Quotable: Kari Lehtonen

Here are some quotes from Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who spoke to the media on Tuesday. Lehtonen spoke just prior to players meeting with GM Jim Nill.

On the changes in the past few days

“It’s a big change for the team. I haven’t had a chance to meet the new GM. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and hopefully he can help us out.”

On what he thinks Jim Nill means by culture change

“We have to expect more from each other, for ourselves. Everybody has to get better. I am sure there are going to be new pieces added to the team and hopefully those guys can help us take the next step.”

His thoughts on last season

“Short, packed with a lot of games all the time. We had some ups and downs and definitely didn’t get the results we wanted. On a personal level, I don’t think I played as well as I wanted to. That will make me hungrier to work hard this summer and get ready for the next year. It’s going to be nice to be able to use these guys here to prepare for the season. It was a little iffy there at times with the lockout, trying to figure what is a good thing to do, where to skate. It’s going to be nice to go out there and skate with the goalie coach for the whole summer.”

On what the team needs to do to get where it needs to be

“Like I said before, we have to expect more from each other. There are too many games that kind of slip by and you have to be more ready. Winning is hard, we all know that, but we have to be ready to go the extra mile.”

On if the issue is players, talent, coaching; what does the team need to get to the next level

“I can only speak for myself. I felt like I can get better and do a better job. It’s the only thing I can worry about. I am sure everybody does that, they take some time off and come up with a plan of what do you need to do as a player to get better and as a coach to get better. I think that is the only way to go.”

On coach Glen Gulutzan, whose future with the team will be decided by Nill

“I have nothing bad to say about him. He’s been great to me and he’s been a great leader for this team, pushing everybody to get better. I have nothing but good things to say about him.”

On his leadership role, now that he is one of the longer tenured players on the team or are goalies different

“Goalies are a little different, but still this year I felt that, especially when guys started going out the door, you realize that you are one of those players that younger guys look up to. That was a little bit of a new situation for me. I’ve just been hanging in the background and doing my job, but that is something that is part of this and I am excited to take bigger steps in being a leader off the ice, too. That’s something I want to do and I think I need to do.”

On if he’ll play for Finland at the World Championship

“No, I am not going to be going. I want to spend some time with my family. I want to take some time off and be a dad. That’s exciting. I can start a little earlier to work out and skate and I should be good to go.”

On if Finland asked him to play

“Yes. It’s always nice when they show that they like you. I thought it was the best decision for me going forward and for this team here.”

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