Stars defenseman Jason Demers will miss at least six weeks with a shoulder injury, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday.
Demers was injured Tuesday when he got tangled up with Montreal’s Lucas Lessio in the second period of the Stars’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Canadiens.
“We will know in about six weeks where he is. We will have an update after that,” Ruff said. “[It’s his] shoulder. Six weeks we will see where he is, but he is going to miss that amount of time.”
Demers was at the American Airlines Center Thursday with his arm in a sling.
The Stars will not get any of their other injured players back this weekend. Defenseman John Klingberg (lower body), forward Patrick Sharp (lower body) and Jordie Benn (lower body) did not practice Thursday. Ruff said they are expected to miss this weekend’s games against Chicago and St. Louis.
“Probably Sharp is doing the best out of all of them… Klingberg looks like he is still a period of time away. Jordie Benn still a little bit of time away,” Ruff said. “I don’t think there is an exact day for them. I know they are going to miss the next two. We’ll look again after the weekend and see where they’re at because all three of them could feel better after a couple of days, but it just depends on how they progress.”
Defenseman Stephen Johns, called up from the Texas Stars of the AHL Wednesday, will make his NHL debut Friday against Chicago, the team that drafted him in 2010 and traded him to Dallas as part of the Patrick Sharp deal last summer.
“It doesn’t matter who I get my first game against. I just want to play in the NHL and play for a long time,” Johns said after Thursday’s practice with Dallas. “Just so happens to be against the Hawks, which is pretty rare. It’s pretty funny, but I’ll be excited for sure.”
The 23-year-old Johns, a right-handed shot who is listed at 6-4, 225 pounds, has had a solid season with Texas, registering 24 points (4 goals, 20 assists) and a plus-7 rating in 55 games. He’s tied for third on Texas with 124 shots on goal.
“He’ll be in the lineup. It will be a great opportunity for him,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I realize with his first game there will probably be some nerves involved. It’s his former team. It’s ironic how things have worked out. He’s played very well down in Texas. We need him to step in and play well because we are counting pretty heavily now on three of our younger D to help us keep this thing moving forward.”
Johns skated with Johnny Oduya during Thursday’s practice. The other pairs were Kris Russell-Alex Goligoski and Patrik Nemeth-Jamie Oleksiak.
The forward lines had a different look during Thursday’s practice, and it was a look that had Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin skating on different lines. Benn and Seguin have struggled recently. Over the past seven games, Benn has no goals and a minus-9 rating. During the same stretch, Seguin has one goal and a minus-nine rating.
On Thursday, Benn skated with Cody Eakin and Patrick Eaves. Seguin centered Antoine Roussel and Ales Hemsky with Radek Faksa rotating in on that line as well.
“There’s a possibility we’ll switch things up,” Ruff said. “We’ll see tomorrow, but something I wanted to look at.”
Here were the lines:
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Brett Ritchie
Antoine Roussel/Radek Faksa – Tyler Seguin – Ales Hemsky
Mattias Janmark – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour/Travis Moen
The Dallas Stars will face a big test this weekend when they take on Chicago (Friday) and St. Louis (Saturday) at American Airlines Center. The Stars and Blackhawks are tied at 88 points, and the Blues are one back at 87 in the battle at the top of the Central Division.
“It’s a great test,” said Stars center Jason Spezza. “It’s great timing for us. We are coming off two games where we get three out of four points. We feel like we could have played better and now we get the two best teams in the West coming at us. It will give us that playoff game feeling, and that’s what we want to have.”
“Every team is trying to hone a playoff style of game and get their team ready for that style of game,” said Stars forward Colton Sceviour. “It’s going to be the kind of game you would expect to see. Teams are trying to prove that they are the best in their division and the best in their conference. When you get those kinds of games, you definitely seem to get a playoff-like, defensive first style of game, and that’s kind of what we’re expecting.”
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.