Kukla's Korner Hockey
from B.J. Rains of FSMidwest,
How good has Jaroslav Halak been and has he done even better than expectations?
Darren Pang: “When he grew up he liked watching Patrick Roy and Curtis Joseph play and that’s something because here he is in St. Louis and he plays in such control so he’s not like Curtis Joseph and he’s not as methodical as Patrick, but he’s just so calm, cool and collected, more than either one of those two. But his play doesn’t surprise me one bit. Not one bit. When you watch or scout or evaluate goalies, and I did the Olympics last year and I evaluated every goalie in the Olympics. I was prepared for every country and I watched Halak tape on every flight going back and forth to see how he was and what Canada was going to have to face because I was working for a Canadian network. Then I saw the playoffs. So it’s not a fluke. You don’t play that well under pressure and handle adversity as well as he has and then be surprised by it. I’m not surprised one bit. This is Jaroslav Halak. This is how he plays. It’s not a fluke. It’s not a 10-game role he’s one. This is the way he plays.
“And Jaroslav Halak never reacts or shows up his teammates. If three goals go in and they are all horrendous mistakes by somebody in front of him, he will never make that player look bad and I think that’s why his teammates love him.
more regarding the Blues…
JJ’s Three Cheers: 11/01/10 - Plus Thoughts on Tampa’s Continued Hot Start and Stamkos Contract Talk
Perhaps you enjoyed a day of rest from NHL hockey yesterday. Or, more likely, you were angered, annoyed or even lost at some point last night, with not a shot on goal to be had anywhere. (Or maybe, even, you were like me: Incensed at an awful showing in your weekly football picks – and I mean awful – and left without the catharsis of switching to a different sport at day’s end, left only to the comfort of Dexter and his serial-killing ways… Whatever the case may be, we (or I, that is) have some catching up to do with JJ’s Three Cheers overdue from Friday and Saturday.
Now then, quickly, from Friday first:
***Cheers to Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien, whose transition back to defense has gone quite well in his new home. On Friday night, Byfuglien netted the O.T. winner in fantastic fashion for Atlanta, on an end-to-end rush reminiscent of legendary offensive defensemen of years gone by, to top Buffalo 4-3. (I’ll link it twice, actually, because you need to make sure you’ve seen this play.)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, claude+giroux, dustin+byfuglien, henrik+lundqvist, jay+mcclement, jeff+skinner, steven+stamkos
from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
His teammates have made the humble Halak feel at ease. And, oh, by the way, he has introduced himself by leading the club to a 5-1-2 start, shaking hands with consecutive shutouts over the last two games. You can call him “Jaro,” or you can call him “Zero,” just keep calling him.
“It’s been a combination of things, but Jaro’s been playing amazing,” forward Alex Steen said. “He’s been making key stops at big times. When we have a breakdown, he makes the save. He’s so sound, he doesn’t get stressed about it.
“There’s going to be shifts where you get on a carousel, where one bad thing after another happens. But he always has the same mentality back there. He’s just incredibly sound.”
This morning’s salute to the top three stars from last night’s NHL contests:
***Cheers to Jaroslav Halak of the St. Louis Blues, who stopped 24 shots in Nashville to top the Predators, handing the home club their first regulation loss of the season. This was Halak’s second consecutive shutout, after blanking Pittsburgh on Saturday and the former Montreal Canadien now boasts a scoreless streak of 151:15 dating back to a second period goal by Chicago’s Brent Seabrook last Friday. So far this year, Halak is certainly proving that last season’s playoff success was no fluke, with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brandon+yip, chris+stewart, daniel+winnik, jaroslav+halak, patrice+bergeron, t.j.+galiardi, tim+thomas, tyler+seguin
via Josh Cooper of the Tennessean,
With his arms folded in the Nashville locker room, Jordin Tootoo wore a look of confusion after Nashville’s 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
With 6:49 remaining in the third period, Tootoo was given a five-minute game misconduct major for charging at defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. Tootoo lowered his shoulder and exploded into Colaiacovo behind the net. The Blues player fell to the ice, giving St. Louis a power play that it converted into its final goal.
Colaiacovo did not return. Tootoo defended the hit.
“Obviously, my understanding is it was a blow to the head,” Tootoo said. “You look at the replay, shoulder-on-shoulder, it’s a tough league to play in — keep your head up out there. I think the bottom line, when you hit someone hard, the refs are going to take a second look at it. I’m speechless.”...
“I saw a shoulder-to-shoulder check, and he didn’t leave his feet, so I’m a little bit confused on that,” Trotz said.
Watch the hit below…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL standings Thursday morning revealed five of the eight playoff spots in the Western Conference were held by Central Division teams.
Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and surprising Columbus have all strongly jumped out of the gates this season.
“If every team in the league played every team an equal number of times, you might have five teams in the Central making the playoffs,” St. Louis Blues power winger David Backes told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for those Central Division teams, the NHL’s unbalanced schedule requires six games against each divisional foe.
“As the schedule is, we’ll probably end up beating the crap out of each other and knocking each other off and end up with three of four teams making the playoffs in my estimation,” Backes added. “We need to strive to win those division matchups and make sure we’re separating ourselves from everyone else.”
continue for more on the Blues as the face the Predators tonight…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
David Backes is another benefit of the collective bargaining agreement’s liberalized free-agent rules. The power winger will be eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1 and will turn 27 years old May 1.
There were preliminary talks between Backes’ camp and the St. Louis Blues before the season, but those talks have since been shelved ... for now. If I’m a betting man, I believe the Blues will pick up the phone again in 2011.
“It’s a dynamic situation,” Backes told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “Being an unrestricted free agent, they obviously can’t lose me for nothing and not get anything back. I need to have a good year to establish myself. I think they like me, and I love St. Louis. Hopefully something will get done during the season, but obviously there’s a business side to this game that if we can’t come to terms, then unfortunately we’ll have to maybe part ways.”
I don’t see this guy leaving St. Louis. My money’s on GM Doug Armstrong and agent Wade Arnott of Newport Sports Management figuring this out before July 1.
read on for some Leafs and Panthers talk…
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The overtime goal by Erik Johnson that beat Pittsburgh 1-0 might have been the result of the Blues’ approach to OT under coach Davis Payne.
Fans aimed complaints at former coach Andy Murray for having a conservative, defense-minded philosophy in overtime. Under Payne, the philosophy seems to be more offense-oriented.
Four of the Blues’ seven games this season have gone to overtime, and the team is 2-2. But in those games, the Blues have given themselves an improved chance of winning, outshooting their opponents by a combined total of 13-7.
“Our mentality in overtime is to play our game,” Payne said. “We’ve got skill and ability, and when we get the puck, we want to try and score that goal. On the flip side of that, when we don’t have (the puck), we’ve got responsibilities. Four-on-four, we want to attack the areas that are available to us.”
We’ve got some catching up to do as I intentionally stayed off the radar this weekend. (For the first time since the arrival of our second son, we had no visitors! Bliss!) Quick cheers for Friday and Saturday night’s action and then onto toasts and a few highlights from yesterday’s games:
Friday’s Three Cheers:
***Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa: Hat trick, 1,000th career point in 4-2 Senators’ win in Buffalo.
**Rene Bourque, Calgary: Hat trick, assist in 6-2 Flames’ win in Columbus.
*Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay: Hat trick, assist in 5-2 Lightning win in Atlanta.
Saturday’s Three Cheers:
***John Tavares, NYIslanders: First career hat trick in 4-3 loss at Florida.
**Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis: 31 saves in 1-0, overtime blanking of visiting Pittsburgh.
*Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit: Two goals, four points in a 5-4 squeaker over Anaheim at the Joe.
And, finally, on to Sunday’s honors:
Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anders+lindback, daniel+alfredsson, henrik+zetterberg, jaroslav+halak, john+tavares, miikka+kiprusoff, rene+bourque, steven+stamkos
Plus Danica with a between the period interview.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org