As we count down the hours to opening night, I am starting to see my "In box" fill up with interested parties who have topics on the Dallas Stars that they seek answers to.
I am here for you, hockey people.
One topic that is getting some play seems to be the whereabouts of Jere Lehtinen. Heck, I have even heard from a few hockey fans who want to know who Jere is skating with and on what line.
I hate to break this news to those of you who are not aware, but um, Jere isn't here right now.
Where is he? At his home. I think in Coppell. But, his career in the NHL and in Dallas is at least temporarily on hiatus.
Honestly? I think that we have probably seen the last of #26. At least until they hang his number in the rafters.
So, why has this been so quietly handled by all? Well, there have been some reports in the media here and there, but since the Stars have not had to deal with nearly the same amount of questions about Lehtinen's future as they have Mike Modano's or Marty Turco's - I guess it has somewhat fallen through the cracks.
So, has Jere already retired? No. In fact, a few of you have claimed you have seen him skating hard to get ready. Joe Nieuwendyk told me that he knew nothing about that. He also told me that if Jere expressed interest in playing another year that the Stars would be happy to listen and consider the idea.
But, he is not under contract to any NHL team, and if we have seen the end of our Selke hero, then I suppose this is somewhat fitting. No player has been quieter off the ice in the history of the franchise than Jere. He would do his job with great energy and presence, but when it came to horn tooting or great quotes, you better check with somebody else.
I suppose it stands to reason that he would leave quietly, too.
Could Lehtinen return for part of the season? Perhaps. But, at his current age and condition, the days of 82 games seem to be behind him. So, I suppose, if he is interested and ready around Christmas, and if the Stars feel they are a player away from playoff contention, perhaps we have a bit of a marriage.
I would hate to think that one of the pillars of the franchise has seen the finish line without many of his biggest fans even knowing it.
But, in this summer of transition, I suppose you can understand if Jere doesn't know what to make of the Dallas Stars organization without Mike Modano or Marty Turco, either. Who does?
The Stars are turning the page and maybe so is Jere Lehtinen. I would say that you should stay tuned for the next turn in his road, but maybe there isn't one as a player in the NHL.
If this is true, I can comfortably say that his #26 will be retired in a few years. Besides his friend, #9, there isn't a bigger no brainer, in my estimation.
He is an amazing testament to what being a professional is all about. If the end has already happened, then I wish him the very best.
But, I would also tell him to feel free to attempt to make this team better this season if he still has the urge.