Archive for the ‘Jaroslav Halak’ Tag
My night yesterday:
I’ve rarely seen stuff go this bad in a matter of minutes on an otherwise perfectly normal night.
You know what I’m talking about of course. Halak was traded, and while everyone was freaking out because the habs only got two unknown prospects in return, Mexico was busy ousting France from the World Cup.
To be honest, the football result is not what shocked/upset me the most. Sure I would have loved to see les Bleus go further. Unlike most of France, I like Raymond Domenech and that would have been really fun to see the French media having to eat some crow after months of relentless coach bashing. I like Raymond because I love how he deals with the media. He’s embroiled in a war with them, and he just never misses an occasion to taunt them or annoy them. He answers sarcastically to every question they ask. His press conferences are more awkward than those of Chris Pronger. This 2010 national team is probably the least popular équipe de France I have ever seen. I think it would have been hilarious to see that bunch of guys go deep, especially seeing how they got their ticket to South Africa.
Well, unless a miraculous turning of events happens, this won’t be. That’s ok. Yesterday, Mexico was far better.
So of course, the other big news was Jaroslav.
He’s gone, and this hurts. Let me start by saying that it makes sense for the habs. I don’t think it’s a necessarily an awful move. Everyone knew they had a tough choice to make. They picked Price over Halak, and honestly I can’t say this is a terrible decision. I just don’t know yet. I would have felt a little uncomfortable too if they had dealt Price. I have faith in Carey, and I don’t think the Habs are screwed this morning.
As for the return, of course it’s a bit underwhelming, because the two prospects are not big names. We know what we lost, we’re not sure what we got. I think everyone was hoping the return would be bigger or flashier (Wouldn’t it have been funny to get D’Agostini back from the Blues? Wait no… it wouldn’t have been.) But it’s stupid to jump at Gauthier’s throat already. The goalie market is what it is. When was the last time a goalie fetched a very good return right away? The Habs got two prospects I don’t know much about, but apparently Lars Eller is good. If Price performs like we know he can, and if Eller becomes a good player, this won’t be a bad trade. (And Schultz looks less promising today, but who knows, he might be a good surprise like Gorges and Pyatt in the past)
But of course, no matter what the return is, it really stings because it’s Jaro. If you read this blog a little bit, you know I like Jaro a lot. It’s tough to see one of your favorite guys go away, no matter the circumstances. So I feel a little empty today, and it’s going to take a little while to swallow this move.
There’s a last thing I want to say too. Last night was really weird for me, because I’ve always really liked both the Mexican football team and the Saint Louis Blues. About Mexico, I think it dates back to the 1998 world cup. They’re one of my secondary teams during every World Cup, and they routinely disappoint me. Well they didn’t yesterday… About the Blues, this has nothing to do with yesterday, I’ve always liked them and this is not a bandwagon thing. I mentioned this as soon as I started this blog. I actually think that out of the 29 other teams, this is probably the place where I’m the least unhappy to see Jaro go. It won’t be too difficult for me to root for them next year and in the upcoming seasons. Their future looks pretty bright, and that makes me happy.
So yeah, it was a very weird night yesterday.
Now bye bye Jaro. I really enjoyed rooting for you as a hab. You’ll remain one of my favorite guys in the league.
Happy birthday, PK and Jaro, you can have as much cake as you want today…
As I often did during these playoffs, I stayed away from the internet during most of the day until I finally got a chance to watch THE game. It was really a torture not to check the result, but the wait was definitely worth it. I’ve said this over and over again, but I can’t get enough of this team. I’m madly in love with each and every one of these guys right now. Yeah, even Max Lapierre gets some love today!
It’s too soon to think rationally about this, so I won’t even try. I’m just happy. I’m glad the Boston/Philly series went to seven games, it’ll give us a little more time to enjoy this moment. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about the trip I’m about to make to Montreal. It’ll be a busy trip, so it’s possible that I will actually watch less hockey than right now. But I’ll definitely enjoy the atmosphere!
They’re coming, and they’re not happy.
But we have a simple answer:
Boom Shak Halak Ah!
Do the Shack Halak Halak!
No need to tell you how big this game is. Can the habs actually take a lead in this series, or will the Pens regain their home ice advantage? The Habs have been way better on the road than in the Bell Centre so far in these playoffs. Sure they won a crucial game 6 in Montreal. But when they were not directly playing to survive, they were less than impressive in their arena. As always in Montreal, the crowd will be LOUD tonight. And as always, scoring first will be huge. It will put the pressure on Pittsburgh and pump up the crowd even more. I’m not always very comfortable with Martin’s game plan in these playoffs (try to score first, trap to death, rely on Halak, pray for a lucky break and score a killer goal late in the game on a goalie that hasn’t seen the puck in 15 minutes), but it’s been very effective so far, and honestly, I’m not sure the habs can afford to play very differently against teams like Washington or Pittsburgh. But after all the Habs did win Game 2 after allowing the Pens to score first, so there is hope.
To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting much in this series. The habs have a history of playing forgettable 2nd rounds when they pull an upset in round 1. And they face the freaking pens. But Game 2 really gave me some hopes again. This team is not your usual habs team. It’s way too soon to tell if they can actually pull another big upset, but it looks like they won’t be eliminated without fighting.
If they win tonight, those tiny hopes will start to seriously grow.
GO HABS GO!
(photo taken from this SI gallery)
I’m sorry Canada, I love you, but I just can’t root against Jaro. Halakomania is running wild here (and by “here”, I mean in my living room). Go Jaro!
Montreal can thank former Czechoslovakia for Pleks and Jaro.
Yesterday’s game was very similar to the last few games Montreal played before Christmas. The habs were badly outshot, and were dominated for large parts of the game. But Jaroslav Halak was hot. Offensively, Pleknec and Kostitsyn keep on piling up points (10 points in 4 games for Pleks, 19 points in 17 games for Andrei). The Habs special teams were excellent again. In the end, Montreal ends up with two points. We’ll take that I guess.
This road trip is a success so far: 4 games, 4 wins. Hard to argue with that. But the way most of those games were won (The Canes game is the exception) leaves a bittersweet taste. It’s clear the habs are just a few bad breaks away from yet another losing streak. It’s really the way this season has been going so far. They win one, lose one, win two, lose four, win three… and so on. While Markov was missing, the hope was to stay relatively close to the .500 mark until his return. Since he’s back, the Habs have won 4 straight games. Special teams and goaltending are the two main things that allowed he team to stay afloat. On 5 on 5, the situation is much less flattering. The habs 5 on 5 goals for/against ratio is 0.78. That’s the fourth least in the league, above only Carolina, Columbus and the Isles. The return of Markov, the arrival of Pouliot, and the eventual return of Gionta should help the habs. But Montreal needs to keep the opponents from shoting 40 times every game and controlling the puck for most of the night.
There are encouraging signs: Earlier this season, special teams were not very impressive (Montreal was in the middle of the pack for PP and PK), and the team was taking way too many penalties. Those two things were corrected. It shows that the coaching staff knows how to address the issues faced by the habs, and that the team seems willing to listen and make adjustments. That’s a good thing, because there is still a lot of work to be done…
Yes Jaro, blocking everything that’s thrown at your goalie hurts.
Just like the first time the Habs and the Sens met this season, I’m in a biblical mood. Seriously, that was a nice little win yesterday night. But if Spacek is seriously hurt, it’s going to get tough.
I stayed away from the internet all day long, because I had recorded the game (don’t ask me how), and I was only able to watch it tonight. That was sweet. As usual, I liked the team character. We’re getting used to it now, but it’s a pleasure to watch a team that seems to care most of the time. Sure, just a week ago, the exact same team forgot to show up for two consecutive games, but overall, since the season began, it didn’t happen very often.
Obviously the big factors yesterday were special teams, and goaltending. Jaro looked awesome, and both the PP and the PK kicked ass. If the PP really starts clicking, the team will definitely be in a better position. And there’s plenty of room for improvment there.
Of course, the troubling part is that the habs were badly outshot, and spent most of the night in their own zone. The Sens werer rarely furiously menacing, but they clearly dominated for long stretches. The habs have won a few of those games where they are dominated and badly outshot. But this is really not a recipe for success. Sure, part of this yesterday was because the habs took several penalties. But precisely, that’s something else the Habs should start worrying about. Right now, only two teams took more minor penalties than Montreal this season: Philly and Anaheim. That’s not exactly good company… I know the PK is on fire right now. It was a pleasure to watch yesterday. But I’m not sure the Habs need to put themselves in this kind of trouble every game.
After 3 straight wins, it looks better for the Habs than it did a week ago. But Montreal is still just above the .500 mark… Another win against Pittsburgh on Thursday night would be a great way to show that this week wasn’t a fluke, and that the Habs can be better than an average team.
Thanks to those who voted for this blog at the tournament of habs blogs at the NHL Arena forum. I’m now in the second round! Woooo! Let me tell you, this first round win was celebrated in true Habs fashion, with class and molotov cocktails. It’s a little weird to riot alone in the streets, but it was totally worth it. You can vote for me AGAIN there: click click click!
(I’ll be honest here, this photoshop idea directly comes from the avatar of weazel-1, a poster at the official blackhawks discussion board. I stumbled upon it looking for a pic of Huet, and I couldn’t resist redoing it)
I love this picture so much I could just end the post here. But I won’t. As I said, I got the idea while looking for a Huet picture. And I wanted a picture of Cristobal, because I wanted to aknowledge he seems to be playing much better these days. He only allowed 3 goals in his last 3 starts, getting a shutout in the meantime. Yeah, those games were against the Preds (2 times) and the Wild, who are not scoring a lot this season, but still. People were quick to bash him when he struggled earlier in the season, but no one seems to be giving him credit for his improved play.
Anyway, I admit I’m a little biased when it comes to Huuuet, so you just know I’ll defend him…
I love this mask
Now speaking of goalies, it’s time for me to write a little bit about Price and Halak.
Price will get his first start tonight in almost two weeks. As you all know, Halak started the last 5 games. He was relieved by Carey during the last game in Pittsburgh, so it’s not really surprising to see Martin giving Price the start tonight. Of course, there has been a lot of discussion over the goalie situation over the last few days. What I’m about to say probably isn’t groundbreaking, but if you’re reading this, maybe you’re actually interested in my 2 cents.
I think the current Price/Halak tandem is not sustainable in the long run. I know it’s good for a team to have two young and talented goalies, so the habs are not in a terrible situation here. And I also think it’s good to give Price a little bit of competition, and to show Halak that he’ll get his chance. But in the long run, the Habs know they’ll have to make a choice. It pains me to say so, because I am a big fan of both of our goalies, and I’ll be sad when one leaves (it’s not a if, it’s a when. It may not be before next season, or even the one after, but one will eventually leave). The situation is a little complicated for the habs and their goalies because Price and Jaro clearly never had the same status in the organization. Price, selected 5th overall, has always been projected as the future of the franchise. Halak, on the other hand, was picked 271st. He climbed his way to a backup job, but until recently, I never had the impression the habs seriously considered him for anything else than that.
Then,the question is: should we start questioning Price’s future status as a franchise goalie, and give more of a chance to Halak? This is not an easy question. If you still believe that Price should be considered as the future of the franchise, you want to be very careful. Sure you can give him a little competition, but you have to make sure he still understands that the team is not giving up on him. And of course, this means that you will continue to be a little unfair with Jaro, who will get less starts than he deserves.
If, on the other hand, you think Jaro and Price should be given an equal chance to earn the starting role, then it’s a little tricky too. You need to give more starts to Halak. But in doing so, it’s hard not to think you’re going to mess with Price. One of the issues with Price seems to be mental. He’s very young, and he’s slowly learning what it takes to be a #1 goalie. Price had success at all the levels he played before he made it to the nhl. So it’s probably the first time he has to cope with real performance and confidence issues. And he has to do that while being under the intense scrutiny of the media and the fans in Montreal. It’s obviously going to take a few years for him to learn how to deal with that. And have you heard of a goalie hitting his prime at 22? Of course not. What I’m trying to say is that giving Price the impression you’re not so sure anymore he’s the future of the franchise is probably not going to help him. At the same time, you don’t want to give him the impression he’s already earned everything…
As for Halak, he obviously is not facing the same pressure. If he becomes a bona fide #1 goalie, he will have beaten the odds and exceeded all the expectations. If he doesn’t, he might still get a chance somewhere else in the nhl. The issue with him is that it’s difficult to assess what he’ll be in five to ten years. It’s a little risky too to keep trusting Price no matter what, at the risk of frustrating Jaro and eventually losing him, only to see him outperforming Carey in the long run.
Now, I think the situation is not problematic in the short run. The habs have two goalies capable of winning games. The challenge for the team is to manage to handle the situation smartly. It’s crucial for Gainey and the coaching staff to turn this into a learning experience for both goalies, and a situation of healthy competition and emulation. It may not be possible in the long run (it could be in one year or more), and at least one of the goalies is likely to feel increasingly frustrated. But hopefully, by then, the habs will have made their choice.
Wow, I’m sorry, that was way too long… I’m not sure I’ve really helped to clarify the goalie situation… Now if your brain is not hurting too much, tell me, what do you think of all this? :)
Jaro, why do people always want to hurt you?
You never really got your chance in Montreal this season, even when Carey struggled, because he’s the future of the franchise. So when the habs get swept in the playoffs, you finally get the opportunity to play for Slovakia in the world cup. Things are looking good, for once. But for your first game, well, you have the dubious privilege to face… Canada. Final score: 7-3. Ouch. And now, this:
Poor little thing. Even your defensemen are trying to hurt you. I feel so sorry for you, my little Jaro.
(This video was posted on Puck Daddy, so some of you probably already watched it, but I just had to post it here, because I really like our little backup…)
I’m really sorry about the lack of updates on the blog, but I’m completely overwhelmed with work these days, and unfortunately it shouldn’t really get better until next week… Also, I’ll be travelling to Brussels from wednesday to friday, which means I will probably miss all the fun of the trade deadline. Damn!
It’s frustrating, because the habs are doing good, and I’d love to have time to finally write some positive things, after this terrible month!
Doug Wilson, Sharks GM
Here are just some quick notes:
- Halak is saving his teammates asses these days. He is doing exactly what the team needs: giving the habs a chance to win every night while they are slowly improving their overall play and finding their mojo back.
- Komisarek is struggling. Badly. Pessimistic point of view: it hurts the team. Optimistic point of view: he’s making sure the habs won’t overpay him when (or if??) they sign him this summer.
- The PP works again. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
- Habs get badly outshot day in, day out. Thanks to Halak, it didn’t matter so far, but this has to stop.
- Good luck in Dallas, Begin! I haven’t had a chance to say it before, but I really liked you. You really seem like a nice guy. I’m glad you ended up in Dallas, though, it could really have been worse. I’m sure Myra and Patty (among others) will help you feel welcome in Texas!
- Welcome to Montreal, Metropolit. I don’t really know you, but I like your name. That’s a good start…
- I feel like a genius, because I had a strong feeling this team could turn things around before their upcoming long stretch of home games in march. If they don’t mess up this week during their short road trip, things will begin to look good.
- I don’t really know what to expect for the trade deadline. I’m not sure Gainey should really trade half the farm for a rental player or two. I’d be excited by someone like Olli Jokinen, but I don’t really know if he’s available or what it would cost to get him. Other than that, I’m not too thrilled by Guerin, Bouwmeester (he’d be awfully expensive, and I don’t think Gainey will do this after he got Schneider anyway), Pronger (ugh!) or Gaborik. And I’m not holding my breath thinking about Lecavalier…
Gorges scored yesterday, so the Curious Georges picture is back!