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Stars scratch Nichushkin to give him break from ‘mental grind’


James OBrien

It’s been a remarkable rookie season for Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin, but that’s a big reason why Lindy Ruff is making him a healthy scratch on Saturday.

As Ruff explains to the Dallas Morning News, the wear and tear of his first NHL campaign and the thrill of being a surprise selection for Russia in the 2014 Winter Olympics has left him fatigued.

“He’s had a little bit of a tough ride, and he said he’s felt real tired,” Ruff said. “He’s 18, and I think for him it’s been a mental grind, so try to freshen him up and get him going again.”

” ... I think emotionally for him has been the craziest ride.”

That’s about as positive a spin as you can get for a healthy scratch (unless that player is welcoming a newborn baby, perhaps).

Nichushkin’s most recent work does indicate a little lsot steam. He hasn’t scored a point in his last five games and didn’t even manage a shot on goal in two of those contests. He’s still be a success overall, however, as the 10th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft has 22 points in 46 games.

Regardless, the Stars will face the Minnesota Wild without him Saturday night.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins