Lots to read into practice today so a fun day for speculation.

First the news. Ryan Garbutt will travel to New York for a 10 a.m. CDT meeting Wednesday with the Department of Player Safety to discuss his hit on Dustin Penner in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The fact Garbutt is being called in person almost guarantees a suspension.

Garbutt will travel with Stars GM Jim Nill for the meeting. Both Garbutt and Nill declined comment on the matter until they speak to the Department of Player Safety.

Now for the speculation. Stars coach Lindy Ruff saw the return of defenseman Aaron Rome (hip) from a three-game conditioning stint in the AHL and put his pairs together in an interesting way at practice.

He had this grouping:

Brenden Dillon-Stephane Robidas

Trevor Daley-Jordie Benn

Kevin Connauton-Sergei Gonchar

Aaron Rome-Alex Goligoski



Now if you’ve been following along Gonchar and Goligoski have not been playing well. If you’re also following along you know the Stars typically use three pairs of defensemen. So does that mean one of those two bottom pairs will be scratched Thursday against Calgary?

It’s a possibility.

But Ruff said it’s also possible that he could use seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Because the Stars have eight defensemen and because Garbutt would still have to be on the 23-man roster Dallas would be left with only 12 forwards. That means Ruff can either play Lane MacDermid or play an extra defenseman.

“It’s an opportunity to try a couple things” Ruff said of a possible run without Garbutt in the lineup. “Seven (defensemen) would give me an opportunity to ease somebody into some shifts. I’ve done that in the past a few times and if you don’t have a heavy schedule it’s something you can easily go with. It’s an opportunity to look at that and it’s something we’ve talked about.”

As for the forward group Erik Cole was given a day off for maintenance so Garbutt skated with the regular group. That forced some juggling of the lines that may or may not mean anything. With the next game not until Thursday Ruff had some time to experiment.

The big news was he moved 18-year-old rookie Valeri Nichushkin to the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Many fans have been calling for that just to see if the Stars can take advantage of the skill that helped make Nichushkin the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft. But the Seguin line has been clicking with Rich Peverley and has been the team’s only scoring line at times so making a move would be a bit of risk for Ruff but it might also help spread scoring and help Nichushkin’s game. Here were the lines Ruff ran out Tuesday:



Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Valeri Nichushkin

Ray Whitney-Cody Eakin-Alex Chiasson

Antoine Roussel-Shawn Horcoff-Rich Peverley

Lane MacDermid-Vern Fiddler-Ryan Garbutt