Stars on the limp
Eleven days after taking this Marc-Andre Bergeron slap shot off the facemask, Dallas Stars backup Mike Smith is on the injured reserve with a concussion — and joining the team's growing list of walking wounded.
Just in time for the all-star game, which takes place in Dallas early next week, the Stars have the fullest infirmary in the league:
- Mike Modano has been out since Dec. 4 with a hip injury and isn't expected to return until February
- Brendan Morrow returned from one injury only to have two tendons in his wrist severed in a Dec. 26 game when a Chicago player stepped on his arm
- Sergei Zubov is now out with a minor injury to his elbow
- Matthew Barnaby suffered a concussion last week
- Darryl Sydor is day-to-day with an 'upper-body injury'
- Steve Ott fractured his ankle back in October
- Eric Lindros recently returned from a rib injury
- And, of course, Smith is out now with a concussion, who knows for how long
- UPDATE Jeff Halpern left today's game during the warm-up with an undisclosed injury
- UPDATE Philippe Boucher left the game with an injury. Fairly soon, half the Iowa Stars will be suited up in the NHL
Since losing Modano, Dallas is 8-9-1. And since Morrow had his arm diced up, they are 3-5-1, having been outscored 33-24.
Not a high-scoring team even with a full roster, goals have been hard to come by. The likes of Trevor Daley, Niklas Hagman and Stephane Robidas are leading the team in ice time in recent games, with Loui Eriksson, Antti Miettinen and Jeff Halpern picking up power-play minutes. The team's top line at even strength has been Stu Barnes with Mathias Tjarnqvist and Patrik Stefan, with the top defence pairing consisting of Robidas and Jaroslav Modry.
It's all rather ugly.
If one team's going to fall out of that top tier in the conference in the next month or so, look for it to be the Stars. There's just not the depth there to compensate for losing their few offensive threats.