They Aren't Killing Kari, And They Aren't Committing Hari-Kari (They're Trying To Make The Playoffs)

Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 1:29 PM CT
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Razor With An Edge Blog

There is a Japanese phenomenon known as Karoshi, in which employees are worked to death.

Some seem to think the Stars might be guilty of this in regards to their goaltender.

Tonight in Montreal will be Kari Lehtonen's 10th consecutive start, a season high and a taxing little run considering the schedule no doubt. But here are some things to consider:

#1 Prior to this stretch he hadn't started more than 4 in a row since late October/early November

#2 The big Finn (or 'Iso Suomi') has had plenty of down time. He had over a month without the mental and physical grind of games in December, when he was out with a groin injury. And, like every other Star not named Jamie Benn, he got 5 days away from the rink at the All-Star break in late January.

#3 He's only played 23 games over the past 3 months - Twenty-three.

It's simple to me, go with your best (within reason) until your best simply won't be good enough, ie. mathematically impossible to get into top 8.

And should you get down big relatively early in a game, pull him. Ed Belfour told me that after getting yet another hook when the two were in Chicago, Mike Keenan explained to an - at the time - tempestuous Eagle (as if there is another kind) that if he was going to start Eddie in 70+ games he was going to have to pull him in a somewhat pre-determined number of them. I get that.

Someone had a terrific analogy about coaches and #1 goaltenders. They said starters are like a drug habit coaches can't shake; when the pressure mounts they just keep reaching for the pill bottle.

No need to call Dr Drew on Gully's behalf. Not yet...

Now back to my bento box of broadcast coverage.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 13 5 10 2 15
J. Spezza 13 5 8 0 13
C. Eakin 13 1 7 -4 8
A. Goligoski 13 4 3 -6 7
P. Sharp 13 4 2 -4 6
P. Eaves 9 3 3 3 6
R. Faksa 13 3 2 2 5
M. Janmark 12 2 3 -3 5
C. Sceviour 11 2 3 1 5
J. Klingberg 13 1 3 -5 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 6 3 0 .899 2.81
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .865 3.29
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