Patience pays off for Brandon Segal

Brandon Segal understood that when he was sent to the AHL in January it wasn’t a reflection on his play, but a case of dollars and cents. That didn’t make it any easier.

“I would lie if I said it wasn’t frustrating,” Segal said. “It was very frustrating.”

After the Dallas Stars acquired Jamie Langenbrunner from New Jersey in January, they shipped Segal to the Texas Stars of the AHL. The Stars needed to move some money off the roster and Segal, who was on a two-way contract, was the logical choice to go.

Segal’s salary is $550,000 when he plays in the NHL and $130,000 when he is in the AHL. It helped the Stars save a little money as they took on about half of Langenbrunner’s $2.8 million contract for the remainder of the season.

"He played well this year and really was a victim of circumstance when we picked up Jamie Langenbrunner,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said of Segal. “He was one guy that could go down and save us some money. He was a political decision more than a hockey decision. We’re pleased to have him back.”

With the Stars missing Loui Eriksson and Adam Burish due to injuries, the Stars placed Segal on re-entry waivers Wednesday. He cleared Thursday morning and joined the team.

"It's great to be back. This is where I want to be," Segal said. "Things were going great at the start of the season and then there were some unfortunate circumstances. That's just the way the business works. The main thing is I am back here and ready to help this team."

When Segal was sent down, he was told he would be brought back up to Dallas at some point. Exactly when wasn’t clear. Waiting for that day to come wasn’t easy.

“When I went down I said I want to get back up as fast as possible. I just didn’t know when that day was going to happen,” Segal said. “The main thing down there is you have to stay positive, stay patient and keep working hard. It’s easier said than done.”

And he made the most of it after adjusting to life back in the AHL, where he has played 455 games including 21 last season before Dallas claimed him off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

“Going back to playing power play and penalty killing, which was nice,” he said. “Those are positions I like to play in. I got to play a lot of minutes. “

In 30 games with Texas he registered 17 points (7 goals and 10 assists). After picking up two goals and no assists in his first ten games, he had five goals and ten assists over his next 20 games.

“Once I started getting a little more comfortable and started to find my linemates, I finally started producing down there, which was nice,” he said. “It felt good to put the puck in the net a lot and get some assists. We had a good squad down there, but this is where I always felt I belonged. And I was disappointed going down there. Nobody wants to go down, but I just stayed positive and now I am back, so let’s get it going.”

And he got it going in his first game back, potting the Stars’ final goal in a 5-0 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at American Airlines Center. There was a fighting major and two hits in 5:59 of playing time.

“He’s a popular guy. The guys were all happy to see him come into the dressing room after he cleared waivers and it’s nice to see him contribute,” said Crawford. “He stayed with it, did a lot of good things in the game in the limited minutes that he got and that’s what we need. We need performances from everybody and if you play six or seven minutes, make sure they’re impactful and his were.”

Eriksson, Burish still out

Forwards Loui Eriksson (upper body) and Adam Burish (lower body) are out for Saturday’s game against the Flyers.

“I think both of them are improving. I know both of them are improving, but not to the extent that they're ready for [Saturday],” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We're hopeful that they'll keep improving and that we'll have better news as we move into next week.”