Injured Dallas Stars forwards Tyler Seguin and Mattias Janmark shed the red practice jerseys and rotated in on regular lines in Wednesday’s practice. It appears both are close to returning to the lineup, but we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out if they’ll suit up for the playoff opener against the Minnesota Wild.
“They’re both doing well,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They’re both available to play; it’ll just be a decision if they’re ready now.”
Seguin missed the final ten games of the regular season with a cut to his Achilles tendon. He started skating on his own last week and has gone through all three Dallas practices this week.
“I feel good. It feels better than the first day of practice,” Seguin said. “Every day you push it a little bit more, and you get more confidence in it.”
So, does he feel ready for Thursday’s playoff opener?
“I feel good,” Seguin said. “I want to do obviously what’s best for the team. I’d say it was a good day.”
Janmark missed the final three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. Ruff said there will be a few factors involved in deciding when injured players come back.
“First is health,” Ruff said. “The first thing you consider is can he make a difference in the game and has he had enough practice time? That’s the most important thing because it’s one thing to step out there and practice and get a couple full practices in. It’s another thing to step into a regular-season game, and it’s even a step further to step inside a game that has the playoff intensity that we’re going to see tomorrow night.”
While the Stars are getting healthy, the injury news was not good for the Wild heading into Thursday’s opener. Forwards Zach Parise (upper body) and Thomas Vanek (upper body) will not travel with the team to Dallas. Parise is out indefinitely, and Vanek is listed as week to week. Forward Erik Haula will travel with the team but is day to day with a lower-body injury. He is doubtful for Thursday.
“You can’t worry about what you don’t have,” Wild coach John Torchetti said. “You have to work with what you have, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
After a day off Sunday and three days of practices, the Stars are chomping at the bit to get the playoffs started.
“Yeah, we’re ready to go,” said captain Jamie Benn. “I think we were probably ready to go two days ago, but we got three good practices in and we’re all excited to get this thing going.”
The Stars played some of their better hockey this season down the stretch, posting a 9–2–0 record over the final eleven games to win the Central Division title and the top seed in the Western Conference. That has the confidence level high.
“I think we’re confident,” said defenseman Alex Goligoski. “It’s obviously a whole different ballgame now in the playoffs, so we’re looking forward to getting after it, and I think it’s a confident group in here. I think we’re ready for the long haul here.”
“The enjoyment is coming to the rink and knowing that we’re one of the teams that’s still playing, and you’ve got to wrap your arms around it. And really there’s going to be some ups and downs in the playoffs, but this is a lot better feeling than standing here last year at this time and explaining why we didn’t make it. So you do have to enjoy it while also asking to remember that this opportunity doesn’t come every year, there’s no guarantees and let’s take advantage of this one opportunity. Let’s not look any further than that, let’s take advantage of that and move forward.”
- Stars coach Lindy Ruff
Here’s how the Stars lined up in Wednesday’s practice.
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp/Tyler Seguin
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Ales Hemsky
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour/Mattias Janmark
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Stephen Johns
Kris Russell – Jason Demers
Patrik Nemeth – Jordie Benn/Jamie Oleksiak
Here was the Wild’s practice lineup Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Chris Porter – Zac Dalpe – David Jones
Ryan Carter – Jarret Stoll – Justin Fontaine
Extra forward: Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Jonas Brodin
Nate Prosser – Matt Dumba
Extra defenseman: Christian Folin
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.