As the Dallas Stars' 2015 training camp continues, with the much-anticipated Green and White Scrimmage taking place today at 1 p.m. Central time, there are already reports of signs and wonders from Cedar Park.
Specifically, fans and followers saw good portents for the goaltending situation, as Mike Heika writes:
Kari Lehtonen was dominant for 24 minutes of scrimmage time Saturday, and that is a glorious sign for the Stars.
Lehtonen stopped a point blank shot from Travis Morin, survived a furious rally that included a massive scrum at the net, and also looked perfect in his positioning -- as he stopped 14 shots in his first live action since last season.
And after this display of the goalie voodoo skills that launched a thousand "Keep Calm and Kari On" T-shirts, Lehtonen's statement was typically understated.
"It was nice to start that way," Lehtonen said. "Things are going well, and that gives me excitement going forward. You never know how it's going to go the first day, but so far, so good."
And that is the key to this goaltending combo -- calm, daily introspection. [Antti] Niemi also pitched a shutout on 10 shots in his 24 minutes, so the plan looked great on Day 1.
As early as we all know it is, this bodes well for the Stars' tandem-goalie plan – which is good for all kinds of reasons, as Heika reminds us.
A quick study of the end of last season displays the conundrum in judging Lehtonen. He allowed 17 goals on 102 shots (.833 save percentage) as the team went 1-3-0 in his final four games and fell out of the playoff race. But before that, he allowed 16 goals on 212 shots (.924 save percentage) and led the team on a 7-1-0 run that kept alive post-season hopes. Had he not been forced to start 12 straight, maybe he wouldn't have worn out by the end.
"We've got two No. 1 goalies. If there's an injury or one of them is struggling, we've got time to get it corrected," said Stars general manager Jim Nill. "We know when we go into a back-to-back situation, we have a fresh goalie that will be able to come in and win a game for us. Kari went into a lot of games last year knowing he had to play even though he was tired, hurt, or whatever. He knows now that he has a comfort level."
Get the whole story here. [SportsDayDFW]
Meanwhile, @NHL would like to remind everyone of this.
We all love Heika, but there has to be a mistake in his story about Dallas teams' fan favorites who got away, because Mike Modano is in there and THAT NEVER HAPPENED. [Dallas Morning News]
Which prospects are the professional pundits watching at 2015 NHL training camp? Craig Button has his eye on 10 potential rockstars. [TSN]
Now everybody wants to sign a 22-year-old Swedish defenseman to a seven-year contract: The Edmonton Oilers just locked up Oscar Klefbom for the long haul. Zach Laing takes a look at the deal. [Copper & Blue]
AAV on Oscar Klefbom deal will be $4.167 million. @TSNRyanRishaug first reported 7-year deal.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 19, 2015
Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks have signed veteran D-man Michal Rozsival to a one-year deal. Rozsival entered training camp on a tryout contract after breaking his ankle during the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. [CBS Sports]
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were the unequivocal dynamic duo of the 2015 NHL draft class – but it will be a long time before we know how they stack up among the 10 greatest one-two picks of all time, says Ken Campbell. Take a look at who gets ranked, and who doesn't. [The Hockey News]
If you're a Columbus Blue Jackets fan, you might want to take advantage of the team's new training-camp-excuse-note program.
Even an article about how excited Sidney Crosby is to have Phil Kessel on his team has to get in at least one remark about "perceived character issues." Okay, we get it. [National Post]
Hello, old friend: Former Star Brenden Dillon talks about taking the next step as a defensive power with the San Jose Sharks.
This was also the morning that right wing Joel Ward kicked off the Sharks' Saturday at training camp with a little Bob Marley.
Bob Cleary has passed away. As a young hockey player, he was a key part of Team USA's original Miracle on Ice: its gold medal-winning upset of Czechoslovakia at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. [Cape Cod Times]
Condolences to the Cleary family on the passing of 1960 Olympian Bob Cleary. pic.twitter.com/y6YeJW1l4f— USA Hockey (@usahockey) September 18, 2015
More sad news: Former NHL enforcer Todd Ewen, who won the 1993 Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens and played for four teams in an 11-year career, has died at age 49. Ewen may have had one of the league's most unusual hobbies: He wrote and illustrated children's books, as detailed in this Los Angeles Times story from his days with the Anaheim Ducks.
I was proud to call Todd Ewen a teammate and more importantly, a friend. Can't believe you're gone. #foreverablue— Brett Hull (@HOFBlues16) September 20, 2015
There are no openly gay NHL players, but a new survey reveals that 34 of 35 NHL players would accept an openly gay teammate. See how those players answered other questions, and tell everyone which omission from the projected 2016 Art Ross Trophy race you think is the most glaring. [USA Today]
What can P.K. Subban's $10 million do for Montréal Children's Hospital? It's already done this.
Check out the P.K. Subban Atrium, a 486-square-meter, three-story public space located at the heart of the hospital. pic.twitter.com/8jCYnqcVh4— Montréal Children's (@HopitalChildren) September 16, 2015
Finally: Wayne Gretzky is part of Canadian Tire's #WannaPlay initiative. Canadian Tire asked through their Facebook page which player, past or present, its readers would want to play in a game of road hockey. Ryan Kaczur picked Gretzky, saying he must be "a little rusty" by now. This is what happened afterward.