Stars coach Lindy Ruff moved things around on his forward lines again for Wednesday’s practice and the end result was the lines looked similar to what he rolled out over the weekend against the Kings and Ducks.
There was one notable exception, but more on that later.
After practicing on the top line in Tuesday’s session, Valeri Nichushkin was back on the third line on Wednesday. Rich Peverley moved back onto the top line, playing right wing with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
“That line has been good with Pevs up there,” Ruff said. “(Nichushkin’s) last two games have been good with the guys he’s been playing with. I think he has to understand that. He could have been the difference maker in the LA game, he had the best chance to turn the game our way. I thought his last two games were the best games he’s played so far. If he plays like that he can be a factor in every game.”
Erik Cole did not practice Wednesday. He’s day to day with an undisclosed injury. Ryan Garbutt wasn’t at practice. He was in New York for a hearing on his hit on Anaheim’s Dustin Penner in Sunday’s game. That left the Stars with 11 forwards, so Ruff moved defenseman Alex Goligoski onto the fourth line for Wednesday’s practice session.
“We just needed to make sure we had four lines for practice,” said Ruff. “Actually, I thought he looked pretty good.”
Good enough to consider using Goligoski at forward in Thursday’s game against Calgary?
“Not likely,” Ruff said. “I don’t think so.”
It wouldn’t be a first for Goligoski. He said he played one game at forward for Pittsburgh.
“I played like five minutes,” Goligoski said.
Defenseman Kevin Connauton skated on the third defensive pair with Sergei Gonchar in Wednesday’s practice. Connauton, who has been a healthy scratch in the first eight games, is still waiting to make his NHL debut. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Connauton is being considered for Thursday’s game.
“There’s a chance Connauton will play tomorrow,” said Ruff. “I think he has put his work in, he’s had a good camp and I think the opportunity now is for him to play.”
Rome on waivers
The Stars placed defenseman Aaron Rome on waivers Wednesday. The move gives the Stars some options moving forward. If Rome clears or is claimed by another team, the Stars would have the roster flexibility to call up a forward if Erik Cole is unable to play in Thursday’s game against Calgary.
With Cole day to day and the Stars possibly losing Ryan Garbutt to a suspension, the team could be down to 11 forwards for the game.
If Cole is able to play and Rome clears, there’s the possibility the Stars would make no moves.
Stars break out a tennis ball, have some fun
The Stars passed on using a puck and practiced with a tennis ball instead during part of Wednesday’s practice. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it was to inject a little fun into the session.
“We had a long day of practice yesterday and just wanted to start the day with the guys working hard, getting loose and having some fun,” Ruff said. “Seven or eight minutes of that every now and then is good for the players.”
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin –Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel – Shawn Horcoff – Valeri Nichushkin
Lane MacDermid – Vernon Fiddler – Alex Goligoski
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley – Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton –Sergei Gonchar
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.