Things are looking up on the injury front.
Sergei Zubov skated before practice on Thursday, then today he skated in full gear. I just can’t tell you how excited I am at the prospect of Zubie coming back to the ice.
According to Heika, Zubie’s just as excited about it as I am. He skated in sweats before practice again today, but just couldn’t stand it anymore and put on his whole kit and went through the entire practice. He said he felt good, and even though he’s fudged on that before, I’m going to believe him.
Philippe Boucher practiced with the team, too, and it appears it wasn’t the first time. He is shooting pucks, but not taking any hits yet. I’m even more excited at the prospect of Bouche coming back. I feel so guilty about jinxing him.
We really need Zubie and Bouche back on the ice. I think the kids have done more than was expected of them, covering for the absence of the two top defensemen on the team, but I think the season might be catching up with them a little bit. It will be good to get the big guys out there to calm everybody down (mainly me).
After tomorrow’s game against the Kings, the Stars have four days off before their next game, against the Sharks. I hope, like Zubie does, that it will give them time to finish up their conditioning and rehab and join the team in that game.
Steve Ott will be back from his bogus suspension for tomorrow’s game. It’s amazing how important he’s become to the team this season. Tippett is a genius if he knew this is what we’d get from Otter when he healthy-scratched him early in the season.
And he hasn’t just gotten peskier, he’s gotten good. He’s a huge part of the penalty kill, and one of the better defensive forwards (especially since Halpern’s gone now), not to mention his improvement in the faceoff circle.
As part of my effort to stay positive, I’m going to believe that once they’re all up and running, they can beat anybody.