Injury Updates, Line Shuffling And More On The Eve Of Opening Night

A day before the season opener against the New York Rangers, that creates a little uncertainty, but the Stars seemed unfazed.

"Rads is feeling a little under the weather today, so we just kept him off as a precaution," said Stars head coach Rick Bowness. "It's not COVID related. We just didn't want him to be around the team."

So, will he be ready for Thursday?

"We're hoping," Bowness said.

The Stars are going to be walking a tightwire for much of this season. They're tight against the cap, so dealing with injuries could be difficult. The team on Wednesday placed Comeau on IR retroactive to Oct. 7. That means if they need to call up an extra forward Thursday, they can. It also means that if Comeau is better and feels he can play in one of the next three games, he can come off IR.

Bowness said Wednesday they don't expect to see Robertson on the road trip but are more optimistic about Comeau. Again, they'll have to read and react on a day-to-day basis.

Video: 'We kept [Radulov] off as a precaution'

Joel Kiviranta played right wing in Radulov's place next to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on Wednesday. Radulov would certainly jump up there if he's ready to go. Jacob Peterson could make his NHL debut in Robertson's place on a line with Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. Radek Faksa was centering a line with Michael Raffl and Denis Gurianov on the wings. And Hanley was filling a forward spot while playing beside Luke Glendening and Tanner Kero.

The guess is Kiviranta would slide to the Glendening line if Radulov is healthy and Hanley would be scratched, but the players know they must be open to anything.

"We've had lots of injuries the last few years, so I think we're used to it," said Faksa, who has been shifting between left wing and center during the preseason. "It's bad to say, but we've always had some injury in the past. There were always some changes, so we're used to it."

Mix in the fact the team is excited to start the regular season, and that seems to balance everything out. It doesn't matter if they have a full complement of players or not, they're ready to go. After playing partial seasons in each of the past two years, getting to play 82 games is an adrenaline rush.

"Everyone is excited," said Seguin, who played only three games last season because of a hip injury. "It felt like a long camp because we haven't really had any in the last while. But everyone is ready and pumped up."

Video: 'Everyone is ready and pumped up'

Seguin was asked if there's a special push because several players are in contract years, and he said that's not really a topic of conversation.

"I think the focus right now is the first game and taking it day by day," he said. "There's such a roller coaster that's about to happen, and I'm so excited for it. We know the situation with our team, where we've got quite the balance of older guys and younger guys, kind of the perfect mix. We know there are some core pieces that are coming out of deals right now, and that's not lost on us. We know we've got a great team on paper, but paper doesn't mean anything."

The Stars went to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2019-20 season then missed the playoffs last year. Injuries and scheduling difficulties were a huge reason, but the fact is this team wants to prove what it can do.

"We know what's at stake," Benn said matter-of-factly.

And so, as the team starts out on a four-game road trip, they're optimistic and looking at the good things. Yes, some players might be out of the lineup, but they're about to walk into Madison Square Garden on Thursday and start the 2021-22 campaign before making trips to Boston, Ottawa and Pittsburgh.

"That's why we love the road, we get together, have some dinner, hang out, play some cards, get to know each other a little better," Benn said. "We're looking forward to talking hockey again and getting ready for the big game."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika  is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter 

@MikeHeika , and listen to his 

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Source : https://www.nhl.com/stars/news/dallas-stars-injury-updates-line-shuffling-and-more-on-the-eve-of-opening-night/c-326798610

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