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Stars Dealing With Injuries at Forward, Ruff Looking at Changes on Defense

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have some injury issues at the forward position as they prepare to take on the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

Cody Eakin, who missed Thursday’s game against Nashville with an upper body injury, did not practice Friday and is doubtful for Saturday’s game.

“Eakin probably won’t be available,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Valeri Nichushkin was on the ice for practice but left early. He is still bothered by that hip/groin issue that kept him out of the lineup for nine games. He could be out Saturday as well.

“Val is hurt again. It’s tough to try to get him going in games when he is not quite healthy,” Ruff said. He’s tried, and he’s feeling it again. We’ll see where it leads to today.”

Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky sat out Friday’s practice, but Ruff indicated both should be fine for Saturday’s game.

“Spezza will be [available],” Ruff said. “Just a maintenance day for him. Same thing for Hemsky.”

If Eakin and Nichushkin are unable to go, the Stars would be down to eleven healthy forwards. That means they would have to call up someone from the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Defense juggling

Ruff said he is looking at juggling his defense pairs. The moves would include splitting up the top duo of Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley because, Ruff said, Brenden Dillon is struggling playing the right side on the second pair with Jordie Benn

“I’ve talked to Goligoski about maybe playing the right,” Ruff said. “It’s something we can easily split [Goligoski and Daley] up and then go back to. But I think tomorrow we’ll start where you’ll see some shifts where those two guys are split up.”

The move would leave Daley, Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar most likely lining up on the right side for the Stars, who have all left-shot defensemen on the roster.

The Stars coach wouldn’t rule out some changes among the forward line combinations as well, especially with the possibility of a couple of players out due to injury and the team mired in a six-game winless streak.

“I think when you haven’t won in a number of games, you’ve got to be willing to try anything,” Ruff said. “The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. I am not one to go down that road.”

Saturday Traffic Advisory: North Dallas Tollway

If you use the North Dallas Tollway to get to Dallas Stars games, there will be some lane closures that will affect your trip to and from the game. Here’s the list of closures from the NTTA:

The following closures are scheduled on the DNT near Lemmon Avenue and Maple Avenue/Knight Street:

10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, through 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 10 (Continuous):

• Two northbound right lanes from Wolf Street to Lemmon Avenue closed.

• Two southbound right lanes from Beverly Drive to Maple Avenue closed.

One north- and southbound DNT left lane will remain open during the closures.

The closures are needed for a bridge deck repair project on the DNT main lanes at Lemmon Avenue and Maple Avenue/Knight Street. Old concrete will be removed and replaced on the main lanes' bridge decks.

Additional weekend closures will be needed for the bridge repairs through November. Work on the DNT main lanes is anticipated to be complete by the end of November, weather permitting.

The NTTA appreciates the public's patience while these improvements are made.

Message boards will be placed along the roadway to advise motorists of the closures.

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