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Thursday, November 3, 2011
After time off, Stars ready to get back at it

By Mark Stepneski

FRISCO -- After two days off the ice and three days of practice, the Dallas Stars get back it Friday when the take on the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center.

While the five days between games has its advantages, such as giving some banged up players an opportunity to heal, there can be drawbacks to a long layoff as well, like coming out of the gate a little sluggish. The Stars, who haven’t played since defeating New Jersey 3-1 on Saturday, believe they have addressed that this week.

“I talked to the guys about that and I said the only way we can get prepared to play tomorrow is to practice hard today and make sure we are at a high compete level against one another,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said after Thursday’s practice. “We’ve got to practice the way we play, so they’re ready for tomorrow.”

That’s the way the Stars have practiced this season, and it been especially important this week with the extra time between games.

“That’s one of the things that Gully is trying to implement. You practice hard and you play hard. You practice how you play,” said defenseman Stephane Robidas.

After some special teams work to start Thursday’s practice, the Stars then went to work on some competitive drills that simulated different game situations.

“That’s how you can prepare for a big game by practicing things like that,” said Robidas. “That’s what we’ve been doing this week and there is no reason for us not to be ready.”

And another reason to be ready is even though is a look at the standings. Even though the Stars have gotten off to a good start at 8-3-0, it’s early, things are tight in the Western Conference and Colorado is another team could be battling for position for the next several months.

“We’re facing a pretty good team and you look at the standings, even though we’ve had a good start, we’re not alone at the top. We’re not even at the top. We can’t be complacent and happy with where we are,” Robidas said. “We’re happy with our start, but it’s eleven games and eleven games doesn’t make a season. We’ve got to get better and keep moving forward. Teams are going to keep progressing and we’ve got to do the same.”

Ott out Friday

Stars forward Steve Ott, who hasn’t practiced this week, is out for Friday’s game against Colorado and likely will miss Sunday’s game at Carolina as well. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is hopeful Ott, who has a hip pointer, will be ready to return for Tuesday’s game at Washington.

“If this were the playoffs he could battle through it, but there is no point right now,” Gulutzan said. “We can maximize these rest days and maybe lose only two-man games then we’ll take it.”