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Q & A With Kari Lehtonen

by Olivia Kiespert / Dallas Stars recently caught up with the Stars’ new goaltender Kari Lehtonen to get his thoughts on his trade, his role with the team and his interests outside of hockey.

Goaltending Coach Mike Valley with Lehtonen
What was your reaction to the trade?

KL: I was excited, but it was a new thing for me. I’ve never been traded before so it was a little bit of a weird feeling. At the same time, [where I was going to play] was kind of up in the air, so that helped me to prepare for it. I had heard different stories that I might be traded, then I got the call from Dallas and I was really excited. It’s great to have a new opportunity with a team like this.

How is your back? Are you taking any precautions to prevent reinjury?

KL: It’s good, the training staff is really helping me. Before I go on the ice, I have to do a lot to get the back warm and flexible. It’s no problem on the ice at all. I can live normally which is nice because that’s something I wasn’t able to do last year.

How do you see your role with the Stars for this season and beyond?

KL: I haven’t really thought about it too much. I’m just excited if I get some playing time, to get back and be a goalie again. I think it’s a great situation here now with Marty and me. I believe we’re both capable of helping this team and I think that’s a big key. There’s so many games coming up; the rest of the year you basically play every other day. That is a lot for just one goalie to try to carry that work load.

You played with the Atlanta Thrashers in the Easter Conference. What differences/changes are you anticipating now that you’re in the Western Conference?

KL: I think when you play against the same teams all the time, as a goalie you get to know the shooters pretty well. It’s going to take some time for me [to get to know the guys in the west] because I’ve never seen a lot of them play. I don’t know how they like to shoot or pass. It will take a little bit, but it’s also more exciting than playing the same team all the time.

Who would you least want to face in a one-on-one situation?

KL: There are a few guys. I think Alex Ovechkin has a pretty good record against me. I’ve played him a lot; we used to be in the same division. He’s one of those guys that you try to keep your eye on all the time when he’s on the ice. You have to just try and be ready to do something to stop his shots.

Do you have any superstitions?

KL: Not really anymore. I used to be really particular with what I do on game days. Now, I just try to be ready at game time and go from there.

What is something non-hockey related you are excited to do in Dallas?

KL: I really like football, and this is an exciting place for that. I want to go watch the Cowboys play at their new stadium. I also like all kinds of motor sports, so I want to go see some Nascar races or something. I use to do that in Atlanta and would like to go to the racetrack here, too. I would like to learn more about what’s out there. I really don’t know too much yet about what kind of city Dallas is.

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