Morning skate: Texas Stars shuffling defense before rematch with Checkers

After a strong defensive performance Friday, the Stars are going to have to shuffle the deck before tonight’s rematch with the Charlotte Checkers.

Scott Valentine is out and in a walking boot. He blocked a shot late in the game Friday and had to be helped off the ice. He still has to get an X-ray on the foot according to Stars coach Derek Laxdal.

With Valentine out Connor Hardowa and William Wrenn will both be in the lineup tonight. That means another defensemen from last night — Derek Meech, Cameron Gaunce, Jamie Oleksiak, Maxime Fortunus, or Julius Honka — will also be out tonight.

Why?

“I can’t tell you, you’ll have to wait,” Laxdal said. “But both players will be in tonight.”

It could be a sign that Jamie Oleksiak is on his way back to Dallas, however there was no official word or indication from the team. Speaking with Laxdal and Olesksiak yesterday, I got the feeling it would be a short AHL assignment for the former first-round pick.

Offensively there won’t be too much change, but it’s hard to project lines after an optional morning skate that only four forwards (Greg Rallo, Kevin Henderson, Gemel Smith, and Taylor Stefishen), two defenseman (Hardowa and Wrenn) and goalie Jack Campbell participated in.

While Henderson took part in the morning skate in a white jersey, not a red no-contact sweater, Laxdal said he’s still out tonight.

“With that staph infection in his hand we have to make sure that it’s healed up right,” Laxdal said. “His range of motion is almost 100 percent. But we’ve got bodies that we can play so we’re going to go with a healthy guy. With us not playing until next Friday in Utica, we’ll give him the extra recovery time.”

Like Laxdal said last night, Anders Lindback will get the start in goal. His fifth straight since being sent down by Dallas.

Tonight’s projected lineup (with some guess work):

Ritchie-Dowling-Glennie
Rallo-Faksa-Ranford
Hulak-Root-Stransky
Stefishen-Peters-Troock

Gaunce-Fortunus
Meech-Honka
Wrenn-Hardowa

Lindback

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