Thursday tidbits: Brad Richards talk

With the Dallas Stars slipping in the standings and now sitting just one point from ninth place, the “what will the Stars do with Brad Richards” talk is heating up again.

ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside tackled the issue today, with LeBrun offering this:

The Stars' collapse has put Richards right back in play, in my opinion. Richards is out right now (undisclosed injury), but Nieuwendyk told me Wednesday there was hope he might be ready to return next week. As to whether the GM would possibly trade Richards, who controls his fate with a no-movement clause, Nieuwendyk was obviously careful with what he told me.

"Brad and I are on the same page," Nieuwendyk told ESPN.com. "Our intention all along has been to sign Brad, [but] we're leaving all our options open."

You can read the entire discussion between LeBrun and Burnside here.

*When the Stars play Vancouver on Saturday it will be the battle of the injury depleted lineups. The Canucks have lost a sixth defenseman. The Vancouver Sun reports Kevin Bieksa has a broken foot and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.

He joins the list of injured Canucks defensemen that includes Keith Ballard, Dan Hamuis, Alex Edler, Andrew Alberts and Lee Sweatt. Right now, the only two regular guys left standing are Sami Salo and Christian Ehrhoff.

*Plenty of games worth keeping tabs tonight in the tight Western Conference playoff race. The Los Angeles Kings play at New York Rangers, Nashville hosts Vancouver, Phoenix is at home against Atlanta and San Jose hosts Washington. We’ll see how the standings sort out after these games.