In what is probably the best possible outcome for that scenario, Lehtonen has come out of that mess with just, and I quote here, a "very sore butt."
No groin, no back, none of the wonky parts. Thank goodness.
He is projected to be the starter in today's game against the Colorado Avalanche, and he looked more like his pre-injury self in the game against the Kings.
Not only that, he was perfect in an area of the game where he struggled last season.
The shootout performance was as important as coming back from the injury. Lehtonen last season had an awful year in the shootout and that performance helped the Stars miss the playoffs. He was 3-7 with a .576 save percentage, and looked lost at times. That was surprising for a goalie who had one of the best shootout records since the NHL started the post-game tiebreaker.
``I really didn't know what was wrong, but I've worked on it a lot, and it's better this year,'' :Lehtonen said. ``You don't really know sometimes, confidence maybe, but I know it has to be good for your team.''
After the jump, more on today's game against the Avalanche, a little optimism about the upcoming labor negotiations and a very sleepy Glen Gulutzan.
- He makes me a little crazy at times with his unfortunate neutral zone turnovers and his feet getting ahead of his hands, but Tom Wandell has done a serviceable job filling in for the injured Mike Ribeiro. [ESPN Dallas]
- Consistent and flexible are buzzwords that have to apply when you have one of the lower payrolls in the league. The Stars have definitely been one of those and not so much with the other as Mike Heika explains in this paywalled article. [DallasNews.com]
- After a rough start to his AHL season, Scott Glennie seems to be heating up, and he had a three-point night in the Texas Stars' Friday victory. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- Loui Eriksson makes the list of top NHL All-Star snubs as put together by Sportsnet. [Sportsnet.ca]
- And Jamie Benn is highlighted in this ESPN Insider story about breakthrough all stars. Like all Insider stories, it gives you a fairly long teaser but requires a subscription to read the entire thing. [ESPN Insider]
- In good news for Kings fans, Anze Kopitar indicated he is fine after being obliterated by Brenden Morrow on the hit that changed Thursday's game. Mike Richards is still not happy about the penalties, either. [LosAngelesKings.com]
- Want free vouchers to see a Stars game? Sure you do. And you can get them if you're one of the first 100 people to recycle your old electronics today at the American Airlines Center, where they're accepting things from 8 a.m. to noon. [DallasNews.com]
- To start with, I'm very pleased to see that others are coming around to see the really shrewd PR moves the NHL made with the whole realignment mess. But this is really linked because the author of this notes package has a more optimistic outlook on the upcoming CBA negotiations than most. [The Guardian]
- I'm not always a big fan of the games the Stars play with the Nashville Predators, but I am very pleased to see the franchise doing well on the business side of things after some rough years under terrible ownership. Sound familiar? [Fox Sports Tennessee]
- Pierre Gauthier to the white courtesy phone please, to explain yourself for some of the curious and curiouser decisions that you've made recently as Montreal Canadiens general manager. [Yahoo]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Peter Mueller is back for the Colorado Avalanche and they will be starting netminder of my nightmares Jean-Sebastien Giguere today. [Denver Post]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Our friends at Mile High Hockey give us a recap of how things have gone recently in the Northwest Division with their own sarcastic spin. [Mile High Hockey]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Anaheim Ducks are, somewhat shockingly, on a roll, and they steamrolled a mentally absent Edmonton Oilers team 5-0. If you get a chance, go find the YouTube of the Francois Beauchemin fight with Sam Gagner. Yes, you read that right, and yes, it was as bad as it sounded. [Edmonton Journal]
- Ever wondered where some of the more common hockey superstitions come from, especially in the wake of the first of three Friday the 13ths this year? Here's some good reading with tons and tons of links for your perusal. [Mile High Hockey]
- You, too, could dress like professional hockey tough guy Luke Gazdic if you've got an enormous amount of baby blue penguin print fleece. [Twitter]
- Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said the team didn't get back to Dallas until 5 a.m., and he looks it in this "practice" interview. And by "practice," I mean "show up at the rink between noon and 3 p.m. to show us you're still alive," apparently. Which after a game like that, I totally endorse.