The Dallas Stars practiced for the first time on Thursday following their 2-1-0 road trip through Arizona, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
Among the players on the ice, was goaltender Jake Oettinger.
— Sam Nestler (@samnestler) November 10, 2022
After missing five games with a lower-body injury, Oettinger's return was somewhat expected, as Dallas sent Matt Murray back to the AHL on Wednesday. Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer says that there is a possibility that Oettinger will play tomorrow night against San Jose, but the first step was just getting him back on the ice with the team.
“Particularly with a goaltender, it’s just different than a player,” DeBoer said. “Because of their movement and how they load up different parts of their body, it’s something that we have to be careful with. But our staff, having gone through with [Anton] Khudobin and some of those guys, have real good experience with goaltender injuries. So I have full trust that everyone is going to make the right decision.”
“I’m feeling good,” Oettinger said. “I am excited to be back practicing with the team. It felt like it was a month that the guys were gone. Obviously, you never want to be away from the guys, so it’s just nice to be around the rink again.”
The injury occurred on Oct. 29 in the first period against the New York Rangers. After trying to push through and working through some pain management, Oettinger eventually pulled himself in the middle of the second period. It was the first time he has pulled himself from a game and the 23-year-old shared some insight on the injury and what led to his decision.
“I think it caught my skate blade,” he said.” I had my heel on the outside of the net and my skate blade got caught underneath the net and kind of torqued my ankle in a weird way.”
“I couldn’t go onto the post at all, couldn’t really put weight on my right leg,” he added. “It was basically like playing on one leg. Obviously, Wedgie [Scott Wedgewood] is a great goalie and he should be in there if I am in there with one leg. Wasn’t helping the team by having me in there and I am happy I ended up doing that.”
Injuries are not something that the young goaltender has had to deal with in his career. He has been a workhorse through college, in the AHL, and now into the NHL for Dallas.
But with adversity, come lessons. And for Oettinger, the whole thing was a learning process in knowing when to pull yourself from a game, understanding the rehabilitation process, and really appreciating what you have as a professional athlete.
“Yea, it sucks,” Oettinger joked. “My whole life is being a hockey player and being here with the guys, my best buddies. Obviously, when it’s taken away from you and you can’t do what you love, it makes you even more grateful. I’ll tell you, even though it was only a week, I will never take for granted being here everyday.”
Denis Gurianov: Gurianov was the only active roster player missing on the ice on Thursday.
Recently called up Matej Blumel skated in his place on the second line with Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment. Gurianov played the entire game on Tuesday in Winnipeg so there was no known injury.
“Upper body. So wasn’t able to skate today,” DeBoer said.
“I would call it day-to-day,” he added.
Stars Lines in Practice
- Jason Robertson-Roope Hintz-Joe Pavelski
- Mason Marchment-Tyler Seguin-Matej Blumel
- Jamie Benn-Wyatt Johnston-Ty Dellandrea
- Radek Faksa-Luke Glendening-Joel Kiviranta
- Miro Heiskanen-Colin Miller
- Ryan Suter-Nils Lundkvist
- Esa Lindell-Jani Hakanpaa
- Jake Oettinger
- Scott Wedgewood