when we were going good before Christmas or just after. That opportunity went in the net for us, now it goes in for the opposition.”

Stars practice lineup

Here’s how the Stars lined up in practice today

Jamie BennTyler SeguinErik Cole
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyVernon FiddlerRich Peverley
Valeri Nichushkin/Dustin JeffreyShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Defense pairs were mixed with Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley, Brenden Dillon, Sergei Gonchar, Jordie Benn, Aaron Rome and Kevin Connauton all on the ice.

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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