Lindy Ruff took one for the team on Monday.
Following an ugly 6-2 loss in Colorado, Ruff deflected criticism of his young, inexperienced defense by saying he needed to do a better job of preparing them.
“Our defense were a step slow — they were a step slow on the coverage,” Ruff said postgame. “I’m going to work with them. They’ve got to play in big situations against big players and they’ve got to make those plays for us.
“It really falls on my shoulders to get them there. Because they’re the guys that are going to have to play.”
Without injured veterans Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas, Dallas leaned heavily on the likes of Jamie Oleksiak (20 years old) and Kevin Connauton (23), more so after another veteran — Aaron Rome — was lost to injury after playing just 2:36 in the opening period.
Things blew up in the second period, as Colorado scored four times in an 11-minute span to put the game out of reach. All four goals came at even strength with Oleksiak on for one and Connauton on for two.
In protecting his youngsters, Ruff re-iterated that it’s on the coach to get them ready for the speed and pace of the NHL.
“We got some young defense that are playing in some bigger places,” he explained. “I’ve got to get them in a better spot.”
Paul Stastny woke up Monday having gone nine games without a point.
He busted that slump in a big way, with a pair of goals and a four-point night to propel the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars.
In fact, it had been almost a full month since the last time he found the score sheet, but this latest funk was quickly left behind.
He scored twice in the second period – his first came as he re-directed a pass at the side of the Dallas net, his second was on a deflection in front of the net – then added a pair of helpers as the floodgates opened for the Avalanche.
For the Stars, defenseman Aaron Rome suffered a lower-body injury, playing only six shifts in the first period. Head coach Lindy Ruff said only that “he’s going to be out,” as per Mark Stepneski of the Dallas Stars’ website.
The Dallas Stars’ defense is hurting right now, as Trevor Daley joins Stephane Robidas as blueliners who will be out for a significant amount of time with lower-body injuries. Daley, 30, was placed on the IR stemming from this injury from Thursday:
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff gave the vague update that Daley will be out “weeks.”
“He was evaluated this morning and he is going to be out weeks,” Ruff said. “We’ll see where we end up with that.”
Both Daley and Robidas were injured due to unfortunate tumbles into the boards. Robidas, 36, suffered his issue on Nov. 28 and is out indefinitely:
Despite losing two important pieces of their defense corps, Stars GM Jim Nill said he’s staying the course. For now, at least.
“We’ll go with what we’ve got. We’ve been happy.” Nill said. “This is a good opportunity for the young guys. I thought last night [Jamie] Oleksiak and [Kevin] Connauton both came in and played well. We’ve got Jordie Benn (a healthy scratch Thursday) who is going to get back in the lineup. We’ve got Aaron Rome who is injured, but coming back. So, we’ve got that extra guy there. We’re going to be OK.”
“OK” might not be good enough to make up enough ground to grab a playoff spot, though.
On the bright side, it sounds like Ryan Garbutt (ankle/foot) might be ready to play on Saturday, though that isn’t likely to improve their outlook on defense.
Monday is shaping up to be a showcase day for the American Hockey League.
Just a short while after Ottawa recalled Mike Hoffman — the AHL’s second-leading scorer — Dallas followed suit by bringing up Travis Morin, the American League’s leading point-getter.
Morin, 29, has 29 points through 19 games this year with Texas — three points ahead of Hoffman, who has 21 points through 26 games for Binghamton. Morin’s offensive ability could provide some relief in the wake of concussion symptoms currently being suffered by Dallas’ leading scorer, Tyler Seguin, though the Stars cleared room on the active roster by putting a defenseman, veteran Aaron Rome, on injured reserve with a lower-body ailment.
Morin has appeared in three games for Dallas this season, posting two shots and a plus-1 rating. The former Washington draftee has always been a quality scorer at the AHL level but has failed to find his niche in the bigs, appearing in just six career NHL contests.
The Dallas Stars helped out their forward depth via waivers on Sunday.
The team claimed forward Dustin Jeffrey off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jeffrey, 25, was in his sixth season with the Penguins when he was placed on waivers on Saturday. This season he’s played 10 games and has just one assist while averaging 10:50 per game of ice time.
Jeffrey is more of a center, but with guys like Vernon Fiddler, Cody Eakin, Shawn Horcoff, and Travis Morin he’ll have competition to fit in there or wind up playing the wing. He was squeezed out in Pittsburgh due to the play of Joe Vitale on the fourth line.
To make room for Jeffrey, the Stars sent defenseman Aaron Rome to the Texas Stars of the AHL.