Those who were concerned about the health of Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen got no assurance Tuesday afternoon when the team called up Texas Stars goalie Cristopher Nilstorp.
Nilstorp was recalled under "emergency conditions," which means he is up because the Stars are unable to field two healthy goalies without him. The upside of using the emergency recall is that it leaves the Stars their lone remaining AHL callup for the rest of the regular season, as emergency recalls do not count toward the four recall limit.
So what dose that mean about Lehtonen's health? As we documented last night, Lehtonen started experiencing some soreness in warmups and tried to push through it but pulled himself with 5:17 left in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings. Team officials said no play led to Lehtonen pulling himself, which would lead one to believe it's something more nagging, but who knows at this point.
The Stars did not practice on Wednesday, so there was no official update on Lehtonen's status other than a brief message on the team's official Twitter account that he is still day to day. But with a brief road swing through Nashville coming up Friday before Saturday's home game against the San Jose Sharks, this could be anything from the team wanting to assure Lehtonen gets at least one full game off and does not have to travel to an indication of something more serious.
Hopefully we'll learn a little more at this afternoon's practice, though somehow I doubt it. It's the time of year where teams that are even sniffing the playoff race guard that information carefully.
- Antoine Roussel burst into the league like a little explosive weasel, intent on beating opponents with his speed and distracting him with his words. Brenden Dillon knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of the onslaught. [DallasNews.com - paywalled]
- There are a couple of schools of thoughts on the Stars current run, both understandable. The first is that it's a short-term hot streak that won't have a significant impact on the playoff race. The other is that this is the beginning of a cohesion they've looked for all season. Razor takes you through all the questions here. [Razor with an Edge]
- And for giggles, here are Mike Heika's responses. [@MikeHeika]
- The streak has made some in the national media sit up and take notice at least. I think the last lines from Burnside's blog is extremely fair: "After the trade deadline, many folks figured that would simply be another in a line of meaningless contests for a Dallas team that already was imagining next season. Might still turn out to be that way, but credit the Stars for giving us pause and for not playing to type." [ESPN.com]
- The Stars aren't the only team going on a streak, though they might be the one that's most puzzling to Justin Bourne. [Backhand Shelf]
- Staring warily at the playoff race, the standings: Mark Stepneski has a summary of the situation prior to last night's games if you dare even hope. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Staring warily at the playoff race, the game: Phoenix jumped Dallas into ninth with their 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, but the Stars have two games in hand on the Yotes to make up the one-point gap. Not that Phoenix is the one who they're chasing, but it's still something to keep an eye on. [Arizona Republic]
- I personally haven't started scoreboard watching yet because I refuse to put myself through the angst until at least the final week of the regular season. But I do like to pay attention to meaningful games throughout the league while steadfastly ignoring the math. And the fine folks over at Grantland have put together a list of the best games each night of the regular season for [Grantland]
- In Texas Stars news, the Stars have loaned Mathieu Tousignant to the St. John's IceCaps. I think they still have 72 defensemen (or something more like 9), so I'm not sure how they're planning to work that out, especially if Jordie Benn heads back any time soon. [AHL.com]
- Elliotte Friedman tackles the negotiations between the IOC, NHLPA and NHL involving the upcoming Olympics in the always-informative 30 Thoughts column. [CBC.ca]
- I'm still a little bitter that Josh Harding shut out the Stars in the second game of the season, but I'm very glad to see the Minnesota Wild goalie has returned to practice after battling a flare of multiple sclerosis. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- You need more puppies in your morning. David Backes is here to assist you and show off some utterly adoptable shelter pets at the same time. My shelter kitty agrees that shelter animals make wonderful pets. [Puck Daddy]
- Wheel O'Justice time - how many games will Anton Volchenkov get for this elbowing major on Brad Marchand? I have no love lost for Marchand, but this is pretty inexcusable.