Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last five games with a groin injury, said he expects to be ready to play when the Dallas Stars take on the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center Thursday night.
“It feels good,” Lehtonen said after an optional practice in Frisco. “Yesterday came a little too fast for me, today it felt great and ready to go.”
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said it appears Lehtonen is ready as well.
“He looks that way today,” Gulutzan said. “I haven’t talked to them since they got off the ice, but it certainly looks that way right now.”
The Stars are 2-2-1 in the five games Lehtonen has missed. Lehtonen is 7-2-1 this season with a 2.12 goals against average and .934 save percentage.
“Everything started well. Of course, I didn’t want to get hurt but that happened and I just have to find my game again,” Lehtonen said. “Hopefully I can continue where I left off. That’s what I am trying to do.”
Erik Cole arrives
Forward Erik Cole, acquired from Montreal Tuesday for Michael Ryder and a third round pick, was in Frisco Wednesday morning.
Cole was not on the ice today. He’ll practice with his new teammates for the first time Thursday, when the team holds its morning skate prior to the game against the Oilers.
“Definitely a busy 24 hours, getting back and getting some things packed up, saying goodbye to the family,” Cole said. “There was the early flight here this morning, meeting with the doctors and getting the full tour. It will be nice to have my head hit the pillow tonight, get a good rest, come to the rink anxious to get on the ice, have a good morning skate and be ready to go tomorrow night.”
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he’s been doing his homework on Cole, which included a chat with Ray Whitney, who played with Cole in Carolina.
“He’s a big, strong guy that likes to go to the net,” said Gulutzan. “He plays hard, gives us size, speed and strength. That will be a nice acquisition for us.”
Cole is a left shot who plays right wing. Gulutzan said he’s mulling over the options of where Cole might fit in with the forward group, but he wouldn’t reveal specifics yet.
“I’ve got some ideas and I am going to sit down and think about it,” he said. “I would guess the right side.”
Injury notes: Whitney skates; Rome out six weeks
Forward Ray Whitney, who has missed the last 12 games with a broken bone in his foot, skated during today’s optional practice in Frisco.
“He’s on target to get in a few practices next week,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said defenseman Aaron Rome is going to be out a while with a foot injury.
“I want to say six weeks,” Nieuwendyk said.
Nieuwendyk said defenseman Philip Larsen, who has missed the last two games, could be back soon.
“He got hit in the shoulder, he’s nursing that,” Nieuwendyk said. “I don’t think he’ll be that long. He’s not on IR as of now, but we could make it retroactive if it went beyond a week. I don’t think he’ll be that long.”