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Statuses of injured Stars forwards up in air entering tilt with Winnipeg

Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick are doubtful for Monday; Martin Hanzal still a question mark

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars have some injury issues at forward, and that means their lineup for Monday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at American Airlines Center is up in the air.

Center Radek Faksa and right wing Tyler Pitlick both are listed as doubtful for Monday's game after being injured in Saturdays' 5-1 win over Buffalo. Faksa left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and Pitlick left late in the third with an upper-body injury.

"We don't expect it to be long-term. Both are day to day, and they are doubtful for tomorrow, but I don't think they are going to be able to play," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said after Sunday's practice.

The Stars will also be without right wing Brett Ritchie who has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury. Ritchie was placed on injured reserve Sunday retroactive to Oct. 30. 

One question mark is center Martin Hanzal who took part in Sunday's optional practice in Frisco. Hanzal, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury and wasn't expected to be ready by Monday, is now questionable for the Jets game.

Video: BUF@DAL: Faksa slams home rebound to double the lead

"We're testing Hanzal competitively today to see if he is ready to go," Hitchcock said. "We'll see where he is, but we are not sure yet until we get the evaluation on the tests."

Right now, the Stars have ten healthy forwards. Hitchcock said there would likely be a call-up from the Texas Stars of the AHL if Hanzal isn't ready to go Monday. The Stars opened up a roster spot for a possible call-up when they placed Ritchie on IR late Sunday afternoon.

"Our preference is to play an existing lineup, whether it is eleven (forwards) and seven (defensemen) or play a defenseman as a forward," Hitchcock said. "If Hanzal is not able to play, then we will probably look at bringing somebody in."

If Hitchcock decides to move a defenseman to forward, Jamie Oleksiak could be the likely candidate to shift from the blue line to a spot on the wing.

"He's got that capability. He's mobile, he's big, he knows how to play moving forward," said Hitchcock. "He would be the logical guy right now. There's a lot of trust in us that he knows how to do the job."

Hitchcock also said that Ben Bishop would get the start in goal Monday against Winnipeg.

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 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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