Sturm Blog: A Few Items...
Thursday, 03.4.2010 / 10:50 AM CT / Bob Sturm Blog
By Bob Sturm
1) - Speaking of the stiffest road trip of the year, I will be taking part in said trip, as our little Bob and Dan radio show makes our 5th annual road trip with the Stars to Pittsburgh, Washington, and Buffalo. Whenever you are part of a team's traveling party you really, really want them to do well if for no other reason that a winning trip is always a happy trip - but this is an extremely difficult test of hockey against 3 of the finest teams on the East Coast. In a playoff race where every single point is most crucial, this next week may tell us all we need to know about the Stars being playoff contenders or pretenders in 2010. Strap it on.
2) - The deadline passed, and the Stars held true to their word earlier in the week and has decided to continue on with the team that they have. We can certainly debate a number of aspects of that decision making process, but we weren't kidding when we said that Joe Nieuwendyk is a deliberate and careful GM before he does anything quick that he might regret. He realizes that sometimes the lifespan of a GM is based on your portfolio of moves, and you certainly don't want to do anything that might require a do-over.
So, they keep Steve Ott and hand him that 4 year extension that he wanted. This is good news to those of us who feared he was on his way out because of the natural order of things in pro sports. A guy sees his mates get paid and puts in his hard work and stays quiet. At some point he wants to feel loved or he looks elsewhere for that adoration in free agency. This was close to happening here, but in the end it was clear that Steve Ott knew that this was the only organization he ever knew and that he didn't want to start over somewhere else over a few dollars. The Stars wanted to keep him, but knowing that every dollar counts these days they had to do it at the right price. Thankfully, a few days before the deadline (and that is no coincidence since an extension might be the only thing that kept him from being dealt) both sides found the right number and shook hands.
Also, the Marty Turco story continues. It is tough to write too much with conviction here, because the landscape changes all of the time. Over the Olympic break, you wondered if he would be dealt. When they let Alex Auld leave, you wondered if they were considering an extension for Turco past this season. Then the Kings game jumbled everything again. I have no idea where this thing is headed, and as soon as I tell you I have it figured out, it will change anyway. We do know this: The Stars feel that Marty Turco is their #1 goalie in the spring of 2010. In all important games, I imagine he will get the call. So, let's see what the next chapter says.
3) - So where does that leave the debut of Kari Lehtonen? Soon, very soon. Not likely tonight. Maybe Saturday. Maybe Monday. But, I think keep Turco means that they will be judicious with Lehtonen's starts and set him up for a successful 4 or 5 starts in the final 20 games.
But as we know, things change. What doesn't change is the need for results - tonight.
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