Coach Lindy Ruff put the Dallas Stars through a long, hard practice in Frisco Wednesday morning. The Stars were on the ice close to 90 minutes. And there was a lot of hard skating.
“We are going to test the will today,” Ruff said. “I didn’t like our third period (in Tuesday’s loss to Winnipeg). I didn’t like some of the penalties we took in the game. I thought we got outplayed. I thought we got outworked and got outplayed.”
Third periods were a talking point for Ruff after Wednesday’s session, the first of three straight practice days before the next game. The Stars have been one of the worst third period teams in the league this season. They’ve been outscored 38-22 in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The 38 goals against are tied for most in the league. The minus-16 goal differential in the third period is second worst.
“I looked at the big picture and our third periods in the big scheme of things, and it hasn’t been good enough,” Ruff said. “We are still not where we need to be when it comes to battling fatigue and working through it. I know we are tired, but we’ve got to keep coming. I told the team this morning that that was our trademark. We’ve lost our brand, and we’ve got to get it back. There is a good opportunity here with the three days to test some of the will in practice.”
Garbutt to have hearing with NHL Player Safety
Stars forward Ryan Garbutt will be meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the second time in two weeks. This time around the league wants to talk to Garbutt about a slew-foot on Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien in the third period of Tuesday night’s game.
It happened in the third period as both players were chasing the puck, and Garbutt took Byfuglien down. Garbutt was given a tripping penalty on the play.
Earlier in the game, Garbutt took a tripping penalty on Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson. As Garbutt was skating by the Jets crease, he took the feet out from under Hutchinson.
“For me, I knew it (the Byfuglien play) was a penalty right away. I didn’t know to what extent,” Ruff said. “I didn’t see the goaltending one until after the game. Both penalties are inexcusable.”
Just two weeks ago, the league suspended Garbutt two games for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall. Last season he was suspended five games for charging Anaheim’s Dustin Penner, and he was fined during last season’s playoffs for spearing Ducks forward Corey Perry.
With Garbutt facing possible supplemental discipline, Ales Hemsky took Garbutt’s spot on a line with Antoine Roussel and Cody Eakin in Wednesday’s practice.
“When you have a hearing with a repeat offender, you worry about where you are going to be at,” Ruff said. “I think those will be two good guys for (Hemsky) to play with. That’s my plan, and I am anticipating the worst.”
Lehtonen, Goligoski and Moen sit out practice
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward Travis Moen did not practice Wednesday.
Moen was hurt in Tuesday’s game while both Goligoski and Lehtonen have been battling through injury issues recently.
“Kari has been battling a lower body injury for a little while,” Ruff said. “This is more the plan we had for him going along that we would give him the day after playing.”
Goligoski has what Ruff described as a bone-related issue from getting hit with a shot.
“Goose has been hurting. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit for battling through what he is battling through,” Ruff said. “I think it is affecting his play, not some of his errant passes, but I think it is affecting his skating. He is working hard to battle through. If it comes to a point where he is a detriment, it might be my decision to take him out.”
Moen left Tuesday’s game midway through the second period with an upper body injury and did not return.
“Moen got hurt during the game, couldn’t play,” Ruff said. “There’s a chance he could miss the weekend.”
With Moen injured and Ryan Garbutt facing possible discipline from the league, Dallas could call up a forward from the Texas Stars of the AHL for Saturdays’ game against New Jersey.
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.