Healthy scratch sends Hamhuis a ‘strong message’

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Last Thursday in Winnipeg, Dan Hamhuis took 27 shifts and finished second among all Dallas Stars with 22:36 of ice time in a 4-1 loss to the Jets.

The next game, the veteran defenseman was a healthy scratch.

It was the first time since Hamhuis was a rookie that he sat when he could’ve played, and it didn’t exactly work out great for the Stars, who lost 4-0 in Minnesota on Saturday.

But it did send a message to Hamhuis — you’d better play well, because the Stars have eight defensemen, and that means two have to sit each game.

“I went and talked to him, and those aren’t easy conversations. Understandably, you’ve got an upset player,” head coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “But it’s a strong message, and it’s a message that needs to be carried — it’s not good enough. I know it’s tough when you come from another team, but right now we’ve got to find less excuses and more reasons to win a game.”

Hamhuis was back in the lineup Tuesday in Columbus, where the Stars played well for most of the 60 minutes but ultimately couldn’t protect a 2-1 lead. The Blue Jackets tied it up with 16 seconds left in regulation, then won it 46 seconds into overtime.

Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth were the healthy scratches last night, while Hamhuis logged 19:46 and had four shots on goal. The OT loss dropped the Stars’ record to a disappointing 3-4-2.

Only two d-men have played all nine games for Dallas: John Klingberg and Johnny Oduya.

And per Cap Friendly, only two are waiver-exempt: Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell.

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Related: Why the Canucks didn’t re-sign Hamhuis