If there’s anyone in St. Louis that could be happy about seeing Ken Hitchcock taking over for the fired Davis Payne, it should be Jaroslav Halak.
Halak’s tenure in St. Louis since arriving in a trade with Montreal before last season has been a roller coaster of emotion. Last season saw Halak play hot and cold like a little kid playing with the sink faucets. Going from stellar opponent-frustrating games that saw him stop everything under the sun to ones where he couldn’t stop a beach ball was how things went.
So far this season, the beach ball has been winning more often than not as Halak’s numbers have ballooned and Brian Elliott has become the de facto starter for the Blues. If the Blues are going to be a playoff team in the West, they cannot have things going like that.
With Hitchcock in place now, the Blues are going to become a tougher defensive team come hell or high water (or trades). That kind of change in action should favor Halak who thrived behind a defensive system in Montreal.
While the initial go of things could be tough while the team figures out his system and learns a new meaning of pain under Hitchcock, the end result should see Halak’s numbers come back down and allow Halak to find a comfort zone in goal. ESPN’s Craig Custance tweeted last night that any players not buying into Hitchcock’s way of doing things will find themselves shipped out of town and the last guy we’ll see on that list should be Halak.
While St. Louis fans might not have those Halak “STOP” signs ready right now, they might want to shine them up for future games.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:
1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.
“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”
Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.
The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.
Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.
It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.
Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.
Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.
Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.
With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.
Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.
The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth after the 23-year-old completed his 14-day conditioning assignment.
Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.
In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.