A few nights ago, the Stars had a win against the Blue Jackets in a shootout. The game was kept close by goaltenders Marty Turco and Steve Mason, while James Neal was scored the shootout winner.
However, perhaps one of the most important events of the game could turn out to hurt the Stars.
Brad Richards took a heavy hit from behind in the second period, and never returned the game. Now it has been announced that Richards will be out for 6-8 weeks with a distal radius fracture in his wrist. That’s probably the most accurate injury report an NHL team’s given out in a while.
However, it’s the length of recovery time that could affect the Stars the most. Recently, Richards had been the second leading scorer on the Stars, and his absence could potentially mess up the lines.
Previous to the injury to Richards, they were:
Now, post injury, there’ll be a huge gap in the second line.
Ott/Brunnstrom-Ribeiro-Lehtinen should stay together, although it’s been more successful with Ott playing bodyguard then with Brunnstrom as another scorer.
Eriksson and Lundqvist could potentially be centered by Petersen, who has a lot of talent, but doesn’t get much ice time to show it. However, he has a lot of chemistry with the team as a whole and his role can be versatile.
Another option is to move Lundqvist to the fourth line, and play Petersen between Eriksson and Brunnstrom. This would leave the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line together, reunite a solid checking line of Lundqvist-Sutherby-Barch, and allow the Neal-Modano-Connor/Parrish line to remain unchanged.
However, the Stars mainly want Richards back. It will once again be a struggle to make the playoffs for Dallas, as they are now without top players Richards, Brenden Morrow, and Sergei Zubov. They won’t be happy with a playoff-less season after all the work they’ve done to return to that level.
On another note, please, please, Hull, or Jackson, or whoever decided to play Brent Krahn, go back on your decision and return to Tobias Stephan as the backup. There’s nothing wrong with Krahn, but Stephan fits better with the team. Trust me on this one.