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| Kulikov not sure if Stars will seek revenge for hit on Seguin.
5 марта 2015 года. Fialkov, Harvey. McClatchy - Tribune Business News
March 05--SUNRISE Indirectly or not, Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov's low hit on Tyler Seguin last month not only ended any chance for the All-Star forward to be the leading goal scorer in the NHL, but basically crushed the Stars' chances of reaching the playoffs.
Since the hit, which earned Kulikov a four-game suspension but damaged Seguin's knee so severely that Thursday will be the 10th straight game he will miss, the Stars have lost seven of nine and have fallen nine points out of a potential playoff berth.
So Seguin, who skated with his team for the first time since the injury at Thursday morning's skate at the BB&T Center, was in no joking mood when asked about Kulikov.
"I don't know Kulikov at all. I don't know what type of player he is. I hadn't even really heard of him before that night. I don't play Florida that much,'' Seguin said. "Yeah, he felt bad. I don't think anyone in the league nowadays tries to intentionally do that. But who knows?"
When Seguin was asked if he had talked to his teammates about gaining vengeance against Kulikov, he curtly replied: "I wouldn't tell you anyway.''
"Yeah, very tough, especially the beginning,'' Seguin added about his mental state since the injury. "You couldn't really do anything. I was definitely having probably my best season. It was looking good and we were in a playoff race. That kind of a hit and me being down, it's something tough to swallow. But I've definitely been using it as motivation to try to get back in the lineup."
Seguin had 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games when the injury occurred. He's expected back in about 10 days.
Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who was furious when the hit occurred and called Kulikov's hit, "gutless,'' and "we'll have to deal with that at a later time,'' slightly backed off his threat on Thursday.
"It was a gutless hit. You can ask anyone in the league," Fiddler said. "You take someone's knee out; if you're going to hit somebody, hit him fair. The league took care of it. I'm glad they took care of it because it takes it out of our hands. I'm sure the guy has learned from it that you can't do that anymore.
"I'm sure [Kulikov should have his head up tonight]. He took out our best player the last time we played them so I'm sure he's not going to be skating around not worrying about anything. This is a big game for us. We still have chances so we're not going to go out and take any liberties. We want to play a fair game, that's the way we play. Whatever happens happens.''
Seguin's close friend, left wing Jamie Benn, said, "we're not here to get revenge or hurt anyone on their team now. We got two big points up for grabs.''
Kulikov, who did relay to Seguin via former Bruins teammate Shawn Thornton, that he, "felt bad,'' about the injury, was unsure if the Stars were planning retaliation.
"I don't know. The game comes and we'll see. I'm not really thinking about it, but whatever happens, happens,'' Kulikov said. "We're not going to back off and let them retaliate and do nothing. If something happens, we'll deal with it."
When Kulikov was asked if he would be skating with his head up he replied: "For sure. Tonight a little more than usual."
Panthers coach Gerard Gallant downplayed any extra-curricular activity targeting Kulikov.
"That's old-time hockey. That doesn't happen anymore,'' Gallant said. "I can't say what they're going to do. I've got no idea what they're going to do, but we're going to come out and play and try to win games and try and get back in the race.''
Stars center Jason Spezza underscored Seguin's value to the team.
"We're professionals and we have to make sure we win the hockey [game] first,'' Spezza said. "But obviously it was a scary moment and a big setback for our team, having a player of that caliber be out for as long as he's been out."
Stars coach Lindy Ruff agreed, but added: "The biggest damage we can do now is on the scoresheet,'' he said. "If you have a good chance to lay a lick on somebody, you lay a lick on somebody, but our focus is to win the game."