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Monday, January 30, 2012
Stars get back to work

By Mark Stepneski

FRISCO -- The Dallas Stars returned from the All-Star break Monday and practiced for about an hour-and-a-half in Frisco.

All 23 players - 13 forwards, 8 defenseman and 2 goaltenders - were on the ice.

"We're healthy and we are ready for this February push," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.

Forward Jamie Benn, who missed time prior to the break due to an appendectomy, played in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, and was back in time for Monday's practice.

"I'm ready to go," Benn said. "It was good to come back and get a practice in. I'll get another tomorrow and I'm looking to have a strong second half here."

Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who missed the last game before the break with a neck/shoulder issue, said he is good to go.

"It was just some maintenance stuff that needed to be done," Morrow said. "We took care of it and the body feels pretty good right now."

Gulutzan said Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, who returned for the final game before break from a MCL injury, are at about 95-96 percent at this point. Stephane Robidas, who has been dealing with a foot injury, is doing a lot better.

"We've got no excuses moving forward," Gulutzan said. "We've got work to get what we want, but we've got no excuses."

Gulutzan said no decision has been made on how they'll handle the goaltenders in the back-to-back games against Anaheim (Wednesday) and San Jose (Thursday), but that Lehtonen will definitely get the start Wednesday against the Ducks.

"We've got another day of practice for Kari tomorrow and we'll see how he feels. He'll get the start in Anaheim for sure, and we'll go from there," said Gulutzan. "Bacher (Richard Bachman) has only had one period in San Jose, but he played well and was clean and tidy. It will depend on how Kari feels going into it."

Here was the practice lineup for Monday.

Ott-Benn-Ryder
Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson
Nystrom-Fiddler-Dvorak
Petersen/Dowell-Wandell-Burish

Souray-Robidas
Grossman-Daley
Goligoski-Larsen
Fistric-Pardy

Lehtonen
Bachman