Will Jere Lehtinen return next season?

Lehts.jpgJere Lehtinen’s long, underrated career is coming to a close. The
Finnish right winger who exemplified defensive hockey for so long will
be 37 next season, and is currently playing on a one-year, $2.5 million
contract ($1.5 million base, $1 million in bonuses).

He’s had to
deal with injuries the past few seasons as his once reliable body has
started to break down, but there’s no question he still has the
leadership and skill needed to help teach a young team that defense is
just as important as offense.

If you’ve seen the Stars this
season, then you know that’s a lesson they need pounded into them.

coach Marc Crawford, for one, is hopeful that Lehtinen decides to come
back next season. From
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

Jere is still a very, very good player,” Crawford said. “The
guys who are smart players, who are hustling players, you don’t lose
those abilities. He has skating and instincts, and that just makes
him such a crucial player for us.

terrific for teaching, he’s terrific to put on a line with young
players. We could actually use a few more players like him.”

not just a matter of whether Lehtinen wants to return; it’s also
whether general manager Joe Nieuwendyk sees him as a needed asset next
season and what he’s willing to pay. If $1.5 million was the contract
this season, then I’m guessing we’d see Nieuwendyk offer nothing more
than $1 million; after all, Lehtinen has just 3 goals this season and is
far from the 30+ goal scorer he was just a few years back.

has played his entire career in Dallas, and I’m certainhe wants to join
Mike Modano as finishing it with the Stars as well. Just don’t expect
any decisions to be made anytime soon.

“We’ll talk in the
summer, but I can tell you that I am a big fan of Jere Lehtinen,”
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk
said. “When he’s in the game, I think we’re a better team.”

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    Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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    Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

    As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

    Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

    Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

    PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

    Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

    Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

    Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

    In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

    Gaborik’s first goal:

    And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

    Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

    With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

    Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


    When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

    With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

    As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

    Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

    So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


    You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

    Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

    “Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

    Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

    Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

    It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

    Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

    On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

    It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

    * – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.