Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: kari lehtonen
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Some quick thoughts ahead of a busy hockey weekend:
• Here's an almost unbelievable stat: It has been one year since the Stars got a win in a game that was started by their backup goaltender. That, however, should change soon. Kari Lehtonen's play has hit rock bottom. He allowed three goals on 14 shots before being pulled on Thursday night in Florida and has posted a save percentage of .826 or lower in four of his past five starts. His confidence is blown, his mechanics are off (his glove and his side-to-side motion, in particular), and his teammates play like they expect the worst to happen at any moment. Even coach Lindy Ruff, a man who will take a bullet for his players, has had enough, calling out Lehtonen for not matching the efforts of the other Stars.
It wasn't that long ago that the Stars believed Lehtonen was a player who could help them get to the next level. Now? They have to be wondering whether they can get his head on straight by next season, or if they should look in another direction. Moving him won't be easy, though, not with three years remaining on a deal that carries a cap hit of $5.9 million.
continue plus more topics including a look at the Simon Despres trade...
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The veteran bench boss lit into Lehtonen for the second time this season, and with newfound furry after a 5-4 shootout loss to Colorado. Now, you can say Ruff was talking about the goaltending problem in general with this team (the back-ups are 2-12-0 on the season), but this dagger was clearly pointed at Lehtonen.
“I know this is hard, but the goaltending performance doesn’t match the effort of the team,” Ruff said. “You need goaltending. It’s as simple as that. There’s nights that he has to steal games, there’s nights where he has to out-perform the other guy. Our goaltending has been tough on our team, and I think that’s where the frustration is.”
To Ruff, there is logic there. His team allowed just seven shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, and Lehtonen still let in a soft goal. In fact, the Stars battled back to take a 3-1 lead early in the third period, and all Lehtonen had to do was weather the expected storm. It happens to all teams who hold a lead _ they simply are going to be outshot, and the goalie has to hold on and get the win....
And that has to be somewhere in Ruff’s brain when he’s watching these meltdowns - he has to wonder if his goalie has a loose wire, if he simply can’t handle pressure.
Maybe he’s testing him now to see how he responds. Maybe this is needed before the team makes a big decision in the summer.
But, if you ask me, Lehtonen isn’t good with extreme emotion .
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Lehtonen last was in the postseason in 2007 as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers. Just 23 at the time, he had helped the Thrashers make the playoffs for the first time by forging a 34-24-9 record. In the opening game against the New York Rangers, he lost a 4-2 contest and was replaced by Johan Hedberg in Game 2. In Game 3, he returned and allowed seven goals in a 7-0 loss, and that’s the last memory he has of the playoffs.
But he said that’s not a problem for him.
“I’ve gotten pretty good at not looking back at all,” he said. “The past is too far away, so I don’t want to carry that or look back on that. To me, I have worked all year for this moment, and I think I’m ready.”
And yet he does appreciate the maturing he’s done. He was, after all, the second overall pick in the 2002 draft. So when the Thrashers traded him to Dallas for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, it was clear Atlanta had given up on him. Lehtonen said he used that motivation to drop 20 pounds, get himself in better shape and start to understand the position of goaltending.
“One of the things I love about Kari is he is a real battler,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “People tell him he’s injury-prone or out of shape, and he proves them wrong. People say he can’t get us to the playoffs, and he proves them wrong. He lets his actions speak for him.”
from Mark Stepneski of Inside Edge at the Dallas Stars' website,
“We know he’s not doing that well, so we have to make a decision later on today … as far as calling somebody up,” Ruff said after Sunday’s practice.
A few hours later the Stars made the decision, recalling goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp from the Texas Stars of the AHL.
Lehtonen was injured when Wild forward Erik Haula slammed into Lehtonen while driving the net. Lehtonen’s mask came off and his head hit the crossbar. Lehtonen, who suffered a cut to the head, left the game and did not return. Ruff was asked about the specifics of the injury on Sunday.
“It’s just a head injury right now,” Ruff said. “We’ll let him get through the day and see where we are at. It doesn’t look good though.”
With Lehtonen injured, the Stars will turn to Tim Thomas, acquired from Florida at the trade deadline in exchange for goaltender Dan Ellis. Thomas took over in net Saturday night, stopping all six shots he faced and picking up the win as the Stars rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat the Wild 4-3.
more on the Stars...
If you missed the injury to Lehtonen, you can watch it here...
Erik Haula of the Minnesota Wild received 5 for charging and a game misconduct for this collision/hit on Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
Both coaches post-game reaction below...
Via Matias Strozyk on Twitter, big news regarding the Finnish team ahead of this morning's semifinal game between Finland and Sweden (7 AM EST, NBCSN/TSN):
The Finnish Ice Hockey Association confirms:
John Mitchell of the Colorado Avalanche is probably still laying awake in bed, wondering how...
A reach behind, mid-air grab.
Frisco, TX - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has signed goaltender Kari Lehtonen to a five-year contract extension worth $29.5 million ($5.9 million per year) through the 2017-18 NHL season.
Lehtonen, 28, concluded his eighth NHL season in 2011-12, earning a 32-22-4 record with a .922 save percentage, a 2.33 goals against average and four shutouts in 59 games. Earlier in the season, he became the first goaltender in Dallas Stars history to win seven consecutive games to start a season and finished the campaign allowing two-or-fewer goals in 37 of his 59 games. He was named the NHL’s Second Star of October after posting an 8-1-0 record with a .947 SV% and a 1.75 GAA.
“Kari Lehtonen has worked extremely hard in his time with the Dallas Stars to establish himself as an elite goaltender in the NHL,” said General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “We believe that his best days as a goaltender are ahead, and that his work ethic and leadership will help guide this team into a perennial Stanley Cup contender.”
Closing seconds of OT, Lehtonen robs Thomas Vanek. The Sabres did win in the shootout.
from Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas,
“Kari will be out at least three weeks,” Gulutzan said. “We got some good news on that front as far as the MRI. It’s not a high groin pull or anything; it’s kind of a low strain, low pull. Those tend to heal a little better, so we’re looking at the three-week mark before he can get going again.”
Lehtonen will miss at least eight games, including a five-game road trip. To compensate, the Stars called up goaltender Richard Bachman from the Texas Stars of the AHL.
Kari Lehtonen has been placed on IR after injuring his groin on a save after the whistle had been blown on an offsidse call.
Lehtonen has had a history of injuries but hopefully for the Stars, this is not a long-term issue
NEW YORK (October 17, 2011)— Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel, New York Islanders center John Tavares and Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ of the week.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week. Due to the mid-week start to the regular season Oct. 6, today’s selections were based on games from Thursday, Oct. 6 through Sunday, Oct. 16.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Truth be told, the fallout from Joe Nieuwendyk’s decision to move on without Mike Modano won’t linger that long.
After the franchise icon received a nice ovation Thursday in his return in a Detroit Red Wings uniform, most fans were ready to move forward.
And that means the move that defines Nieuwendyk’s tenure as Stars GM might very well be the acquisition of Kari Lehtonen last February. The big Finn was solid again in net, making 25 saves in a 4-1 win. He was spectacular in the preseason and has been timely in the three victories. He came up huge in the third periods of games against the Devils and the Islanders and did it again against Detroit.
He’s not flashy, but he stops the puck. And that can make him pretty darned important.
If there was ever a National team program historically greater than the sum of its parts, it would be Team Finland. Despite not having the offensive depth of many of their Elite Seven rivals, the Finnish National Team has repeatedly fared well in recent international best-on-best competition. After enduring many decades of lopsided defeats internationally at the hands of Canada, the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and longtime nemesis Sweden, the Finnish hockey program made great strides in the 1990’s, culminating with a World Championship in 1995. In addition, Finland has won more Olympic Hockey medals (1 silver, 2 bronze), than any other nation, since the introduction of NHL players to the Games in 1998.
Finland’s success can be attributed to a strong emphasis on teamwork and the fact that unlike their European rivals, hockey is indisputably the number one sport in their homeland, which has led to the implementation of adequately funded development programs and a strong domestic league in SM-liiga. More than any other European team, Finland employs a fast skating, tight forechecking, North American style of play, augmented by strong defensive zone coverage and consistently elite goaltending. The rinks in Finland have been adjusted to enhance the tight forechecking style of play, by adopting a size that is halfway between the dimensions of NHL and IIHF standards. Furthermore, in an effort to aid the National Team’s development programs, numerous goaltending schools have been created, and often led, by the country’s top puck stoppers. This has led to the emergence of many elite young goalies in the NHL, such as Tuukka Rask, Pekke Rinne, Antti Niemi and perhaps Kari Lehtonen, if he can find health and consistency in a Dallas Stars uniform.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: antti+niemi, dallas+stars, espoo+blues, iihf, jere+lehtinen, kari+lehtonen, mikko+koivu, olli+jokinen, olympic+hockey, pekke+rinne, saku+koivu, sm-liiga, teemu+selanne, tuomo+ruutu, tuukka+rask
Frisco, Tex. – Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the hockey club and goaltender Kari Lehtonen have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension worth $10.65 million ($3.55 million per year average). This extension will put Lehtonen under contract through the 2012-13 season.
“We were excited to acquire Kari Lehtonen in February because of his size, skill and potential to once again be a top-tier goaltender in this league,” Nieuwendyk said. “His play during the last month of the season reaffirmed our belief that he can be our starter for next year and seasons to come. We’re very happy to agree to terms with Kari on this contract extension.”
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Bottom line, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen looked tired and out of sorts today in his first start for the Stars, giving up six goals on 34 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Penguins.
What did you expect? He hasn’t started a game since April 11 last year for Atlanta.
``I can say the goalie looked fatigued tonight and we’re confident he’s going to get better,’’ Stars coach Marc Crawford said.
So is this a matter of just working him through it with practice and games?
``I think it is a little bit of both. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,’’ Crawford said. ``Obviously, we want to keep his worth ethic up. He hasn’t played in the NHL in a year, so it’s understandable that you’re going to get fatigued. If you get fatigued in those two minute situations, penalty kills especially, you may not have to make a save but you’re in your tuck and you’re moving and you’re just right on edge. I’m sure their heart rates are right at the high level when they have that constant action around them. It is grueling and it is tiring, that’s the thing that he will get better with. So that’s where we are with him.’‘
from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Jounral-Constitution,
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is no closer to returning to the Thrashers than he was soon after offseason back surgery.
According to Thrashers general manager Don Waddell, Lehtonen again experienced pain in his legs while rehabbing from July surgery to repair a herniated disc. He recently received another epidural injection to reduce inflammation, and he has stopped skating.
via Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen had a minor surgical procedure this off-season but is not expected to miss any time, according to his agent.
Larry Kelly confirmed the surgery Friday but referred all other inquiries to Thrashers team officials.
The Thrashers did not immediately have a comment.
added 1:!3pm, The same link as above has now been updated,
Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back earlier this week. He is not expected to miss a significant amount of time when the Thrashers report for training camp in September.
Atlanta, GA - The Atlanta Thrashers have re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Kari Lehtonen, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Just got word that the Thrashers signed goalie Kari Lehtonen to a one-year deal worth $3 million. It’s an interesting number because that means backup Johan Hedberg is on the books longer than the franchise goalie.
For something different, the AJC real estate section takes a look at a hockey home:
There is little in Kari Lehtonen’s home to remind him of the daily stresses of work.
A massage chair, a hot tub and vitamin water hint that his is a physical job, a job that punishes and pushes the body.
Lehtonen, goalie for the Atlanta Thrashers, created a home in Brookhaven that is calm, yet modern. It’s difficult to find any hockey paraphernalia. A few small awards can be found in a storage room the basement.
“I try to get away from that,” he said.
Stylin’ hockey players… I think we might have to start calling it the Sean Avery Effect.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
“It’s been a long month, but it was great today to come here when everybody else comes and not three hours before,” Lehtonen said. “It’s fun to be a part of the team.”
And suddenly it’s a team that will have three capable goalies. According to general manager and interim head coach Don Waddell, Lehtonen’s return to the lineup won’t be rushed. In the past, he said, Lehtonen might have been hurried to action this week. But not now.
Johan Hedberg is coming off his first shutout with the Thrashers and will get the start tonight against Tampa Bay. He’s 4-0 in his last five starts and with his shutout in Carolina, dropped his goals against average to 2.38 in November.
Rookie Ondrej Pavelec is 3-1 in four starts and has a 2.71 GAA on the season. His only other loss came in a relief appearance against Ottawa.
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen will be out four to six weeks with a strained groin. An MRI revealed that there was no tear in the groin Lehtonen injured during Thursday’s win over the Rangers.
Even so, he’ll likely be out until December.