Monday, August 30, 2010
Still no decision from Jere Lehtinen
By Mark Stepneski
Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said Monday that there is still no decision from Jere Lehtinen, who is deciding if he wants to play his 15th NHL season.
“I met with him the other day and I don’t think he’s really made up his mind,” Nieuwendyk said.
Lehtinen, who has battled injuries the past three seasons, has spent the summer contemplating if he wants to put his body through the rigors of another campaign.
A Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, reported Monday that Lehtinen is giving serious consideration to not coming back. The newspaper noted that Lehtinen has worked out less this summer, and that's a sign that he's not playing.
“I don’t think he’s worked out as much as he usually does, but he has had a few workouts lately,” said Nieuwendyk. “He hasn’t really made up his mind, and we haven’t put a ton of pressure on him.”
And it doesn’t appear there is the pressure of any kind of deadline. Training camp may be less than three weeks away, but that isn’t necessarily a deadline. The Finnish newspaper article indicated Lehtinen might not be at Stars training camp. Nieuwendyk acknowledged that could be the case, but he added that doesn't mean Lehtinen would be out of the picture. The Stars GM left the door open that Lehtinen could miss camp and join the team some time down the road.
“I think there’s a chance of that. That option is there,” Nieuwendyk said. “Right now it’s up to Jere. I think now that’s he back and his kids are in school he’ll be able to get a better sense of what he wants to do in the next few weeks."
And as of right now, Lehtinen hasn't made a definitive decision one way or the other.
Nieuwendyk said there was nothing new to report on restricted free agents James Neal and Matt Niskanen, who are still unsigned. The Stars GM did say he expects talks with both to pick up this week.
The Stars said doctors in Dallas will at some point further evaluate defense prospect Hubert Labrie, who suffered a knee injury recently at the training camp of the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Labrie, who is expected to be out a while, was scheduled to play for the Stars are the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan starting on Sept. 11. The team said there is no plan to replace Labrie on the roster right now since the Stars still have seven defensemen on the Traverse City squad.