Stop me if you've heard this before, but there is good news and there is bad news.
The good news, and perhaps best news in several weeks, is that goalie Kari Lehtonen is expected to play tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets after missing 12 games with a groin strain.
``Lehts is ready to go, so he'll get the start,'' Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. ``I think it's the right time to do this, and he's ready.''
The Stars are 13-4-1 with Lehtonen in goal this season and 7-10-0 with someone else in net. So what's the reason for such a large gap?
``He's that good,'' Gulutzan said. ``There's no question (he's becoming a top goalie). He still has to prove it over the long haul, but you look at those numbers and you see how valuable he is to our club.''
The bad news?
Add two more defenseman to the "out a bit" list, one of those officially to injured reserve. Stephane Robidas and the bone bruise in his foot went on IR as Lehtonen came off while Gulutzan noted Sheldon Souray will also be out 10-14 days with what is presumably a mild ankle sprain.
As a quick note, Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas wrote on Twitter yesterday that he will be gone on family business for about a week, so if you notice a distinct lack of content from that outlet, that's why. If today is any indication, they will have rewritten press releases and little else.
After the jump, more on today's game against the Blue Jackets, Joe Nieuwendyk offers his take on the Mark Fistric hit on Shea Weber and Steve Ott makes an appearance on HBO's 24/7.
- With no ESPN Dallas to help fill us in on the nitty-gritty details of tonight's game against the Blue Jackets, I'm turning to a different source for the time being. [FoxSports.com]
- So we talked (and talked and talked) about the late-breaking "controversy" around Mark Fistric's hit on Shea Weber from nearly a week ago now. Well Weber's agent chimed in, again, nearly a week late, to say how angry he was that no one so much as blinked at the hit until it was clear Weber was injured (even though he didn't blink an eye at it until the injury was apparent, either). Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk? Not buying that the hit was at all illegal. [DallasNews.com]
- Apparently the availability of Andrew Raycroft on the waiver wire might incidentally affect the San Jose Sharks as they shop their own backup. This brought a smile to my face. [CSN Bay Area]
- There is only one teeny tiny mention of a Stars player in this story about a youth hockey tournament in Canada, but the mental image of a pre-teen Kari Lehtonen making his first visit to North America is just too cute to get out of my head. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Ever wondered what exactly goes on in the quiet room once a player has been removed for a suspected concussion? No? Well I still think this is a cool little bit of insight. [Backhand Shelf]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Our friends over at The Cannon are doing their own scoring chance project this season, and here's how they saw the most recent two Jackets games. [The Cannon]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Scott Howson, Jackets general manager, hasn't made any major roster or coaching moves despite the disastrous season so far. But the threats are there now. [Puck-Rakers Blog]
- Around the Pacific Division, the winner: Who needs a lot of goals? Not the Los Angeles Kings, who shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 as Jonathan Quick continued to impress. [Los Angeles Times]
- Around the Pacific Division, the loser points: The Phoenix Coyotes had a raucous crowd but fell to the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime while the Vancouver Canucks withstood a San Jose Sharks comeback attempt for a 3-2 overtime win. [Boston Globe/San Jose Mercury News]
- Speaking of that Canucks/Sharks game, Joe Thornton channeled his inner Steve Ott while trying to get under the skin of Henrik Sedin during the game. It's funnier when you remember no one makes Thornton quite as crazed as Ott, too. [Puck Daddy]
- And speaking of Mr. Ott, he made his long-awaited debut on HBO's 24/7, which featured several moments from the Stars game against the Philadelphia Flyers even though the show completely skipped the shutout win over the New York Rangers. The following clip sums up much of his appearance on the show, including some less-than-effective trash talking to Claude Giroux and proof that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was pretty clearly in the wrong about (and was the one who escalated) the tunnel incident. Language warning, but with Ott uncensored, you probably could have guessed that.