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Monday, February 8, 2010
Ott out after emergency appendectomy

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars activated center Mike Ribeiro from injured reserve, but the team won't have winger Steve Ott or defenseman Mark Fistric during a crucial three-game road trip, which starts in Chicago on Tuesday.

Ott had an emergency appendectomy early Monday morning and will not return until after the two-week Olympic break. Ott felt pain, called the trainers at 4 a.m. and it was determined that he needed surgery.

"It's unfortunate for Steve, first and foremost, and also for the club," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "He's been playing really well and does so much for us."

Ott, the club's chief agitator, has 23 points (11 of them goals) in 52 games.

Fistric's knee injury, which he termed nagging, hasn't improved and he'll undergo arthroscopic surgery this week. Crawford said he was confident Fistric, who has averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time and has eight points, would be ready to go after the break.

The Stars do get some good news on the injury front as Ribeiro was activated off injured reserve and is expected to play Tuesday. Ribeiro hasn't played since Jan. 6, when he was hit in a throat by a stick. But he has practiced more than a week and wants to get some games in before the league takes its two-week hiatus.

"I need to play to know where I'm at and see how I am physically," Ribeiro said. "I'm sure I'm not going to play 20 minutes. It's a hard team and a hard building to play in coming back after not playing for this long. It won't be easy. I need to play simple hockey and get back into and keep my shifts short."

Crawford said Jere Lehtinen would likely take Ott's place on a line with Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn. It also means more playing time for Krys Barch, Fabian Brunnstrom and Toby Petersen. On defense, Crawford was pleased with Jeff Woywitka's play in Saturday's 4-0 win over Minnesota. He will likely stay paired with Trevor Daley during Fistric's absence. Francis Wathier and Ray Sawada were called up the last few days from the AHL to give the club some more depth.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.