Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who is that masked man?

The Thrashers are recalling goalie Kari Lehtonen from Chicago. For those of you who have forgotten what he looks like, here's a reminder:

He leaves Chicago (presumably) fully healed from his two back surgeries, and with the defect in his back fixed hopefully he'll be sharper than ever. He was 1-1-2, allowing 11 goals in 4 games. So, yes, I guess you can safely say that he's back in form.

The interesting thing is, what do you do with three goalies? Waddell has been pretty adamant in saying that he won't carry three, and during last night's town hall meeting he wasn't very gung ho on Lehtonen. From Falconer's re-cap:

Q What about the three goalies? Waddell: We're pretty happy with what we have seen this year. Goaltending has not be our biggest problem. Mannino is tearing it up in the AHL. We will not keep 3 goalies at NHL level, not enough starts or practice time to go around. The market for goalie trade is not good though, return will be very modest. [Later another goalie question was asked but I'm going to put both answers here.] 2nd question was basically "what's the problem with Kari?" Waddell pointed to his lack of dependability and indicated that in the locker room the players no longer feel like they can count on him and perhaps they don't play as hard for him as they do for Hedberg.

This is more or less what Waddell had to say at the beginning of the season's town halls, though I find what he said regarding Hedberg interesting. Lots of individuals in the blogosphere and on the message boards have been commenting that the team plays harder for Moose, and some comments from Kovalchuk hinted at that as well. As outstanding as Hedberg has been for the Thrashers this season, I absolutely cannot see him getting moved, especially when Pavelec needs a mentor so badly. Kari does not need to be that guy. I think Lehtonen is a great guy, and a goalie with scads of ability. That being said, Pavelec needs a mentor who is more consistent and more "been there, done that." Moose's definitely been lots of places, and done lots of stuff. Wait… that came out wrong.

Anywho, as I blathered on about over at The Hockey Writers, one of the possible destinations for Kari is St. Louis. The in-depth talks between the Blues and Thrashers regarding Kovalchuk could very well have included a mention or two of Lehtonen.

On the not so good news front, Boris seems to be gone for the season, and Bettman's finally wise to the owners. It seems to be a fairly thinly veiled "ship up or get the hell out" statement from Bettman. Very judicious… and about three years too late. Way to go.


Wayne stuck in AL said...

Lovely Laura:
Waddell and Co. could not simply leave Lehtonen down in Chicago after his rehab; waivers would have been involved to keep him down there.

Laura (aka Hildymac) said...

Oh, i know. It's the only reason he got called up before break. Waddell's made it pretty clear that we won't have 3 goalies. I bet a dime to a dollar he is the odd bird out, so to speak.

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