Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Stars Winning Despite Further Injuries

Well, finally I get a chance to sit down and get a few thoughts in about the Stars and other hockey matters. So sorry for the delay in this post - I expected to have it up yesterday.

The Stars finished December strongly, and have looked great as of late. They went 8-4-1 in December and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. While that might not turn heads around the league yet, it certainly is an improvement over October and November. The top performers continue to be the top performers - great, reliable play from Mike Modano, Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards has helped on a regular basis, and strong contributions from young players James Neal & Loui Erikkson has helped. The Stars will play Detroit twice in the next week, so they are hoping their strong play of late can carry on into those matches, at least.

Speaking of Neal, the youngster has pulled into a tie for the league lead in goals by rookies this season. We'll almost certainly see Neal at the end of this month in Montreal for the "Young Stars Game" on January 24th, the night before the All Star Game. I knew Neal had a bright future with the club, just from seeing him skate at the last couple of camps, but it was great to see him seize the opportunity he got this season and run with it.

The Stars have been successful recently, even though they continue to be a banged-up bunch. Landon Wilson is the latest addition to the scratch list. Wilson sustained a rib injury in the game against Edmonton on Saturday, and is currently listed as day-to-day. The Stars hope to get more information about his injury tomorrow. Fabian Brunnstrom has a high-ankle sprain, and will be out for at least the next couple of games. The team hopes he'll be ready in about 7-10 days, but because that kind of injury can be hard to diagnose and even harder to mend, it could be longer. There is good news in that Joel Lundqvist is skating again, and may be back as early as Thursday against the Red Wings. This should limit any call-ups the Stars may need to make this week.

As banged up as they've been this season, and as much as they've struggled, do you think there will be pressure for the Stars to make a deal before the trade deadline this season? Or will the problems assimilating Sean Avery into the group this year still be too strong in everyone's mind for management to make a trade?

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