I realize we've seen him already. He's made two relief appearances after Turco received the dreaded yank, and his first start as a Dallas Star in Pittsburgh was as memorable as it was successful, but the real tryout starts tonight against San Jose.
If we're all being truthful with ourselves, I think we all knew that Marty Turco was going to get the majority of the starts down the stretch because he gave this team the best chance to win. He probably still does. Does that mean we should take Lehtonen's start tonight as a kind of subtle white flag? That line of thinking may have merit, but this Lehtonen start could be as much about Marty getting pulled against Colorado as it is about the standings.
Whatever the case, reality will soon be acknowledged by coach and player alike, and it clears the way for an increased work load for lanky-Finn. He has a new boss to impress and nothing to lose. His conditioning is said to be improving, so let's see it on the ice. From here on out, it's my rather meaningless opinion that Kari Lehtonen should get most of the starts for this team regardless of result. I love Marty Turco, but the team has to turn to the page and look to the future at some point.
I hope to see lots of Lehtonen, if for no other reason than to boost everyone's confidence in him heading into the summer. If we're still being truthful, I think we have to say that we haven't been really impressed with what we've seen so far, small though the sample size may be. He needs more time. Let's see that he gets it.
This post-Olympic swoon could possibly be a positive for one man and one man only: Kari Lehtonen. It's your stage now, sir. Earn that contract, starting tonight.
And now, a few Tuesday Morning Musing's on all things NHL...
- As thoroughly depressing as it is that the Phoenix Coyotes have 89 points with 13 games to play (seriously?), it would be flat out fantastic if they managed to catch the Sharks, only seven points ahead, before the season runs out. The Stars play the Sharks 3 times in the next 16 days and can really help out there.
Follow the jump for more...
- After watching some player interviews on NHL network of guys actually defending Alex Ovechkin, it's hard to know what to think. I'd like to think that the suspension was earned more as a repeat offender and a guy who plays the game somewhat recklessly on a regular basis than for the Campbell hit specifically. Either way the wheel of justice is incomparably inconsistent when you think of the hits this year that did not warrant suspensions. It's just fun to watch the Twitter-bicker from some that says "He only got 2 games bc he's Ovechkin!!," and conversely "He would have gotten way more if his name wasn't Ovechkin!!"
- Punishing people with the result of the hit more in mind than the act of is stupid. It was stupid last season and it will be stupid next season. Just sayin...
- Directv and Versus finally kissed and made up today. Now you can watch Penguins/Flyers, Penguins/Rangers, Capitals/Penguins, Capitals/Red Wings, Penguins/Red Wings, and Red Wings/Red Wings (trust me, they'll find a way) all season long next year at start times inconvenient for anyone not living on the east coast. W00t. Still, you have to give credit to Versus for their playoff coverage last year. Along with NHL Network, it's a potent first-round combination.
- I want to reiterate my sadness at the Mike Modano situation. On the bright side his intentions might be made pretty clear after seeing how hard he works to get back this season. If he doesn't get back this season, I expect him to be back next year, if for no other reason than this: we want to say goodbye, Mike, and we expect to be given a proper opportunity.
- I am disappointed in you, Calgary. Very disappointed.
Reminder: One week from tonight is the first official watching party for Defending Big D @ Frankie's in Lewisville. I'll be reminding you mercilessly throughout the week.