There was plenty of news on the injury front for the Dallas Stars on Friday. Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms) didn't practice Friday and has been placed on injured reserve. Patrick Eaves (lower body) injury didn't practice but hasn't been ruled out for Saturday. Ales Hemsky (groin) did practice and appears ready to return. Jiri Hudler remains out with illness. And with the injuries at forward mounting, the Stars recalled Gemel Smith from the AHL.
Sharp and Eaves both were injured in Thursday's game against Los Angeles. Sharp left early in the second period after a big hit by Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb. The Stars placed Sharp on IR retroactive to Thursday, so he'll be out at least seven days from the time of the injury.
Eaves did not return for the third period on Thursday after getting hit with a puck earlier in the game. If Eaves isn't ready to go the Stars will have insurance in Smith, who was recalled Friday afternoon. The 22-year-old Smith, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, had an excellent training camp and preseason with Dallas. The speedy center has one goal and a plus-two rating in three games with Texas.
Hemsky, who has been out since suffering the groin injury at the World Cup of Hockey, has been practicing all week, and the hope has been that he would be ready by this weekend. It appears he will be a player on Saturday.
"The plan was try to get him [in this weekend] initially, so we are right on schedule," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.
Hemsky replaced Eaves on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in Friday morning's practice.
"I am getting stronger. Every day feels better," Hemsky said. "I had a good week, and hopefully I am ready for a game."
Hudler, who has missed the past two games due to illness, did not practice Friday. Once healthy, he'll need some practice time before he is ready to play again.
The Stars are also without forwards Cody Eakin (knee) and Mattias Janmark (knee). Eakin won't be back until November and Janmark is out until sometime in the spring. The rash of injuries has tested the Stars depth early in the season.
"I am really happy with what some of our young guys have done, the guys that have stepped in and played. They've done a real good job for us," Ruff said. "When you look at the personnel we've had to put in and put into tough situations with a lot of guys out of the lineup, they've filled in and done a nice job. It's our veteran guys that have to step to the forefront and be leaders for us. They are the guys that have to dictate. The early games here it has been our workers, our depth guys. The consistent play is going to have to come from the top six. That's away from the puck and five-on-five play."
Getting back on track
The Stars will try to get back on track Saturday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center. The Stars are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Los Angeles Thursday in which they were outshot 39-20. It's not the game they were looking for after Tuesday's 2-1 win in Nashville, which was their best effort of the early season.
"I wanted us to try to maintain the type of play we had in Nashville, but I thought we took a step back," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "We didn't win enough puck battles, we didn't get above the puck, and we didn't play well enough defensively to win a hockey game.
"Part of it is believing in how we need to play. Again, we cheated on the offensive side, and we know what happens then."
Ruff talks more about disputed goal
Stars coach Lindy Ruff was pretty hot Thursday night about the goal Los Angeles scored in overtime to win the game. Ruff thought Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was interfered with on the play, challenged the goal but after a video review, it stood. Ruff wasn't backing down on Friday.
"We just want the right call made. I felt it was the wrong call. It's as simple as that," Ruff said. "They believed there wasn't enough for interference. I don't know what replays they saw. I am assuming they saw the same ones I saw, but our goaltender didn't get a fair chance to make the save."
Ruff said there were discussions with the league about the call. Ruff was asked if there were any discussions about his postgame comments, which were heated.
"What I said is exactly what I meant," Ruff said.
Asked about the possibility the league might not be happy with what he said.
"Then I pay the price for that," Ruff said.
Here's how the Stars lined up in practice Friday. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis did not skate. It was a maintenance day for Hamhuis, according to coach Lindy Ruff. With Hamhuis not skating, defenseman Jordie Benn pulled double duty during some of the drills. Jason Dickinson, who is out due to a hip injury, took part in the practice and skated as the 12th forward.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Jason Spezza
Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Jason Dickinson (injured non-roster)
Jordie Benn - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Esa Lindell - Jamie Oleksiak
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn
Not skating: Dan Hamhuis (maintenance), Patrick Eaves (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms)
This story was not subject to 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.