The St. Louis Blues are in the midst of a rare seven-day break in their schedule, having last played on Friday (a 4-3 shootout loss in Winnipeg) and not hitting the ice again until this Friday (a home date against Vancouver).
For goalie Jaroslav Halak, the week off has allowed him to experience the highs and lows of nautical adventure.
Over the weekend, the Blues had a team getaway to South Carolina for some deep-sea fishing, one that didn’t exactly vibe with the contents of Halak’s stomach.
From the Post-Dispatch:
On the other boat, goalie Jaroslav Halak had a tough time keeping his breakfast inside of him.
That boat also had quiet defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, so the other two players, Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka, didn’t have quite the same atmosphere as Backes’ boat did.
Bouwmeester might be the NHL’s version of Ron Swanson. Bet he would’ve gotten angry if Halak wasted a perfectly good breakfast.
Anyway, things got better for Halak on the boating tip when he and defenseman Jordan Leopold saw the new Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips,” the story of Somali pirates hijacking the Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean in 2009.
The Blues teammates gave the movie two thumbs-up, though Leopold’s ranking is a bit skewed because it sounds like he was mostly happy about getting out of the house.
“It was good,” Leopold said. “I can’t tell you the last time I saw a movie. I’ve got kids.”
Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.
— Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
— Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.
— Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen