St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is optimistic about Jaroslav Halak’s ability to bounce back from some poor recent performances, including being pulled within the first 16 minutes of Sunday’s loss to Washington, as NHL.com’s Lou Korac reports.
“He’ll jump back (in) and play well,” Hitchcock said. “We need him, especially on the road. Your goalie has got to be your best player. We’ll need him to have a good game.”
“Brian (Elliott) has played very well. He’s given us a chance to win every night. Now it’s Jaro’s turn.”
Of the NHL goalies with at least 10 wins in 2013-14, none have a lower save percentage than Halak’s flat .900 mark. Even so, he’s pretty comfortably in the Blues’ No. 1 spot with that 10-3-2 record (Elliott is 3-0-1 so far, with six games played).
Halak, 28, has a lot to lose or gain in a contract year, which means not having nights like last night.
“I think everybody needs to look at themselves, and it starts with me,” Halak said. “I need to look at myself and ask myself if I did my best. I know I can play better.”
The Blues face the Sabres in Buffalo on Tuesday, so Halak may get a chance to redeem himself tomorrow (unless Elliott gets the nod).
Travis Green seems to be gaining increased attention for available head coaching jobs in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Bruce Boudreau after a first-round playoff loss, are reportedly interested.
That’s according to a report from Elliotte Friedman during Thursday’s broadcast of Game 4 between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.
Green helped guide the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, to an appearance in the Calder Cup final a year ago. The Comets were, however, eliminated in the opening round of the post-season this year.
“I think I’m ready,” Green, who has spent the last three seasons in Utica, said recently. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”
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Vladimir Tarasenko can be elusive to the opposition at five-on-five. Apparently that also applies to when the opposition has six skaters on the ice and their goalie still in the crease.
Tarasenko opened the scoring for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Thursday, sneaking in behind the Stars defense for a breakaway goal on Kari Lehtonen. The Stars, by the way, had six skaters on the ice as the puck was turned over in the St. Louis zone.
Despite Dallas clearly having too many skaters, the play wasn’t blown down and Tarasenko found himself in the one-on-one situation. He made no mistake.
(Here’s a screen grab of the turnover inside the St. Louis end, leading to the breakaway. Six Dallas skaters.)
The Nashville Predators have a chance before the home crowd to even up their second-round series with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on CNBC (9 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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The list of finalists for the Jack Adams Award has been released. Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers), Lindy Ruff (Dallas Stars) and Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) are the three nominees for the award, which goes to the head coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
The winners will be announced June 22 during the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Gallant was behind the bench for a Panthers team that included an interesting blend of youth (Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov) and experience (Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo), locked into a franchise-record 12-game winning streak and took the Atlantic Division with a 47-26-9 record — another new standard for the franchise. The Panthers’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.
After missing the playoffs last season, Ruff coached the Stars to top spot in the Western Conference standings with a 50-23-9 record and a team that includes top-end talent from the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and John Klingberg, playing a game of speed and skill. The Stars led the league in goals for (265) and goals-for per game (3.23).
Trotz, in his second season in Washington, helped the Capitals to a Presidents’ Trophy for the 2015-16 regular season, besting the second-best team, the Stars, by 11 points. The Capitals finished the season with a record of 56-18-8, setting them up as Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs began last month. Armed with 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals also finished second in the league in goals for (248).
This is Gallant’s first nomination for the award. Ruff and Trotz are each three-time award finalists, with Ruff winning in 2006, as per NHL.com.
Last season’s winner, Bob Hartley, was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this week. He’s not the first Jack Adams Award winner to be dismissed from his job the following year.