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Stars Hopeful Klingberg Can Play Tuesday; Nichushkin Practices With Team

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who left Saturday’s game with a lower body injury, is still listed as day to day, but the Stars are hopeful he can play in Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia. Klingberg went through a full practice in Frisco Monday morning.

“He is still day to day. We’re hopeful he can play tomorrow,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s nothing serious, but it is something that kept him out the rest of the game. He came back and went for a little skate before the period started and just felt it didn’t feel right. At his stage, you’ve got to be feeling good; you just can’t go out there at half speed. But he felt good today, and I would anticipate with a good morning skate that he would be ready to go. He got through a pretty tough practice today. I am encouraged with how he feels.”

“It’s a little sore, but it’s OK. I can skate with it. I am happy it’s not too bad. ” Klingberg said. “I felt good today. Today was a little try it out and see how it felt. It felt good and hopefully it will be even better tomorrow.”

Klingberg was injured midway through the second period of Saturday’s game at Tampa Bay. He left the game and did not return. Initially it was thought Klingberg was injured when he hit a rut in the ice, but the Dallas rookie said it came just after that when he was hit by Lightning forward Ryan Callahan.

“I saw the video replay. It wasn’t the one where I lost the balance,” Klingberg said. “It was actually after that when [Tampa forward Ryan] Callahan tackled me. I felt something kind of weird with my knee there. It just kind of popped a little bit, nothing bad. So, that’s good.”

Nichushkin practices in red no-contact jersey

Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin took part in Monday’s practice wearing a red no-contact jersey. Nichushkin has been out since undergoing hip surgery in November. He’s been skating since late January, but this is the first time he’s been on the ice for a practice since going out with the injury.

“He’s back out there trying to get into the grind. It’s going to be a little bit, but the fact that he was out there today is one big step in the right direction for him,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I am happy for him. He’s gone through a lot with what he has had to have repaired. He seems to be progressing and hopefully within a week or ten days he could get back and play.”

There is a possibility that Nichushkin could play some games in the AHL before he returns to playing for Dallas.

Ruff said Nichushkin will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.

Oleksiak back with Stars

With Trevor Daley out and John Klingberg day to day, the Stars recalled defenseman Jamie Oleksiak from the Texas Stars of the AHL on Sunday. Oleksiak practiced with the team Monday. The 22-year-old defenseman started the season in Dallas but has been going up and down between the NHL and AHL since December.

“For me it’s just been consistent play,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We play a pretty demanding style for our defense. I think there are times he gets caught in between as a defenseman. I feel he is a good enough skater, but when he isn’t making that quick decision right away and gets caught halfway where we need to be, he’s got himself in some tough spots. I think as a big man he needs to bring that physical presence. He’s been able to garner big minutes at the American League, and he’s been consistent down there. I think it is consistency. Part of that is a young defenseman has his ups and downs.”

Stars hit the road

The Stars continue their stretch of five straight games on the road. They returned home after games last week at Florida and Tampa Bay, had a day off Sunday and practiced today. Now, they head out for games at Philadelphia (Tuesday), Carolina (Thursday) and Washington (Friday).

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 DallasStars.com 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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