Forward Tyler Seguin and goaltender Kari Lehtonen were not on the ice as the Dallas Stars took their practice to the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Farmers Branch Wednesday morning.
“[Seguin] had a little bit of a muscle thing. We gave him a day off,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.
Lehtonen wasn’t at practice because he was at the dentist having some work done. The trip to the dentist had nothing to do with Lehtonen sitting out Tuesday’s game. Lehtonen could have played against Anaheim, but Ruff said he just decided to go with Dan Ellis. The Stars coach said moving forward he’ll be picking spots to get Ellis into games to give Lehtonen an occasional break.
“We’re going to have to use Dan. It’s tough having to play every two or three weeks. With the schedule coming up getting a little busier, in timely fashion, we can drop Dan into play games,” Ruff said.
Lehtonen had started 14 straight games prior to sitting out last night’s 6-3 win over the Ducks.
“As I said the day before it’s not the physical thing, it’s the mental burn that is really tough,” Ruff said. “You have to prepare mentally every day and the day before a game. Sometimes if you have that two or three days before a game where you are not preparing it keeps you a lot fresher.”
Ruff is happy with how Lehtonen has handled the heavy workload. Lehtonen is 10-5-2 with a 2.28 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
“Lehts has played almost every game, and he’s handled it well,” Ruff said. “It’s up to me to balance that situation out because we’ve asked more, he’s given us more and he’s given us real good goaltending. Now it’s just balancing out a tougher schedule. He’s going to play the bulk of the games. It’s up to me to drop Danny in when I think we need him.”
Stars get help in goal for Wednesday’s practice
With Kari Lehtonen not practicing due to his trip to the dentist, the Stars brought in Thomas Speer to man the nets with Dan Ellis for Wednesday’s practice. Speer played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and at UMass Boston. He played briefly in the ECHL and is now a goaltending coach locally.
“He was pretty good, actually,” said Ruff. “He had a good day. Even the guys commented. He hasn’t played in two years.”
Stars draw good crowd in Farmers Branch
With school out for the Thanksgiving holiday, there was a pretty good crowd on hand at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Farmers Branch for Wednesday’s practice. Stars coach Lindy Ruff is in favor of taking practices to the various rinks around the area.
“I think they are good for the team,” Ruff said. “I think some of that interaction and the people getting to see you firsthand and close up and shake your hand, sign an autograph and say hello is a great thing for the players. The players need to stay grounded. They need to be reminded they were one of those little guys standing there looking kind of google-eyed at the pros. This should put a smile on their face.”
Stars practice lineup
Here’s how the Stars lined up in practice Wednesday. Kari Lehtonen and Tyler Seguin weren’t only players missing. Defenseman Aaron Rome did not skate due to an injury suffered at practice earlier in the week.
Jamie Benn – Dustin Jeffrey – Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Ray Whitney – Shawn Horcoff – Rich Peverley
Antoine Roussel – Vernon Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.