Skip to content

Lehtonen ‘not doing very well’ with concussion, so it’s Timmy time in Dallas

Mar 10, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

The Stars are fighting for their playoff lives and just lost their starting goalie to injury, yet nobody’s freaking out.


Because their No. 2 goalie isn’t a run-of-the-mill backup.

It’s Tim Thomas, acquired last Wednesday in a trade deadline deal with Florida. The 40-year-old, less than three years removed from winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP during Boston’s Stanley Cup championship, is now primed to be Dallas’ No. 1 after Kari Lehtonen suffered a concussion on this nasty collision with Minnesota forward Erik Haula:

Looks like Thomas will be the guy in goal for the next while. Ruff — who, prior to Lehtonen getting hurt, suggested that Thomas would get a shot at the No. 1 gig anyway — knows what Thomas brings to the table, and is excited to see it.

“He’s not your conventional type of goaltender, but we knew that going in,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s a battler, he’s athletic. He’s been in the fire before and knows how to handle it, and that experience can help us.”

The big question now is, how much can Dallas rely on Timmy?

He was a workhorse at times for Florida this season, serving as the Panthers’ goalie of record for nearly a full month straight:


So, it stands to reason he’s ready for Dallas’ stretch drive. The Stars play 11 times over the next 19 days, including back-to-backs tonight (vs. Columbus) and tomorrow (vs. St. Louis), then on Mar. 28-29 against the Preds and Blues.

Dallas GM Jim Nill said he made the Thomas deal because the Stars are “serious about making the playoffs and making a statement in the playoffs.” And Ruff knows the importance of postseason goaltending, as his deepest runs in Buffalo came on the strength of outstanding performances by Dominik Hasek (’99 Stanley Cup Final) and Ryan Miller (’06 and ’07 Conference Finals).

So, they made the move expecting Thomas to play a role — maybe not one this big, but a role nonetheless. As for Thomas, he says he’s just excited to be part of the playoff chase.

“The intensity … it’s fun to be a part of,” he said. “To me, it makes it easier to play.”

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    would be pretty impressive if he got them into the western conference playoffs after not playing for so long and being almost 40 yrs old. that said i think the team in front of him has enough talent to do it even if he isnt stellar, i think he just has to keep them in games early, which is well within his ability.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Not sure what you’re talking about, he’s been playing a fair amount with Florida this year. If he still has any rust from being off last year by this point then I have no idea why anyone would want him to start games.

      A bit of a lucky break for Dallas to have picked him up though, not being able to foresee Lehtonen getting injured like this. Certainly an improvement over an average backup or an AHL callup in most instances if Thomas can get past his groin issues from earlier in the year.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        i dont think the plan was for him to play as much as he will now in dallas is all i mean really. health wise it’s a feat itself since it looks like he will now make 50+ starts this year only missing a short time with the groin – that is of course if he makes it to the end of the year.

      • elvispocomo - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        Dallas noted as a part of the trade they’d give Thomas the chance to start so he could have won the starting job regardless of injury. Whether he’ll be able to hold it now with 3 separate times where he’s dealt with a groin injury while in Florida is another question.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        a situation where tim thomas takes kari lehtonen’s job outside of injury? seriously?

      • elvispocomo - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Don’t tell that to me, tell that to Dallas.

  2. pastabelly - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Thomas was acquired to give Lehtonen some rest. It’s doubtful that Thomas can be effective at 40 playing in 11 games in 19 days. Dallas may have to go to Thomas’ backup in 2-3 of those games, but there is no doubt that the Thomas pick up was both good and lucky. Nill gets credit for the Seguin and Thomas deals and comes in second to Patrick Roy for NHL executive of the yeare. Roy is the GM and coach and has excelled at both and that gives him the edge here, but Nill has been on fire with his moves.

    • einjzmolf - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      He held those titles when he was with the Quebec Remparts. He’s just the head coach in Colorado.. Greg Sherman is the GM.

      • einjzmolf - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        PS. ‘In name only’ is still GM. Roy is President of hockey operations.

      • einjzmolf - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Also, what apart from making an obvious choice with a first overall pick, has he done to be considered ‘excelling’ at ‘hockey operations’? Holding off on Stastny’s contract, and probably letting him become a FA? I’m sure everyone will love him for that!

      • pastabelly - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Sherman was stripped of all of his power. Patrick Roy controls everything. As a Bruins fan, I have a tough time saying this, but Roy is as brilliant in a suit as he was behind a mask.

      • rbbbaron - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        As far as Roy’s time with the Avs (in a suit) goes, as best I can tell he managed to take an under-achieving team full of young offensive talent and turn them into an over-achieving team. Part of that relates to Varlamov’s play. I don’t see how you can pin their success this season to the GM decision-making since Roy rejoined the organization…
        I respect Nill and he does deserve credit for picking up Thomas as insurance and making a good hockey trade for Seguin, but those aren’t the only things he’s done as GM in Dallas…

  3. hockey412 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Gad that hit just gets uglier and dirtier every time I see it. I was surprised to hear so many analysts (along with, no surpirse, Milbury) comment that he was just tripped up going to the net hard. If that kind of contact is enough to trip your dumb as* up, then you’ve got no business going to the net in the first place, at least not in the NHL. Deport the bum.

    • getadealdonealready - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      If it was so dirty, then why no suspension or fine.

      Bottom line is it was a good hockey play, and the contact was made look worse because he had his left leg slashed, then his right leg hooked out from under him. It’s too bad a goalie got hurt but it was in no way a cheap play.

      • hockey412 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        I’m not buying that in the slightest – I’ve seen guys get driven toward the goalie much worse than that and at least make the slightest bit of effort to avoid…all I saw him do was lower his head and go in HARD. Hell I’ve seen guys make an effort to avoid the goalie even if they aren’t on their skates, which he was…what effort did you see?

        And how in the world are you calling this a “good hockey play”? Milbury, is that YOU?

      • c9castine - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        Mil bury called it what it was a punishable offense but not from a suspension. The 5 and game we re sufficient. He didn’t try to avoid the net but he does have the right to go to that area. He also hurt himself…he was carrying the puck and it’s really hard to suspend somebody here.

        Not many guys are going to willingly go head to head with somebody. Think about that, that’s silly. Equal chance of hurting yourself. I’m sure once he realized he was committed to running into lehtonen his next concern was ducking under the cross bar.

    • credible316 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      He was skating at a very fast pace and was tripped by the defender. As for lowering the helmet, what would you do? Take one to the face or protect yourself with your helmet?

      I don’t think you have any business delegating who can and who can’t drive to the net.

      • hockey412 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        It’s a comment, an opinion…I seriously doubt that Haula would take it seriously.

        I’ve heard people repeatedly say how he was tripped up. he wasn’t, he was on his skates when they hit. That’s the bottom line – yes, i’d expect WAY more effort to do ANYTHING to avoid hitting the goalie in the head, with his head. He didn’t do anything at all that resembled an effort to get out of the way. He’s got every right to go to that area, but no right to check a player that is not checkable…it was a clear violation of the rules – that part is not arguable. The only argument to make is to what extent is it punishable. I don’t feel the penalty quite does it.

      • spiciercheez - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        You are a clown if you can’t see that his right skate was tripped up. Going full speed and losing an edge while a couple of feet away from the goalie, and you expect him to avoid it haha. Wow man, I’d love to see you play!!! You must be the best skater of all time!

      • credible316 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        Do you honestly think he was not tripped and had control the entire time?

      • hockey412 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        I believe if he was tripped he’d have been on the ice – I do see contact with his feet, and then I see him continue to drive to the net. People are looking at minimal contact and using it as justification for a hit like this…I don’t see it. I also see him up on his feet, preparing for a head to head hit, instead of doing ANYTHING else to get out of the way. Even on knee on knee hits the leagues will look at whether there was attempt to get out of the way. he did not. at all. I mean, honestly – AT ALL.

        For what it’s worth, I’m just stirring the pot, it’s Monday and I need an arguement. I have nothing against Haula, actually I have read he’s a good character guy. However – if I’m Ruff, I’m ticked. No effort, at all, to avoid a hit that could have been even worse. If you are going to go the net that hard, you better be able to improvise if the Dmen don’t just let you. He’s got about one more of these hits in him before his head is officially hunted.

      • boatinb - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        First, it was an unfortunate ugly hit and I feel bad for Lehtonen and hope he recovers soon. Regarding Haula, there is no way he had enough time to adjust his trajectory after being tripped at the last second. Hockey412, you act like he was trying to take out the goalie with a check. If you replay it in slow motion, you see the contact to both feet which was significant. If you watch it normal speed, it looks like he did nothing to avoid the nasty hit. In reality, he was just trying to manage the impending collision with little room at a very high speed. Haula had a total of 8 minutes in penalties for the year going into this game. He’s a very classy player and I hate to see his name dragged in the mud for an accident.

  4. jcmeyer10 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I’d be watching for a pattern of withdrawls from Timmy’s bank account just to make sure he wasn’t behind this.

    All kidding aside, hope Lehtonen gets better. The heads is nothing to mess with.

  5. strictlythedanks - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Get well soon Kari, hate to see a head hit the cross bar like that but in reality the 5 min penalty was more than enough along with they tying goal that came with it. They way I saw it it could have easily been just a tripping penalty on dallas’ d man.

  6. nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    I’ll offer no opinion on what Haula’s penalty should be, but to those insisting he was tripped, I urge you to watch the replay very carefully and with an open mind. There are two Dallas players defending: 6 Trevor Daley is seen backing up with his stick out to his left. He makes no contact with Haula before the crash. 20 Cody Eakin can be seen coming in from the right and swiping at the puck and making contact with Haula’s leg. Eakin’s lower leg also contacts Haula’s leg. Neither contact keeps Haula from skating on or knocks him down. He then crashes into Lehtonen after making no visible effort to avoid him.

    • spiciercheez - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      go bale some hay or put some more slop in the pig trough, cowboy.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Cheez, a foolish ad hominem attack. Impressive. It also seems to make an assumption about where I live or which team I cheer for. I am very definitely not a Stars fan and have never lived in Texas.

      • spiciercheez - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        I don’t care. You are an idiot if you think Eakin’s skate clipping Haula’s had zero effect on that play. I guess the NHL didn’t see it that way either so maybe move on? I figured only a Stars fan would be blind enough to see it how you did. Carry on.

    • credible316 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      Did you even watch the replay or are you just trying to get us going?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1382)
  2. P. Kane (1273)
  3. S. Matthias (1150)
  4. D. Carcillo (1078)
  5. M. Zuccarello (1078)