E-Mail Subscriptions to the Blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pavelec to Atlanta; Lehtonen is "ill"

Ondrej Pavelec has been called up to the Atlanta Thrashers. The Chicago Wolves, in turn, are depending on Dan Turple. Kari Lehtonen, who has had a rough season so far, is being benched due to being ill, according to several blogs, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Blueland Blog.

The call for trading Lehtonen from Atlanta fans also means there is a possibility of losing Pavelec to Atlanta. What does Atlanta get, if Pavelec skates out there? This blog followed Pavelec through his season, which ended with a Calder Cup win in June. The Chicago defense last season was pretty good, with Boris Valabik, Nathan Oystrick and others, who are likely to see the NHL soon, in front of the net.

Nevertheless, at that level—post season and league championship, a team faces significant challenges. He made some spectacular saves at the right time. He was cool under fire. Losing a game didn’t phase him, coming back in the next game. He is not a guy who can be used every day for 82 games and is ready for post-season play. He definitely needs breaks to be at his best.

What I’m describing is a young goalie that is very focussed. Why is he playing in Chicago and not the NHL? Because Lehtonen is still a better goalie. Or he was last season.

So what changed? Well, here is a non-hockey story. You connect the dots.

Years ago, when Lehtonen was in Chicago, he purchased a new car. I don’t remember what the make or the model of the vehicle was. But it was a luxury car and it was new.

Lehtonen was young and flush with cash. After a month he traded the vehicle in for another new car. Again another luxury model. He accepted a trade-in value for the month old car that was about 1/3 of its new value. He was taken.

John Anderson, who was still the coach of the Chicago Wolves, and is now the coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, took Lehtonen to task. He even used this incident in talking to reporters and fans about how immature players in the AHL are.

I suspect that Anderson regrets shooting off his mouth now. I suspect Lehtonen will play much better somewhere else. Yes, the Wolves have lost a great goalie. But so has Atlanta.

No comments: