There were a few more players on the ice for Wednesday’s practice as three of the Stars’ injured players were on the ice. Forward Patrick Sharp and defensemen John Klingberg and Jordie Benn all went through a full practice.
Klingberg took part in Tuesday morning’s pre-game skate, but this was his first practice since going out with a lower-body injury. Klingberg has missed the past five games.
“I am feeling better,” Klingberg said. “It’s fun shooting pucks with the team again and putting a couple of pucks on the goalie, so I feel better.”
Any thoughts on a possible return?
“It’s still day to day. We’ll see,” he said. “I felt better today, so hopefully pretty soon.”
Well, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay is a possibility for Klingberg. Ditto for Patrick Sharp, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury.
“I think we have a chance at both Klingberg and Sharp [playing tomorrow],” Ruff said. “We’ll see how they got through today and how they’re feeling. It’s the type of injuries that only they know if they are ready. I think both of them have a chance.”
As for Jordie Benn, he is still not ready to return. He’s been out six games with a lower-body injury.
“Jordie is a few days behind [Sharp and Klingberg],” Ruff said.
Mattias Janmark, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury, did not practice Wednesday.
“Janmark is ruled out,” Ruff said. “Probably tomorrow and Saturday and then after that it should look better for him.”
After taking a second look at Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on video, nothing changed in Stars coach Lindy Ruff’s assessment of the game.
“I was equally disappointed,” Ruff said. “I didn’t think our compete level was high enough. It’s as simple as that.”
Asked if there might have been a letdown after two big divisional games against Chicago and St. Louis over the weekend, Ruff shook his head.
“I have a hard time finding a reason after we had a day off and a light practice that we’d have a letdown,” he said. “We made some big individual mistakes. We didn’t win enough of the compete battles, and we didn’t defend with enough passion. I thought our defending passion in the previous two games was excellent. It was very poor last night.”
Ruff said he looking for the Stars to get back to the way they played over the weekend, when they picked up three of four points in games against the Blackhawks and Blues.
“That was a tighter game,” Ruff said. “[Last night] was mental, just pure mental mistakes. Pure gaffes that we haven’t seen for quite some time. There’s part of me that says you just throw it aside; it’s just one of those games. But there’s a part realizing that we’re running out of games to become this consistent team that we need to be and that I think will make us effective down the stretch.”
“It’s probably the toughest stretch of the year for us when you look at the opponents we are playing, the type of games and what they mean. I think it is ideal. I think it gets your mindset. If you were playing lesser teams and won all the games going into the playoffs, you wouldn’t know what to expect. We are 1-1-1 against three of the best teams in the league. We are pretty disappointed with how we played last night [against Los Angeles], but there is stuff to build off in every game and things to learn. It’s good timing for us to have challenges like this.”
-Stars center Jason Spezza
Here’s how the Stars lined up in Wednesday’s practice
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Ales Hemsky
Travis Moen/Colton Sceviour – Vernon Fiddler – Brett Ritchie/Patrick Sharp
Patrik Nemeth – Alex Goligoski
Johnny Oduya – Stephen Johns
Kris Russell – Jamie Oleksiak
Jordie Benn – John Klingberg
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.