Jaroslav Halak had a rough time during the Olympics for Slovakia.
He was pulled in a 7-1 loss to Team USA and took a tough 3-1 loss against Slovenia during round-robin play. Following that game he was benched in favor of KHL’er Jan Laco for their final two games of the tournament, losses to Russia and Czech Republic.
Now Halak is back in St. Louis to help the Blues try to win the Stanley Cup and Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch heard from him about what happened in Sochi.
As it turns out, he had a feeling he wouldn’t get a chance to redeem himself for his country.
That’s kind of sad, but when you’re playing goal for a team that was close to winning bronze in 2010 and you lose to Slovenia, things change. Laco playing strong in a 1-0 shootout loss against Russia essentially made the decision for Slovak coach Vladimir Vujtek.
For Blues fans worried he might be hurting confidence-wise heading into the stretch run, Rutherford shares that isn’t the case.
One of the names that will come up often ahead of the March 5 trade deadline is that of Buffalo Sabres captain Steve Ott.
Ott is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent over the summer. As John Vogl of The Buffalo News shares, he’d rather stay in Buffalo than be dealt.
“I told them I want to be here,” Ott said. “We’ll see where it all goes. I am professional enough to know the business side of things and what the situation is here as well. We’ll see how it all plays out in the next two weeks.”
One of the main reasons he wants to stay with the Sabres is how he’s been treated by the organization, as Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald shares. That said, his style of play and the intangibles he brings to teams might cause other teams to pony up big for his services down the stretch and potentially into the postseason.
Ott’s game is a physical one and one that disrupts how opponents play. In 57 games this season he has 20 points and 55 penalty minutes so he can add a little bit offensively as well. Players like that that could be had at the deadline are rare which puts Sabres GM Tim Murray in a good position to cash in.
Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas has been out of the lineup since Nov. 29 after breaking his leg. Nearly three months later, he’s making serious strides in returning to the lineup.
Mark Stepneski of the Stars’ site gets the scoop on how the rugged blue liner is aiming to get back sooner than expected.
“He’s not ready for physical play,” said Stars assistant coach James Patrick. “His skating has gotten better and better, and he’s way ahead of schedule. I don’t know what his timetable is, but I think he is still weeks away.”
Robidas’ progress has been rather Steven Stamkos-like in its speed. He returned to skating in January and participated in two practices just before the Olympic break, something he said was good for him mentally.
The Stars are in the mix for the postseason in the Central Division. They’re currently holding down the second wild card spot, but have the same number of points as the Phoenix Coyotes and are one point ahead of Vancouver and two ahead of Winnipeg.
If Robidas can come back in weeks, buoying the Stars defense could make the difference between making and missing the playoffs.