DeBoer: Stars centre Rope Hintz skating ‘extensively’; Jake Oettinger ‘under the weather’

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
24 days ago
The Dallas Stars are dealing with their own fair share of bumps and bruises as they enter the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Stars head coach Peter DeBoer held a press conference on Wednesday and spoke about the various ailments a select few of his players are facing, most notably top-line centre Roope Hintz.
Hintz, 27, has been sidelined since sustaining an upper-body injury in Game 4 of the Stars’ Round 2 series against the Colorado Avalanche. DeBoer said that Hintz “skated extensively” before the Stars practiced on Wednesday and is considered “day-to-day.”
Additionally, Stars defenceman Jani Hakanpaa missed another practice on Wednesday but, unlike Hintz, did not skate at all the day before Game 1. The big Finnish defenceman has been out with a lower-body injury since March 16 and doesn’t appear to be all that close to returning.
Finally, DeBoer noted that the Stars went without No. 1 goaltender Jake Oettinger for part of Wednesday’s practice. The head coach said Oettinger “felt a little under the weather” and stressed that he’s not concerned about his availability for the West Final.
The Stars have felt Hakanpaa’s absence to a significant extent in these playoffs, leaning heavily on five defenders in many games while barely playing the sixth man in their lineup (often Nils Lundkvist). Through two series, Miro Heiskanen, Chris Tanev, Thomas Harley, Esa Lindell, and Ryan Suter have been given the lion’s share of the duties on the blue line.
Hintz collected two goals and six points in 11 games before going down to injury midway through Round 2. While he undoubtedly plays a significant role for this Stars team, the emergence of Wyatt Johnston has lessened the impact of Hintz’s absence, especially with Logan Stankoven now also around to carry some of the mail up front.
The Stars defeated the Avalanche four games to two in the Western Conference semifinals after needing seven games to knock off the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 1. With each of the last two Stanley Cup champions now in their rearview mirrors, the Stars will return to action for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on home ice on Thursday night.

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