The Dallas Stars got some good news and some bad news on the injury front as they start a three game road trip today in Nashville, writes Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Center Jason Spezza, who has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury, accompanied the team on the trip and head coach Lindy Ruff thinks he’s close to returning to the lineup although he won’t play against the Preds. Although Spezza is having a down year offensively, he’s still tied for fourth in team scoring with 31 points in 45 games.
The news isn’t so good for blueliner Johnny Oduya. He has sat out ten straight contests with an ankle injury and isn’t with the team on the trip. The pending UFA is likely to garner some interest at the trade deadline but it would be much easier for Dallas to move him if he’s back in the lineup for a few games by then.
Right winger Ales Hemsky is also on the trip. While he’s not expected to play, he is progressing well from hip surgery back in October and Ruff expects him to be ready before the end of the season.
Other injury news from around the league:
- Lightning right winger Ryan Callahan is slated to be re-evaluated during their upcoming bye week, reports Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. He has missed the last four weeks while rehabbing his hip and doesn’t appear to be close to returning. It’s possible that if the evaluation comes up poorly that the team could opt to shut the 31 year old down for the rest of the season. Callahan has been restricted to just 18 games this season where he has two goals and two assists.
- Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse appears to be ahead of schedule in his rehab from ankle surgery back in December, notes Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun. Nurse has been skating on his own for the last two weeks and is ready to participate in full practices. The initial time frame for his return was 12 weeks; it has only been eight and considering he’s set to skate with the team, he should be able to play sometime within the next month. That should be a nice boost for Edmonton’s back end right around the deadline.
- While it was expected that Penguins center Evgeni Malkin would return to the lineup yesterday against the Coyotes, he was held out of the lineup for the eighth straight game with what is believed to be a lower body injury. Head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters, including Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he’s still close to returning but that the doctors and Malkin agreed for him to sit for at least one more game. Malkin remains eighth in league scoring despite not suiting up since January 24th.
- Nashville has placed left winger Cody McLeod on injured reserve, reports Adam Vingan of The Tennessean (Twitter link). The nature of the injury is not yet known. The 32 year old has played in 13 games with the Predators since being acquired from Colorado, scoring three goals while adding an assist. Vingan also notes that left winger Harry Zolnierczyk has been activated off IR after missing the last three games with an upper body issue.