Wednesday practice update

The Dallas Stars practiced for about an hour today in Frisco in preparation for a two-game road trip out West, where they’ll take on the Los Angeles Kings Thursday and then the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

This will be the Stars’ first look at the Kings this season. The Kings have won seven of their last eight games.

“They’re the Stanley Cup champions and they’ve been playing well lately,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “They got off to a slow start, but they seemed to have picked it up. It’s always big games against them.”

The Stars brought in an extra forward for the trip. Francis Wathier, called up from Texas Wednesday morning, gives the Stars 13 active forwards on the roster.

“We’re going to play it by ear,” said Gulutzan. “He’s been a great soldier for this organization for a long time. We’re going into some heavy games, we needed to carry a forward on the road and he’s done everything he can down there. It’s a good opportunity for him.”

Wathier missed more than a month of the season with a concussion, but said he is feeling fine now. He’s played in nine NHL games over his career and his hoping to get into another one during this call up.

“It’s always nice to come back here,” Wathier said. “You work hard and you hope for the opportunity. When you are here you want to make more than just the best out of it.”

Derek Roy, who didn’t practice Tuesday, was on the ice Wednesday.

Ray Whitney, who is on injured reserve with a foot injury, practiced Wednesday. He will travel with the team on the road trip but is not expected to play.

The forward lines in practice looked the same as the last game. The defense pairings were mixed, and Gulutzan said he and his staff are still deciding how the defense will look for Thursday’s game.

“I wouldn’t read anything into the defense pairings today,” said Gulutzan. “We wanted to get certain things done in practice and we got them done. We’ve got to make decisions tomorrow as far as pairings.”

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