Jussi Rynnas

Report: Rynnas clears waivers, signs in KHL

Jussi Rynnas has officially signed with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, according to Mark Stepneski.

The goaltender was placed on unconditional waivers by the Dallas Stars last week.

Rynnas signed a two-year, $1.1 million contract with Dallas last summer, but after spending a bulk of the 2014-15 season in the American Hockey League, has decided to return overseas.

The 28-year-old appeared in two games with the Stars going 0-1-0 with a 4.57 G.A.A. and an .841 save percentage.

In 39 AHL games with the Texas Stars Rynnas was a 22-6-8 to go along with a 2.53 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage.

(Related) Report: Heatley considering offers to play in KHL

Report: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas to sign in the KHL

According to a report out of Finland, goaltender Jussi Rynnas will sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Rynnas spent much of the 2014-15 season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League posting a 22-6-8 record to go along with a 2.53 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage.

The 28-year-old also appeared in two games with the Dallas Stars going 0-1-0 with a 4.57 G.A.A. and an .841 save percentage.

Rynnas has one year remaining on his two-year, $1.1 million contract he signed with Dallas last summer.

Blackhawks’ property Anders Nilsson, who is eyeing a return to North America, started a bulk of the games for Ak Bars Kazan during the 2014-15 season.

Ruff on Lehtonen: ‘We need him to be better. There is no masquerading that point’

After Dallas Morning-News columnist Tim Cowlishaw took Kari Lehtonen to task over his inconsistent play, Stars’ head coach Lindy Ruff agreed his No.1 goaltender needs to be better moving forward.

The 31-year-old is coming off a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night, which saw him allow four goals on 28 shots including goals on the first two Lightning shots.

“We need him to be better. There is no masquerading that point,” Ruff said Friday. “Met with him again this morning. We’ll just take it one game at a time here. It seems like every night the other goalie is outdueling us.”

Lehtonen had what he referred to as a productive meeting with his coach following Thursday’s loss.

“I think they always are,” Lehtonen said. “We’re both trying to do the same thing, help the team win and find ways to be more productive and more successful out there. It’s good stuff.

“You want to go through all the situations and learn from them. Then you try to forget, start from the clean slate again and focus on the next game.”

Lehtonen’s wins (21) rank 12th in the league; however, among the 42 goaltenders ranked as league-leaders, Lehtonen’s goals-against average (2.96) ranks 32nd and his save percentage (.904) is 34th.

Those numbers are below the 2.41 G.A.A. and .919 save percentage he posted last season.

“I want to be more patient. When things aren’t going great, you try to do too much. That’s not good,” Lehtonen said. “I just need to take a step back, being more patient in situations and read what’s happening out there better and put a solid 60 minutes together.”

Stars general manager Jim Nill believes Lehtonen can get it together.

“If you ask anyone, including Kari, he knows he’s been inconsistent,” said Nill. “He’s shown in the past he can be an elite goalie. Everybody has their ups and downs, and he’s just got to learn how to manage those good times with the bad times.”

On Friday the Stars recalled goaltender Anders Lindback from his conditioning assignment and reassigned Jussi Rynnas to Texas of the American Hockey League.

Lindback made two AHL starts posting a 1-0-1 record. The 26-year-old is expected to get a start this weekend as Dallas visits the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers in a back-to-back situation.

Five stats that illustrate Dallas’ woeful start


0-7-3: That is Dallas’ record against Central Division opponents this year — the Stars are the only team in the NHL yet to record an in-division win.

Repeat: The only team yet to win a game in its division.

It’s a dramatic turn of events for Lindy Ruff’s crew. Last year, Dallas kept its head above water in the ridiculously tough Central (13-11-5), which played a big role in snapping a five-year playoff drought.

As a comparison point, consider the Stars went 5-3-1 against the Wild and Predators last year, gaining 11 of a possible 18 points; this year, the Stars are already a combined 0-4-1 versus Minnesota and Nashville.

10: That’s the number of times Dallas has conceded five goals or more in a game this season (unsurprisingly, the Stars have lost all 10.) More concerning than the goals allowed, though, might be that Ruff suggested the latest instance — Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Jets — was the lousiest his team has been on defense to date.

“It started with our defense,” Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “It started in the first period with the first couple of shifts. We threw a couple of pucks in bad places. Iced the puck. Gave up a two-on-one on an easy neutral zone play.

“I thought it was the worst our defense has struggled and that affects scoring chances, our puck movement and our transition game.”

.890: That’s the Stars’ team save percentage, 29th in the NHL (the only team worse is Edmonton.) Dallas’ goaltending has been as troublesome as its defense this season; the team waived and demoted backup Anders Lindback after five lackluster appearances and replaced him with journeyman Jussi Rynnas, who’s posted a 4.57 GAA and .841 save percentage in his limited opportunities.

The lion’s share of the work this year has landed on Kari Lehtonen, and the results haven’t been great. The Finnish netminder has yet to provide consistent play and currently sits with a 3.10 GAA and .902 save percentage, and got called out by Ruff following Tuesday’s loss to the Jets.

“We needed save we didn’t get,” Ruff vented.

Two: That’s the number of goals scored by LW Ales Hemsky, who’s disappointed since signing a three-year, $12 million deal to join Dallas this summer. Overall, Hemsky has just seven points through 25 games and his 0.28 points-per-game average — the lowest of his 12-year career — has him on pace to score just 23 this season.

No surprise, then, that Hemsky’s been a healthy scratch as of late.

100: That’s the number of goals Dallas has conceded in its 28 games played, the first club to hit the century mark this season.

Comparatively speaking, Dallas allowed just 80 goals through 28 games last year.

Stars’ Ruff preaching a simple game versus divisional opponent


As the Dallas Stars visit the Colorado Avalanche tonight head coach Lindy Ruff says his team needs to play a simple game.

The Stars (9-9-5) are winless (0-5-3) against the Central Division nearly two months into the season.

“We’ve hurt ourselves by not keeping it simple,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “I want to see the same pace, the shifts probably even shorter, and we force them to come the length of the ice. And we make it tough on them, that we don’t hand them the rush situations that we’ve handed some teams in these back-to-back situations. And we’ve got to stick with it for 60 minutes.”

Complicating matters for the Stars is their play in back-to-back games.

As Mike Heika points out in his piece, Dallas is 0-3-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season and 4-11-1 going back to last season.

Part of the problem is finding Kari Lehtonen a suitable backup to handle the second game of the back-to-back.

Anders Lindback is 0-4-0 on the season with a 4.52 GAA and .845 save percentage.

Jussi Rynnas is 4-1-4 with a 2.53 GAA and .915 save percentage with the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, but has missed time due to an illness.

According to Ruff, the illness prevented Rynnas from getting a look with the parent club.

“We’ve talked about it, but Rynnas missed about 10 days with illness,” Ruff said. “We really had a plan in place, and it didn’t come to fruition for us, because of the illness.”

Lindback will get a chance at his first win of the season tonight when he goes head-to-head with Avalanche rookie Calvin Pickard.