Former Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas’ return to American Airlines Center for the playoffs Monday as a member of the Anaheim Ducks took a sickening turn.
Robidas suffered a fractured right leg early in the second period after Stars center Ryan Garbutt slid into Robidas. The defenseman had also suffered a fractured leg the last time he played at AAC as a Star — on Nov. 29 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The injury Monday occurred just above the previous fracture. Robidas was sent to an area hospital.
As he was helped off the ice, Stars fans honored the player who had logged 704 games for Dallas, chanting “Roby, Roby.”
It was not how Robidas’ return to town was supposed to unfold. It seemed appropriate that at least Robidas, 37, was on the ice when playoff hockey returned to Dallas for the first time since May 19, 2008, even if he was an opponent.
Robidas was traded to the Ducks on March 4 after recovering from the first fracture and was able to contribute for the Ducks.
Robidas’ family had remained in Dallas after the trade. The playoff series here had originally worked out well for Robidas, who Sunday attended the birthday party of his daughter, Lexi, who turns 9 on Tuesday.
And before Monday’s game Robidas said he appreciated the return of playoff hockey to his former town.
“The fans have been amazing,” he said, “and when you look at the way they supported the team in those tough times, it’s good to have playoff hockey back in Dallas after five years.”
Dillon out again: Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon has still not played since suffering a lower body injury April 11, but he skated early Monday, though not with his teammates. Coach Lindy Ruff said Dillon might join practice Tuesday.
“See if we can progress him along,” Ruff said, “but he hasn’t had a full practice now in over a week, just going to be hard-pressed to throw him into action if all of a sudden it comes around.”
Briefly: Stars forward Chris Mueller, 28, made his NHL playoff debut Monday. He replaced scratch Erik Cole. Mueller had skated in nine games with Dallas during the regular season… Ducks top-line winger Matt Beleskey was scratched again after missing Game 2 with a lower-body injury.
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