Toby Petersen was a popular guy at the Dallas Stars practice facility in Frisco Saturday morning. A lot of the team’s staff and media members were welcoming back Petersen, who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the AHL.
“I am excited to be back,” said Petersen.
There was also a reunion with a former teammate from his playing days in Pittsburgh, a guy named Jaromir Jagr.
“We had a brief chat about the old days,” Petersen said. “It was very brief, but we had 12 games together back in the day.”
And one of those games was particularly memorable for Petersen.
“He assisted on my first goal. It was a game-winner in Detroit (December 10, 2000),” Petersen said. “I remember him regardless, but he’ll have a special place in my memory for that. He hasn’t changed much.”
Petersen was recalled to Dallas Saturday after Vernon Fiddler suffered a charley horse in Friday night’s 5-3 win over Minnesota. Fiddler is day-to-day and with the Stars needing a 12th forward, a versatile veteran like Petersen seemed to be a good fit.
“That was the thought process behind it,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “He can come up and play and you have confidence in him. It was an easy one for us. It’s just his versatility to play any position, especially that veteran presence and having played so much in the minors, you know you can put him in there. He’s up and ready and he’s got some good pace to him.”
In Saturday’s practice, Petersen was on a line with a couple of guys he played with earlier in the season in Texas – Antoine Roussel and Tomas Vincour.
“I’ve played with both of them, but I don’t know if we’ve played as a unit,” said Petersen. “Probably at one point we did, but Willie (Desjardins, Texas coach) has had me shuffling in with different groups throughout the year.”
The 34-year-old Petersen, who spent the last four seasons on Dallas’ NHL roster, signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Stars last summer. He would be veteran depth for Dallas and provide leadership for a young Texas team. He’s spent the entire season to date in Cedar Park, registering 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in 65 games for the Texas Stars, who are one of the top teams in the AHL this season.
“We’re having a lot of fun there,” said Petersen. “It’s always easy to have fun when you are winning, but we’re trying to move forward every day to get better and prepare ourselves for the playoffs. We’ve had a good regular season, there are still ten games left and we’ve been focusing on improving for the playoffs.”
For now, though, he’s expected to provide some help to the Dallas Stars as they continue to battle for a playoff spot.
“Yesterday at this time I wasn’t expecting any kind of phone call. Injuries or not, I wasn’t expecting to be the next guy to go up,” Petersen said. “Fortunately, I’ve kept myself ready and I feel I can contribute at this level.”
*C Vernon Fiddler, who suffered a charley horse in Friday’s game against Minnesota, did not practice Saturday. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan didn’t have any updates and said Fiddler remained day-to-day.
*F Ryan Garbutt, who has missed the last seven games with a hand injury, practiced Saturday. He is still a few days away, according to Gulutzan.
“It will be a few more days for that hand to heal up,” Gulutzan said. “For him to be able to shoot properly and hold the stick properly, he still has a few more days.”