Howdy from the Lone Star State, where the Rangers visit the Stars tomorrow in the first match of a five-game road trip.

I'm just here for the barbecue.

Kidding, of course; I consider Dallas just a stopover on the way to Music Row in Nashville.

Not really kidding on that.

Anyhow, encamped not far from American Airlines Arena and can report that head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters at practice that Michael Del Zotto, scratched for three games, will be back in the lineup, so it'll be DZ in Big D.

Cue the Merle Haggard.  Anybody but Toby Keith.

Whether Del Zotto is paired with Justin Falk or John Moore is TBD.  What is clear, is that Vigneault wants to see more offense from Del Zotto (1-3-4 in 16 games)--- I chronicled his erractic contributions over the years in my Sunday Insider and colleague John Jeansonne spoke with him for a story in today's paper---

“A player like Michael has to play to his strengths," Vigneault told the media at practice. "I’ve been told his strengths are his ability to beat the forecheck, join the rush, help out on the power play and get shots through. I have not seen that on a consistent enough basis for him to be able to say he’s going to be in the lineup every night. Some other Ds can have an off night, you’re going to throw them back in even though they have. Michael in the 20 some odd games that I’ve been here has not shown that consistently enough."

It also appears J.T. Miller will remain a healthy scratch.

According to intrepid pal Andrew Gross, who is en route to Dallas, the practice lines were:

Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Benoit Pouliot
Brian Boyle-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett

The other bit of news, which was sort of covered yesterday, was the continuing recovery of Taylor Pyatt, who will miss his sixth game in Dallas after a concussion on Nov. 7.

Pyatt skated prior to practice again and was not on the flight here, but Vigneault did not rule out the possibility of him joining the team on the journey. My sense is that he is still a week or more away from playing, however.

Well, it's time for my bootheels to be wandering....Will catch up later

More Rangers

DON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access