DALLAS — Justin Dowling had an “old-school AHL travel day” on Monday.
On Monday afternoon Dowling found out he was getting sent back to the AHL after a two-game NHL stint. He packed his bags and flew to Austin and was planning at joining the Texas Stars at practice on Tuesday.
Right after Dowling landed he missed a call from Dallas Stars assistant general manager Scott White.
“I was on my way to the baggage claim, and I figured I’d call him on the way home,” Dowling said. “But then he texted me and it said, ‘Justin, call me.'”
So Dowling made the call and found out he was getting called back up and would play on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes. The Stars offered to book him a flight, but Dowling decided to head back to his apartment in Austin to grab a change of clothes, have dinner with his fiancée, and made the three-hour drive north around 7 p.m.
Dowling’s fiancée and the couple’s dog were set to make the drive up during the day on Tuesday and the 26-year-old is expected to spend the rest of this season, three more games, in the NHL after Ales Hemsky and Jiri Hudler have been shut down for the season.
It’s a nice opportunity for Dowling, who had hand surgery and missed significant time in the middle of the season. He has a large scar on his right hand after the procedure and went roughly two months where he couldn’t even shoot a puck.
“So my scoring went down a little bit this year,” Dowling said. “But I think I got better in other parts of the game. That’s what I need to show to stick up here (in the NHL) anyways.”
Hemsky and Hudler done, McKenzie likely done
Ales Hemsky and Jiri Hudler are each out for the remainder of the season, while Curtis McKenzie is likely going to miss the final three games.
McKenzie is at least two days away from activity according to Lindy Ruff, and it’s doubtful that he’ll play.
However, there is some hope from those within the organization that McKenzie could play the season finale against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday as a confidence booster after the injury.
Of course, McKenzie would be wearing a cage on his helmet if that were the case.
The NHL’s decision to skip out on the Olympics hasn’t drawn rave reviews. I’ll have more on that later today and I’m working on a story for it over at WFAA.
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Cody Eakin — Devin Shore
Remi Elie — Tyler Seguin — Brett Ritchie
Gemel Smith — Radek Faksa — Jason Spezza
Jason Dickinson — Justin Dowling — Adam Cracknell
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis — Julius Honka
Jamie Oleksiak — Stephen Johns
Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Greg Pateryn
Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Curtis McKenzie (eye), Jiri Hudler (groin), Ales Hemsky (hip).