Lumme to re-join Stars this week

Defenceman Jyrki Lumme will be rejoining the Dallas Stars by week's end after a leave of absence to visit his wife, Minna, and their two children in Finland.

For the time being, Lumme's family will remain in Europe instead of joining him in Dallas. His wife has been reluctant to relocate to the U.S., as originally planned, since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

As happy as Stars GM Bob Gainey is to have Lumme back, the club was hoping for a resolution to his family situation.

"I would have liked to have seen some plan in place that would have changed the environment, the way it's been," Gainey, who spoke to Lumme on Monday, told the Dallas Morning News.

Lumme left the team Oct. 29 in New York, after receiving Gainey's permission.

The long-distance relationship with his wife seemed to take a toll on Lumme's game. He was pointless and minus-3 in 11 games.

Gainey said Lumme sounded far more upbeat than he did when he left the team.

"From the person that I spoke with a week ago in New York City to the person I spoke with today, he sounded much more solid," Gainey said. "I think the opportunity to spend some time and see what was happening with his wife and kids has helped to reassure him that everything is OK with them. He feels like he can come back and fulfil his obligations."