UPDATED --- Ouch! Just as everyone was healthly and really clicking, we have just found out that Brad Richards broke his wrist last night and will miss 6 - 8 weeks. He will most certainly be missed . . . but maybe not as much as it would appear. I'll grant you that he is highly skilled and a necessary piece of the puzzle, but he is not centering the top line and lately Modano-Brunnstrom-Neal have been doing more than Richards and Eriksson. He plays in every situation and that will be missed, especially as point on the power play. But thankfully this team is stacked at center. Modano can fill that spot on the point, as well as play in every situation. This injury may seem worse than it actually is. The Stars are still capable with the guys they have to keep rumbling towards the playoffs. All that being said, I could see Hull and Jackson moving sooner than they may have otherwise.
The West is an absolute clusterpuck! Those of you who know of the greatness that was Clint Eastwood as Gunny in Heartbreak Ridge will appreciate that line! I don't ever remember a time when all 15 teams were literally in playoff contention this late in the season. The Blues pulled off a 2-1 win over the NY Rangers tonight. The Ducks fell out of a playoff spot simply by sitting on their couches. And though the Avs are technically in 15th, Stastny is expected back any day now and they are bound to make a run. At least in the Western Conference, this may turn out to be the best 2 months of playoff-chasing hockey we've ever seen!
The Stars did slow down a bit but they are playing well at 5-3 so far this month and 9-3 in their last 12. The 3 losses include a lackadaisical effort against the Avs (losing by a goal), another 1-0 loss to the Coyotes (hope we don't face them in the playoffs!), and a complete no-show against the Blackhawks (had to take a night off at some point). Marty got a small break during the blowout in Chicago, but he has been outstanding of late. Most certainly back to the all-star quality net-minding we are use to around here.
Unfortunately, it looks like Brad Richards may have a broken wrist, and noone has any clue why Steve Ott was out tonight. Whatever the case, Dallas cannot afford to be without either of them for very long. More importantly, the co-GM's need to ramp up their search for some help. Nothing to break up the chemistry the Stars have right now, but a couple of solid, contributing additions would be nice. Mark Fistric was finally back in the lineup after a lengthy stint in the minors and an injury. He played very well tonight ... a classic 1-on-1 battle with Rick Nash. For the record, Nash was held pointless.
The Stars have a couple of days off before 6 in a row at home. Those games include some major, could-be, statement games ... Oilers, one more shot at the Hawks, Sharks, Blues, Ducks, and Penguins. 5 of 6 against division and/or conference foes, which means points we must have and more importantly, points we must not give away.
26 out of 37 games left (8-3-0)
+16 points = 63
Total points given away = 7
Currently 5th seed (7 points out of 4th and 20 out of 1st)
Max of 2 games in hand
Trade Deadline Activity:
Sean Avery assigned to the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. Will likely be picked up by the NY Rangers when he is recalled.