Among the players on the ice for Dallas Stars practice on Tuesday was Denis Gurianov.
But for the first time in a couple of weeks, the forward was dressed in a gray jersey rather than a black one (skating as a defenseman), signifying that he is likely ready to return to the lineup Wednesday against Chicago.
“He should be in tomorrow,” Stars Coach Pete DeBoer said. “If he wakes up tomorrow, and it feels as good as it looked today.”
“Good to go,” Gurianov said.
Gurianov has not played since Nov. 8, when he sustained an upper-body injury in a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Although the Stars did not go through any line rushes, Gurianov looked to be matched up on the third line with Wyatt Johnston and Ty Dellandrea. He also received plenty of time on the second power-play unit and DeBoer discussed what he wanted to see from him in that part of the game.
“Everytime he gets in, it’s an opportunity to grab some responsibility and run with it,” DeBoer said. “So that’s on him to do that.”
“He obviously can shoot the puck. So we know that,” DeBoer added. “You’ve got to use that tool when it presents itself, that’s got to be in the forefront of his mind. But at the same time, you have responsibilities to the other four guys on the unit to win battles, make plays, enter with possession. There’s a million things before you ever get the shot off that contribute to actually shooting it in the net.”
Roster moves: The Stars announced on Tuesday that they sent forward Matej Blumel back down to the AHL. Blumel had one goal and a minus-2 rating in six games across three separate call-ups this season.
The move came as a bit of a surprise, as even with Gurianov healthy, it leaves Dallas with only 12 forwards.
With all of the penalties, Blumel’s ice time has been pretty limited. He only played 6:35 and 4:28 in the last two games, respectively.
The Texas Stars are embarking on a 13-day road trip, so perhaps they wanted Blumel to be on that trip and play some heavy minutes at that level.
DeBoer did mention that he spoke to Jim Nill and is expecting a different forward to be called up before tomorrow.
Jason Robertson: Against the Avs on Monday, Jason Robertson’s two goals gave Dallas a chance to win the game. They also extended his point streak to 12 games, tying Patrick Sharp for the second-longest in Dallas Stars history.
Robertson currently sits third in league scoring with 29 points. He only trails the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid (35 pts) and Leon Draisaitl (31 points) in Edmonton.
Something that was noticeable again on Monday was how quietly Robertson does his damage. He is not a forward that constantly holds onto the puck, and he is not shockingly noticeable on any given play, but he finds himself in the right spot on a consistent basis and knows how to make plays and put the puck in the net.
“I think Robo is a guy that honestly is hard to defend because he scores a bunch of different ways,” DeBoer said. “He can score off the rush, he scores lurking around the quiet areas of the ice waiting for a puck to come to him, and it always seems to come to him. Tougher to defend a guy like that that isn’t predictable.”
“It’s elite hockey sense and timing,” DeBoer added. “It’s not just knowing where the pucks going to go, but it’s also timing yourself to get there at the right time. You get there too early, you get checked. You’ve got to have that elite timing.”
Stars Practice Lines
- Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
- Mason Marchment – Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin
- Ty Dellandrea – Wyatt Johnston – Denis Gurianov
- Joel Kiviranta – Radek Faksa – **
** Luke Glendening took a maintenance day
- Miro Heiskanen – Colin Miller
- Ryan Suter – Nils Lundkvist
- Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
- Joel Hanley
- Jake Oettinger
- Scott Wedgewood