Dallas Stars: Mike Valley

Kari Lehtonen has minor knee injury

May, 16, 2012
DALLAS -- Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen suffered a minor knee injury at the World Championship, according to Dallas goaltending coach Mike Valley.

Lehtonen was injured in Sunday's game between Finland and the United States when Team USA forward Bobby Ryan was tripped and then slid into Lehtonen, who left the game and did not return.

Valley said the injury, which is not serious, will likely sideline Lehtonen for two to three weeks. He should be fine after that.

Lehtonen will not play for Finland for the rest of the World Championship, which enters the playoff round on Thursday.

Thursday’s World Championship games (quarterfinals)
Canada vs. Slovakia, 5:00 a.m.
Russia vs. Norway, 7:45 a.m.
USA vs. Finland, 10:30 a.m.
Sweden vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.

Kari Lehtonen targeting next week for return

December, 22, 2011
FRISCO -- Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen took another step towards returning to action, practicing with the team Thursday for the first time since injuring his groin on November 28 in a game at Phoenix.

“It was fun, but it wasn’t as easy as I was hoping,” said Lehtonen, who has missed ten games due to the injury. “Tomorrow I hope I can do a little better.”

The Stars held an optional practice Thursday and Lehtonen, who has been skating and doing goalie drills with goaltending coach Mike Valley since December 10, took shots from some of his teammates during drills.

“He was solid. There’s a big difference between going out and doing goalie drills and then all of a sudden you have guys coming at you, guys that can shoot,” said Valley. “It’s going to take three or four solid practices for him to get comfortable, but today was a good start.”

Lehtonen will get in more time on the ice Friday and then take a couple of days off as the NHL breaks for Christmas.

“I think it’s good for me.” Lehtonen said of the break. “We’ve been going pretty hard for a couple weeks now. We’ve been going pretty hard on the ice and off the ice. [Friday] I just have to get more used to those harder shots and we’ll see after Christmas where I am.”

The thought has been that Lehtonen would return sometime after the NHL’s Christmas break, and everything appears to be on schedule.

“He’s right on track,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “He’ll be a game player right after Christmas at some point and before the new year, somewhere in that six day block.”

After the Christmas break the Stars play at St. Louis on Monday December 26th, host Columbus Thursday December 29th and then play the Boston Bruins at American Airlines Center on Saturday December 31st. Gulutzan said Lehtonen’s return won’t be based on the opponent, but on the goaltender’s readiness.

“It’s going to be whenever he is ready,” Gulutzan said. “We’re not going to pick the game. He’s a great goaltender, so we don’t have to dance around any of the games. When he is ready we are going to play him.”

With the Stars not practicing the two days prior to the St. Louis game, that one would appear to be a stretch. But the Columbus game or the New Year’s Eve tilt against Boston are more realistic.

“That St. Louis game comes a little fast for me, hopefully after that,” said Lehtonen.

Notes: Robidas out for Friday

*Defenseman Stephane Robidas will miss his second straight game with a foot injury when the Stars host Nashville Friday, coach Glen Gulutzan said. Robidas, who suffered the injury in Tuesday’s practice, could return for Monday’s game at St. Louis.

*Defenseman Philip Larsen, who has missed the last two games with a charley horse, is questionable for Friday’s game.

*Gulutzan said he and his staff would decide Thursday night or Friday morning on whether to start Richard Bachman or Andrew Raycroft in Friday’s game.

Thoughts on Glen Gulutzan

June, 18, 2011
Here are a few thoughts and observations on Glen Gulutzan, who was named head coach of the Dallas Stars on Friday.

*I don’t buy the theory that the Stars hired him because he was cheap. The NHL is a copycat league and teams have had some success recently going with talented, younger coaches coming out of the AHL. Gulutzan fits that mold and he fits the mold of the kind of coach that is being hired around the league this offseason. Plus, he was already in the Stars’ system. Kind of a no-brainer, if you ask me.

* I’ve watched quite a few Texas Stars games over the past two seasons – in person, on TV, via streaming video – and have always been impressed with how they played under Gulutzan. They played a pretty strong team game.

They didn’t give up much in the way of quality chances and the goaltending has been solid with guys like Brent Krahn, Matt Climie, Richard Bachman and Tyler Beskorowany over the past two years. Texas was top ten in goals against both seasons under Gulutzan.

The offensive struggled this past season, ranking 26th in the league when there was a pretty young group of forwards playing. In 2009-10 Texas ranked 12th in the AHL in scoring.

Overall, his teams down there were frustrating to play against and capitalized when the opposition cracked. It worked well and Texas had some success.

In Dallas, the personnel will be a little different. He’s going to have a little more offensive pop at his disposal.

“He’s been forced to be geared toward the defensive side of things in the American Hockey League just because we haven’t had the scorers for him,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said on NHL Home Ice Friday. “That’s the thing he is going to find with our club – players like Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow. We have guys that can do things offensively. I would suspect that we will be a much better two-way team.”

*It looks like Gulutzan got a vote of confidence from Jamie Benn, who played under Gulutzan during Texas’ run to the Calder Cup Final in 2010. Here’s a quote from Nieuwendyk during Friday morning’s conference call.

"His strengths are exactly what I feel this team needs – the structure and the style of play. The bottom line is that he gets it. He understands players, how to mesh players and get the most out of their abilities,” said Nieuwendyk. “We've seen that talking to the players like Jamie Benn, who went down to play for him in the Calder Cup playoffs. [Benn was] highly impressed with the structure, style of play, and the bench demeanor of Glen. I think that is going to translate well with our players.”

*One of the things I like about the hiring is that Gulutzan should have a really good grasp of the players in the Stars’ system. Obviously, he’s coached Dallas’ top minor league affiliate, but he’s coached many of the team’s top prospects at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan the past two seasons.

"Having coached those guys at the AHL level, having watched some of their transformation and now getting them up here, if you're there with them at the grassroots, you know them as a player. It's almost like you’re raising a child I think,” Gulutzan said. “Now you see them coming up, maturing and becoming effective players here. If you know their path I think it’s easier to relate with them and help them. You understand their strengths and weaknesses I think that experience will be valuable going forward with Tomas [Vincour], [Jamie] Benn, [Philip] Larsen and those types of players."

*One thing I found interesting when I went to Cedar Park to watch Texas in the playoffs in April was how defenseman Philip Larsen was used on the power play. He didn’t spend a lot of time at the point. Instead he would spend a lot of time down low or around the net. He scored two power play goals in the games I watched and both came he was down low, one off a deflection in the slot and another off a shot from the bottom of the circle. I just thought it was interesting wrinkle, or at least I thought so.

*Here’s something I remember about Gulutzan from Dallas Stars training camp last September. After camp ended some of the Stars personnel flew commercial from Prince Edward Island back to Dallas instead of the team’s charter. Gulutzan was one of them and he and some others ended up on my flight from Toronto to Dallas/Fort Worth. What did he do to kill time while waiting to board the flight? He got out his laptop, pulled up some video and was breaking it donw with defenseman Brad Lukowich. Was still doing it while I was boarding the plane. Gulutzan and Lukowich were the last people to board the plane, if I remember correctly. There's a coach making good use of his time.

*Don’t know what’s going to happen with the coaching staff, which currently includes associate coach Willie Desjardins, assistants Stu Barnes and Charlie Huddy and goaltending coach Mike Valley. Nieuwendyk really didn’t clear up to the issue other than to say the process of deciding what to do will start now that Gulutzan is on board.

Camp Canada

July, 2, 2010
It hasn't exactly the best kept secret ever, but the Dallas Stars made it official Friday: the team will open its 2010 training camp in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Prince Edward Island is the home province of Stars center Brad Richards and Stars forward Steve Ott. Officials in Charlottetown, where the camp will be held, worked long and hard to get the deal done, and it paid off.

“We’re very excited to start our 2010 Training Camp in Charlottetown, PEI,” said Stars Assistant General Manager Frank Provenzano. “Clifford Lee and Wayne Long worked very hard to put this deal together. We are really looking forward to bringing the Dallas Stars to PEI.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our city,” said Mayor Clifford Lee. “Charlottetown is an award-winning and internationally recognized event hosting destination. Today’s exciting announcement further reinforces our position in the event attraction market place. Our community looks forward to welcoming the Dallas Stars and extending our warm hospitality.”

The Stars will arrive on September 17 and then hold their first practice on September 18. There will also be intrasquad scrimmage at the Charlottetown Civic Centre on September 19. The Stars will also skate in PEI on September 20, before heading back to Dallas for a preseason game on September 21.

Free agent notes: Peters signs with Minnesota, Climie agrees to terms with Phoenix

Two Dallas unrestricted free agents, who were key players for the Texas Stars, have found new places to play next season.
Goalie Matt Climie has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes and center Warren Peters has signed a two-year deal with the Minnesota Wild.

Quotable: Valley on Raycroft signing

"We're getting a guy with a lot of experience and it's going to be great to have that competition. We didn't re-sign Matt Climie, so I think the opportunity is equally as good between Raycroft and [Brent] Krahn as to who is going to grab that back up position. That competition becomes so important because it makes each guy push that much harder. Obviously, Raycroft has had some success in the NHL. It's going to be a great opportunity for him. I am excited to have him in."

Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley on the signing of goaltender Andrew Raycroft

Valley's scouting report on Campbell

June, 26, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- Stars goal coach Mike Valley can't wait to work with Jack Campbell more often. Valley worked with Campbell for three days last summer and kept in contact with him for much of the last season. Here are Valley's thoughts on Campbell as he breaks down the type of player he is on the ice:

"He’s very composed, extremely quick and good on his feet," Valley said. "He can get from A to B and have proper positioning. He reads the play really, really well. He’s far beyond his years when it comes to that. The things he needs to work on is, much like all the young goaltenders, is utilizing his size, not overplaying situations. He’s really acrobatic, but sometimes it’s about controlling yourself and not overplaying situations. You want to always put yourself in a position to make that second and third save. He has that ability, but that's an area we're going to be working on a lot."

Valley couldn't stop talking about Campbell's work ethic. It's a big reason that scouts are convinced he is going to be such a solid goalie.

"He’s one of those kids that comes along once in a while that's a great person to have in your organization and will go through the wall to do whatever he can to make sure he develops and lives up to expectations," Valley said. "In my mind, from the goaltenders that I've worked with at his age, he’s at the top with his work ethic.

"Anybody that’s talked to him and seen him understands he's really special. He is such a mature kid for his age. Our scouts earlier said they would take the best player available, no matter what. That's what they did."



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