Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/10/13 at 03:20 PM ET
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
"Jaro didn't play (last year) because he got hurt," St. Louis Blues coach Hitchcock said of Halak, who played in only 16 games last season because of groin injuries and was 6-5-1. "If he doesn't get hurt he's playing. They both (Halak and Brian Elliott) had sketchy starts to the year and then Jake (Allen) came in and settled it down."
Hitchcock isn't alone in feeling the lockout last season took its toll on many of the league's goaltenders.
"I'm willing to throw out last year like a lot of coaches have to," he said. "There's a dozen teams that needed to throw out last year. In fairness for Jaro we needed to start from scratch again, but he had to do his part, too."
Halak spent the summer in St. Louis, working with the team's training staff and a personal trainer. He bettered his diet, crushed the conditioning program and as a result looks as sharp as he has in years.
"He had to come in better shape so that he didn't put that injury back in play again -- and that's exactly what the doctor told him when he went for the evaluation," Hitchcock said.
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