There was no new update Wednesday on Stars defenseman Trevor Daley, who suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders. Daley was still being evaluated as the Stars were preparing to hit the road.
“We’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I am still going to stick with the assessment that it is going to be a couple weeks. Could be longer, but we’ll know more.”
Daley was injured Tuesday night when he took a knee-on-knee hit from Islanders forward Matt Martin, whom the NHL suspended one game following a hearing on Wednesday. Martin received a kneeing major and game misconduct in Tuesday’s game.
Daley is the latest in a series of key injuries for the Stars. Tyler Seguin, Ales Hemsky and Patrick Eaves were all injured in the Feb. 13 game against Florida. Hemsky and Eaves have returned, but Seguin is still out, leaving the Stars without their top forward and one of their top defensemen.
“Injuries are part of the game. Tough injuries to big players, to whatever player it is, you have to overcome,” Ruff said. “If you are going to be a good team you have to overcome some tough injuries. That’s my responsibility to have a younger player come in and play well enough to help us, knowing that we may have to change a few things, make a subtle change. One of our young D can’t add what Daley adds on the offensive side, but maybe he can up it in the defending side of it.”
With the recent call up of Patrik Nemeth, the Stars still have six healthy defensemen. Ruff said he could make some adjustments to his defense pairs, but said he might stay with what he has and put Nemeth in Daley’s spot on a pair with Jyrki Jokipakka.
“I think anything could happen. We’ll try to find something that works, that is comfortable,” Ruff said. “I am OK right now with leaving it with Jokipakka and Nemeth staying together. I think that gives us a real good size pair, and we’ll see if they can handle that.”
Stars to face Kulikov, Panthers
The Stars play their next five games on the road and first up are the Florida Panthers Thursday night. The Stars and Florida will meet for the first time since Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov took out Stars center Tyler Seguin with a low hit in the Feb. 13 game at American Airlines Center. Seguin is still out with the knee injury suffered on the play, but Kulikov is back from the four-game suspension handed out by the league.
While Stars players may be thinking about that Kulikov hit, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he expects the focus to be on getting a much-needed two points.
“Those situations are always in the back of your mind. We’ve got a game you’ve got to win,” Ruff said. “We feel like when something like that happens, the league has to deal with it. The team on the ice needs to go out and win a game. We don’t need to lose anybody in the process. So, we are going to try to focus on getting two points.”
The Stars held an optional practice in Frisco Wednesday morning. The players taking part were Jhonas Enroth, John Klingberg, Jyrki Jokipakka, Jason Demers, Curtis McKenzie, Colton Sceviour, Brett Ritchie and Patrik Nemeth.
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.