Adam Burish wants to bring life, energy back to Stars

After missing the last eight games with a fractured orbital bone, Dallas Stars forward Adam Burish is expected to return for Thursday night’s game at Detroit. And Burish – in his words – is "fired up."

"When you are gone for two weeks it is fun to just practice," Burish said after Wednesday’s practice in Frisco. "My first practice two days ago felt like a game day to me. For [Thursday], I am fired up. Feels like back at school for the first day. It will be fun and hopefully I can bring some energy and some life back to this group and some excitement. That will be my approach. Just bring some life, bring some maybe desperate energy back to this group and hopefully I can help.”

That excitement, life and energy are something Stars coach Marc Crawford thinks his team – mired in a five-game losing streak – could use.

“He’ll be such a spirit guy for us,” Crawford said. “We could use any dose of positive, feel-good that we can have right now.”

For Burish, it hasn’t been easy watching his teammates go through some rough times on the ice. Since Burish has been out he has had to watch the team go 1-6-1. That eight-game slide is part of a longer stretch where the Stars have gone 1-8-1 since the All-Star break and 2-10-1 in their last 13 games.

“You just feel helpless, especially when we lose a game. I want to be there with them, I want to be a part of that,” he said. “When you aren’t playing you don’t feel the same. You don’t feel the disappointment as much when you aren’t a part of it. It’s easy to sit up in the stands and be critical of what’s going on. For me, I’d rather be a part of it. I’d rather be a solution, an answer. If it doesn’t work out, I want to be a part of it, too. I want to sit in the locker room and go through what they’re going through and hopefully help figure it out. If you’re not a part of it you feel useless.”

Burish suffered his injury February 3 in a fight with Boston’s Andrew Ference. The Stars activated both Burish and Krys Barch, who also suffered a fractured orbital bone in that Boston game, from injured reserve on Wednesday.

Burish will wear a full cage to protect his eye. While he’s excited about returning to action, he’s not excited about the cage.

“It stinks. It sucks either way. I tried them both and they both stink. I don’t like either one of them,” Burish said. “The first day they let me take it off I’ll be getting rid of it, but it is probably going to be a couple weeks of wearing it. It’s hard to see, you get the bars in your face. With the plastic one, you’re breathing your own air and it feels like a furnace in there. You can’t win either way.”

Notes: Grossman, Richards improving but still not ready

Stars coach Marc Crawford said center Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (hip) are improving, but neither made the trip with the team to Detroit.

"Grossman is improving, but is not ready to play. He will not accompany us on the trip nor will Brad Richards," Crawford said. "Both of them are in the improving category, but not ready to be options for us."

With Adam Burish and Krys Barch coming off IR, the Stars sent forward Aaron Gagnon back to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Modano ready to return for Red Wings, but not until Saturday

Detroit center Mike Modano, out since November 26 with a wrist injury, is ready to return to the lineup and he’ll do that Saturday when the Red Wings play at Buffalo.

“There was a chance [to return against Dallas on Thursday], but ... of all games to come back after such a long layoff, I think the expectations are a little too high for that one," Modano told NHL.com. "[I'll] just start in Buffalo and it's going to be five games in eight days on that trip. So it'll be some crucial games here coming down the stretch.”

The former Dallas Star was injured when he was cut on the right forearm and wrist by the skate of Columbus forward R.J. Umberger in that late November game.