Shortly after he went on injured reserve with a lower body (read: almost certainly groin) injury, Kari Lehtonen said he wanted to get one good practice with the rest of the Dallas Stars before he declared himself fit to play in a game again.
Well, the Stars starting goalie got that good practice on Friday morning, but it still may be a few days before he gets back in the game for his team.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff didn't firmly commit one way or the other on Lehtonen's status, but it certainly sounds like the goalie won't be playing in either of the Stars back-to-back games this weekend against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
"I think any time he's out there practicing it's a good sign," Ruff said. "I didn't expect him probably coming in and practicing today, but he's feeling pretty good. So in my eyes, if we get by the weekend, he should be ready to play."
Lehtonen suffered the injury midway through a game against the Winnipeg Jets a week ago today, and today is the first day he would have been eligible to come off of injured reserve. If he does not play this weekend, the next game he could play in is the Stars home game against the Calgary Flames on Thursday since the Stars have another extended break early next week.
Kari Lehtonen on his practice today: "It was a good step forward, but not there yet."— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 18, 2013
Ruff also indicated the team may give one of the weekend two starts to rookie Jack Campbell, who has been serving as the backup goalie with Lehtonen on injured reserve. Campbell was the Stars first-round pick, No. 11 overall, from the 2010 entry draft.
It wasn't quite the news Stars fans were hoping for, but it also makes sense to be a little more conservative with a player who does have a history of groin pulls, especially a very important player and with the vast majority of the season in front of them.
From a skater standpoint, winger Erik Cole was given a maintenance day and did not practice with the team. Antoine Roussel jumped up to his spot on the wing with Shawn Horcoff and Valeri Nichushkin, and Lane MacDermid slid onto the line with Ryan Garbutt and Vernon Fiddler. The top two lines were understandably unchanged from Thursday's shootout win over the San Jose Sharks.
The defensive pairs were also the same as they were Thursday night, and Ruff did address the management of defensive ice time in his brief post-practice media scrum.
For those thoughts as well as his complete quote on Lehtonen's status, see the video below: