Kari Lehtonen’s performance on Saturday night was exactly the kind of game I was envisioning he would play last Thursday when I was writing about how valuable he can be for this team (his performances Thursday and Saturday were pretty spot on for the two types of games that were mentioned in that piece). While the defense in front of him did a much better job of clearing traffic, he said that he felt much more like himself in his second game of the preseason:
"The first game is still so hard so many new things after five months or whatever," Lehtonen said. This game "felt more like a normal game in February or something like that."
The entire team looked rejuvenated, which was great to help drive home how forgettable Thursday’s effort was. It also may lead to an issue for the Stars, but an issue that many teams would probably like to have:
The problem for Hitchcock with so many players impressing that with Martin Hanzal returning to full practice Sunday he figures he's got six forward lines capable of playing NHL hockey.
"We're going to have a lot of competition," Hitchcock said.
All of this and more can be found in Scott Burnside’s Five Takeaways from Saturday’s game. [NHL]
The Stars announced the first major round of cuts Sunday. [NHL]
In other roster moves, several players have been placed on waivers and will be sent to the Texas Stars. We’ll know who clears sometime today.
In addition, Bodnarchuk, Bystrom, Dowling, McKenna and McNeill have been placed on waivers with the intent to be assigned to @TexasStars.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 24, 2017
Looks like Martin Hanzal will be able to at least get one exhibition game in this year:
Martin Hanzal (ankle) will go through full practices Thursday and Friday with intention of playing in final preseason game on Saturday.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 24, 2017
A little clarity on who will be in net for the next few games:
Also Ben Bishop will play Monday. Kari Lehtonen will play Tuesday.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 24, 2017
Well, that’s a relief:
The players who got dinged up in Saturday's game - Methot, Dickinson, Hintz - all fine according to coach Ken Hitchcock.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 24, 2017
On Sunday with Hitch, Sean Shapiro explains the stability that Jamie Oleksiak brings to the team and also ponders where Martin Hanzal fits in. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Check out Sean’s newest podcast where he details just how cool Mattias Janmark’s story is.
NEW PODCAST: Mattias Janmark's comeback is one of the NHL's best storylines— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 24, 2017
SOUNDCLOUD: https://t.co/Mkb7Fy4XJb up in iTunes soon
Around the League
Another twist to the story that dominated headlines this weekend: the Penguins have released a statement saying they will accept the invitation for a White House visit later this year. [Sporting News]
Greg Wyshynski thinks that the Pens are making the wrong choice. [Puck Daddy]
Here’s a little palate cleanser after the previous two articles: Kevin Fiala dangles his way to a nasty goal.
Kevin Fiala with one of the dirtiest goals of NHL preseason pic.twitter.com/7G8H1DbyQT— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) September 24, 2017
Even though the face off penalties are incredibly annoying, the increase in slashing calls is probably a good thing for player safety. [Global News]
Sonny Sachdeva takes a look at five players participating in the preseason on professional tryout agreements that could make an impact this season. [Sports Net]
BREAKING NEWS: A Rocket Richard assist on a Toe Blake (incredible name) goal in 1945 has been restored. [Sports Net]