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

Jan 18, 2014, 5:29 PM EDT

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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.

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