Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kari Lehtonen Jersey Card

Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said last weekend that Kari Lehtonen had to step up and steal some games; he did just that in his very next outing.

Many observers were counting on the guy who finished 8th in Vezina voting last year to once again display the dominant and consistent form he's been known for (provided he stay healthy, I added), and while he hasn't been downright awful so far this season, his .906 save percentage ties his career-worst from his rookie year, and he had never been below .911 since, usually hovering between .916 and .919, with a career-high of .922 in 2011-12 (his 4 games in 2003-04 notwithstanding).

His 2.95 GAA is reminiscent of his days with the lowly Atlanta Thrashers though. I had featured him in Atlanta's white (then-home) uniform years ago, and thought I could do so again today with their so-awful-it's-hilarious alternate blue jersey, with pastel equipment:

It's card #UU-KL from the Ultra Uniformity sub-set of Fleer's 2009-10 Fleer Ultra set, by Upper Deck, featuring a dark blue game-used jersey swatch which could be from any of the three uniforms they wore then. I kind of dig the mask, too, what with the ''iced Thrasher'' logo on the forehead.

His masks usually feature a film, TV or video game character, and they're fun to watch evolve from one year to the next.

The second-overall pick of the 2002 NHL draft has also had a successful run representing Team Finland, perhaps the country with the best top-4 goalies in the world in the past decade. He has gold (2000) and silver (2001) medals from the U-18 World Championships, Olympic bronze (2014), World Championship silver (2007), World Cup silver (2004), and World Juniors silver (2001) and bronze (2002 and 2003).

And yet, on the verge of turning 31, he has perhaps 4 or 5 more good seasons in him.

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