Thursday, January 14, 2010
Veteran Modano moves to fourth line
By Richard Durrett
The Dallas Stars have moved Jamie Benn to center the second line with James Neal and Jere Lehtinen.
Veteran Mike Modano, as he's done at times this season, will play on the fourth line with Brian Sutherby and Toby Petersen.
"We feel he's the best player available for us at that position right now," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We are at our best with four solid lines."
Crawford said he wants to keep Modano fresh so he can continue to help the power play and take key faceoffs, among other things.
Benn, 20, has never played center in the NHL. He's been a left winger during his career and is a player who has impressed the Stars with his scoring touch and skating. In Crawford's system, the center has the responsibility of getting back defensively, more so than in other schemes. That's where Benn's speed may help. The question is whether it will affect his scoring on the offensive end during long shifts.
The throat injury to Mike Ribeiro has Crawford moving some things around in an effort to find more scoring. The Stars were shut out in Columbus on Sunday and scored three goals -- but two of them late -- in a 6-3 loss Tuesday to Philadelphia.