Kicking off their important and long seven-game homestand tonight, the Dallas Stars are returning in good spirits. They have to be after going 3-0-1 on their roadtrip through their Pacific division foes. It flipped things back around for the Stars and put them right back in the middle of the playoff race, with the Stars sitting in the 5th seed going into to tonight’s game.
Now the Stars have even more to be excited and pumped up about. After missing 10 games with “concussion-like symptoms” (Can we just call it a concussion already?), the team’s top player is set to come back tonight. Brad Richards skated again this morning with the team, and is expected to be back in the line-up tonight. Coach Crawford said he is “scheduled” to play tonight and they are excited about that. He pointed out the obvious too: the team has been playing great recently and is on a roll, but when you can add a player as talented as him back into the line-up, then it is always a great thing. “The last ten days I’ve been getting healthier and I feel good,” Richards said. “Being on the ice by yourself for two weeks, enough is enough. It’s fun being out there with the guys. I feel like I am back being part of the group again.”So after he and the team have been cautious and patient with this injury, it sounds like he is ready to get back out there. It might take a game or two to get back into the full swing of things, but having Brad back only makes this team better.
As for defenseman Nicklas Grossman, he will miss the game tonight. It will mark the 11th game that Grossman has been on the shelf with this hip injury but he and Coach Crawford seem to think that he is getting close. More on that as things come out, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss one or two more games after tonight and then be back in the lineup. And while he is one of the team’s better defenders, the defense has been doing fine recently without him since the addition of Goligoski. So when he does make it back, it will just give the team better overall depth and physical play.
The Stars drop the puck against the Calgary Flames in the first game of their seven game homestand at the AAC tonight. Puck drops at 8PM CST on FSSW+.