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Steve Ott won’t be able to help Stars against Sharks

Nick Johnson, Steve Ott, Tom Wandell

Minnesota Wild right wing Nick Johnson (25) skates by as Dallas Stars center Steve Ott (29) congratulates teammate Tom Wandell (23), of Sweden, on his empty-net goal in the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, in Dallas. Wandell scored twice as the Wild won 4-1. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


The Dallas Stars opted against trading Steve Ott for games like tonight: a gut-check defense of their Pacific Division lead against a desperate San Jose Sharks squad that hasn’t lost to Dallas this season.

Unfortunately for the Stars, Ott won’t be able to play. The team reports that back spasms have sidelined him for tonight’s game, forcing marginal forward Jake Dowell into the lineup.

Ott has played in 61 of 67 games so far this season, collecting a useful 33 points while agitating his way to 124 penalty minutes. The Stars will miss his feisty style, versatility and faceoff acumen in an important squabble with the Sharks.