Stars left winger Patrick Sharp was participating in full practices prior to the holiday break, reports Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. He had a chance to play in their last game on Friday but head coach Lindy Ruff said that the team does not want to rush him back:
“Right now, it’s not in the conversation. With Patrick, we really want to be sure this time around. I’ve liked the way he’s skating in practice, I like where he is when it comes to energy. And, really, his body mannerism now is so much better, which I think those are all good signs. He’ll know when he’s ready. He’ll tell us when he thinks he’s ready.”
Sharp has played just 11 games this year because of multiple concussions, picking up just a goal and an assist. Last season, he was fifth in team scoring with 55 points (20-35-55) in 76 games and his return would go a long way towards lengthening out their lineup. Even if Sharp isn’t ready to go when Dallas plays tomorrow in Arizona, it sounds like he is close to returning.
Other injury notes from around the league:
- The Red Wings hope to have defenseman Brendan Smith in the lineup tomorrow night, writes MLive’s Ansar Khan. Smith has been out for the last month with a sprained MCL and has four points in 20 games this season while logging just over 18 minutes per night in ice time. The good news stops there for Detroit though as fellow blueliner Mike Green as well as forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are expected to miss at least another week.
- Pittsburgh defensemen Kris Letang (lower body) and Trevor Daley (upper body) as well as right winger Tom Kuhnhackl (lower body) all remain week-to-week and aren’t expected to be available this week, notes Bill West of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. After playing three games this week, the Penguins will be off until January 8th so the team could ere on the side of caution and hold them back to make sure they’re fully ready to return after their long layoff.
- Rangers rookie left winger Pavel Buchnevich (back) skated with the team in a non-contact jersey before their last game in advance of the holiday break, notes Newsday’s Steve Zipay. While he’s still not ready to return, the fact he is back on the ice is a positive after being shut down in early December when he suffered a setback in his recovery. Buchnevich has four goals and four assists in ten games this year and has been out of the lineup since mid-November.