The Dallas Stars have been without Patrick Sharp for almost three weeks now after the veteran forward experienced concussion-like symptoms. The problems arose after Sharp took a devastating hit from Brayden McNabb of the Los Angeles Kings on October 20th, and initially there was no timetable for his return. Sharp skated with the team today, and according to head coach Lindy Ruff (via Mark Stepneski) doesn’t sound too far away:
It’s a step in the right direction and some light at the end of the tunnel for him. He’s feeling better. Hopefully we can get him two or three practices and he can be ready possibly for Sunday.
Sharp, one of the most consistent goal scoring wingers in the league over the past decade had a successful first season with the Stars last year after being traded there last summer. He provided another 20-goal season and recorded 55 points mostly skating alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. His return to the lineup would help deepen a Stars forward group that is really struggling to score goals. With Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin, Jiri Hudler and Ales Hemsky all missing time for various injuries this season, Sharp would be a sight for sore eyes for Ruff and the Dallas coaching staff.
- Following three straight losses, the Stars will make some lineup changes for tonight. Justin Dowling and Jamie Oleksiak will both get back into the lineup, while Patrik Nemeth and Esa Lindell will visit the press box. Oleksiak is set to skate on the third pairing with Jordie Benn, while Dowling will center the fourth line between Gemel Smith and Adam Cracknell. Both newcomers have played just two games for the Stars this season.
- Kari Lehtonen will be in net tonight against the Calgary Flames for his third start in a row despite being pulled in his last game. The 32-year old netminder was relieved after giving up four goals on eleven shots against the Jets on Tuesday. Antti Niemi didn’t fare much better though, as he gave up four goals as well on twenty shots. The Stars are now 4-6-3 and off to a terrible start in many facets of the game.