Mike Heika passes along word from Stars goalie coach Mike Valley that Dallas Stars/Finnish netminder Kari Lehtonen’s lower-body injury shouldn’t be too big of a concern. It will keep him from playing any more games for Finland in the 2012 World Hockey Championships, however.
“They’re still looking at everything, and there has been a lot of communication between doctors there and our trainer,” Valley said. “They’re not 100 percent sure what the injury is, but I’ve been told it is not a serious injury.”
CBA permitting, the Stars will start training camp in September and the regular season in October. That should give Lehtonen plenty of time to recover from the injury (which could be a groin/knee issue or possibly both), but it’s still not an ideal situation for the Stars.
Lehtonen suffered the mysterious injury when Bobby Ryan bowled him over during a 5-0 win for the US on Sunday:
Dallas Stars watch Lehtonen, Goligoski take tough hits overseas
Earlier today, Mike passed along word that the United States bludgeoned Finland 5-0 to make the quarterfinals of the 2012 World Championships. The Dallas Stars might have “lost” just as much as Finland in the grand scheme of things, though.
Mark Stepneski reports that workhorse goalie Kari Lehtonen suffered a knee/lower-body injury after Bobby Ryan bumped him while crashing the net:
As Stepneski notes, Lehtonen didn’t return to the contest but there wasn’t much time left and Finland was already well behind. That wasn’t the only nail-biting moment for Stars brass on Sunday, however, as Alex Goligoski also was boarded, as you can see in this video:
As disturbing as that hit looked, Goligoski reportedly didn’t miss a shift. Naturally, things could change once he gets examined again (the Stars might want to insist on as much) but that’s a positive sign.
It all goes to show that many NHL teams probably root for good luck with health more than gold medals and developmental confidence-boosters when they see their players perform in international tournaments. Lehtonen and Goligoski’s issues don’t sound serious – Goligoski might not even be “injured” – yet it shows how much things can change for a team in a single game (even when those players aren’t wearing your sweater).
Devils might hope that Rangers-Capitals goes seven games
It’s an age-old question that probably only has subjective answers: is it better to get a big break between series or barely get a chance to catch your breath? The New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers in round two after a quick turnaround, but after a rugged Game 5, they might just root for the Washington Capitals-New York Rangers series to go a full seven games.
The Flyers showed their frustrations with some big hits on Tuesday. Tom Gulitti didn’t receive an update from the Devils on defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who was shaken up by a Wayne Simmonds hit. Dainius Zubrus told Gulitti that he’s suffering from a charley horse thanks to a Zac Rinaldo hit and that he will “probably need treatment on it going forward.” Anton Volchenkov bounced back from another big Rinaldo check, but he was pretty shaken up at the time.
Ilya Kovalchuk also needed to miss a game in this series and while he bounced back with a vengeance, it’s not crazy to think that he might enjoy a moderate siesta.
Then again, the Devils are playing at a high level right now and they did handle the last quick turnaround quite well, so you can make an argument either way. In the grand scheme of things, it might be a matter of player-by-player opinion.
What do you think, though? Would New Jersey be better off if the other East series ends in six or seven? Does it matter at all either way? Do tell.
Report: Sean Couturier is “OK,” faces doctor visit Friday
There’s been some talk of a cut on his leg, although the only official word is the always-vague “lower-body injury.”
The young forward has shown some of Francis’ well-documented defensive acumen, but the comparison isn’t too accurate from an offensive standpoint anymore. (At least, at this point in his development.) All four of his points came in that April 13 game; his other eight postseason contests have been all-defense or nothing including seven consecutive pointless games.
Considering the impressive forward depth in Philly, it’s unlikely that the team can really blame this loss in the event that Couturier misses significant time and they drop the series to New Jersey. Their biggest problems are in net, on defense and apparently on the power play.
That doesn’t mean they won’t miss him, though.
Hitchcock’s Pietrangelo update: “If the game was today, he’s not ready to play”
St. Louis Blues captain David Backes says that the team needs to “look in the mirror” and “show some cajones” to get back in their series against the Los Angeles Kings. Still, it would be nice to get their hidden gem of a defenseman Alex Pietrangelo back for Game 3, but Ken Hitchcock’s update is mostly pessimistic.
Hitchcock provided this not-so-positive (yet vague enough to instill some hope) guess to Jeremy Rutherford.
“If he’s able to practice tomorrow that’s a big step, but I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Hitchcock said. “He’s injured. If the game was today, he’s not ready to play. We’ll just see how it works out.”
Again, that’s doesn’t seem too promising … although Game 3 won’t happen until Thursday, so there’s still time. (It’ll start at 10 pm ET on NBC Sports Network, by the way.)
The Blues might just want to assume that they’ll be working without their best defenseman (and some might say best player) and then consider him a huge, maybe Drew Doughty-level bonus if he plays after all.