The Texas Stars are going to face more adversity before tonight’s game against the Utica Comets.
Jussi Rynnas and Curtis McKenzie were both called up to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, both players that could have been keys against Utica. Rynnas shut out the Comets earlier this season, while McKenzie was Texas’ best player last week in a 4-3 win against the Iowa Wild.
Texas will also be without Kevin Henderson for some considerable time.
“Hendo has an upper-body injury that is hockey, non-hockey related,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “He’s probably going to be two to three weeks from playing right now. He’s got a hand infection that just came out of no where, so he had to get that looked after. He will definitely be out two to three weeks.”
While Henderson, McKenzie, and Rynnas are out, Taylor Peters and Henri Kiviaho will join the team in time for tonight’s game. Peters will likely stick around for the extent of Henderson’s injury, while Kivaho will likely return to the Idaho Steelheads if Anders Lindback clears waivers by 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Texas could be getting Brett Ritchie back in the lineup tonight. The forward hasn’t played since Nov. 14 and was on the ice this morning.
“He will take pre-game warmup then we’ll go from there,” Laxdal said. “He’s skated Monday, Tuesday and he was day-to-day. From what we see right now, he will hopefully be in the lineup. But that will be a game-time decision.”
Laxdal said Mike Dalhuisen will also take the warm-up this evening and may play forward if Ritchie can’t go. Laxdal said this morning that Scott Valentine has solidified himself as the fifth defenseman and he’s liked his chemistry with William Wrenn.
Branden Troock also didn’t skate this morning and is out this evening.
Tonight’s potential lineup, with some guess work:
Derek Hulak-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Brett Ritchie-Justin Dowling-Scott Glennie
Matej Stransky-Radek Faksa-Greg Rallo
Gemel Smith-Taylor Peters-Jesse Root
Maxime Fortunus-Cameron Gaunce
Derek Meech-Julius Honka
William Wrenn-Scott Valentine