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Stars Come Home

by Travis Betts / Dallas Stars

Max Fortunus is scheduled to make his NHL debut Saturday.
After a five-game road trip in which four contests went into overtime, the Dallas Stars returned to Texas for a three-game homestand that will culminate just before Christmas. The Stars play six of their next seven games at home, including Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings, Monday against the San Jose Sharks and Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team held an optional practice Friday morning, giving some players a chance to fine-tune certain aspects of their game, and others a chance to rest.

Turco takes new approach to afternoon games
Saturday’s matinee contest against Detroit is just the second afternoon game of the season for the Stars. Goaltender Marty Turco used to adjust for early games by moving his entire game-day schedule ahead a few hours, including waking up, eating breakfast, and taking his afternoon, ahem, morning nap. However, Turco has adjusted his schedule over the years.

“I’ve actually learned to come to enjoy afternoon games. I’m probably getting in a little better routine over the years. I remember when I was younger I tried everything – I’d get up at six, and eat, and go back to bed. Until I saw Mike Keane grab a coffee on the way to the rink, and show up and be his usual self. Even though we’re both a little different, I was like, ‘I’m looking too much into this.’”

Daley on IR, Fortunus recalled
The Stars put Trevor Daley (shoulder) on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 16, which means he will probably not play again until at least Dec. 26 at Colorado. Head coach Marc Crawford said that Mark Fistric, who took a hit to the head against Atlanta on Thursday, would probably be out for about the same timeframe as Daley. The club usually carries seven defensemen on the active roster to fill the void in case of injury, but with two d-men sidelined, Maxime Fortunus was called up from the Texas Stars. Crawford said he expects Fortunus, 26, to make his NHL debut Saturday.

“He had a great training camp for us and played a lot of games. He’s played very effectively down at the minor league level for the Texas Stars. Their defense has been the best part of their game, along with their goaltending.”
Fortunus was called up to Dallas Nov. 24, but was a healthy scratch for one game before being sent back down to Texas. The La Prairie, Quebec native has appeared in 326 career AHL games and will be the fifth Dallas Star to make his NHL debut this season.

“I think the first time, I had a lot of stress. I didn’t really know what was going to happen; if I was playing or not. It was brand new. But now I kind of know what’s going on. I know the little routine that goes on before games and everything around it,” Fortunus said. “It’s a new challenge. It’s totally different. It’s all about coming out and doing what I’ve got to do while I’m here.”

Crawford said that he would have to switch up the defensive pairings a little bit, given his team’s injuries, but acknowledged that other teams around the league, most notably Detroit, have been bit by the injury bug as well this season.

“Right now we’ve got a makeshift lineup with the number of people that are out. Everybody is going through injuries. The team we’re playing tomorrow has some significant ones as well.”

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