Tag: Jacques Plante

halak elliott

Halak and Elliott continue to attack Hall of Famers’ records


Earlier this week, we spotlighted how the St. Louis goaltending duo of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak broke a 43-year-old franchise shutout record set by Hall of Famers Glen Hall and Jacques Plante.

Well, Halak and Elliott are at it again.

This time they’ve got former Chicago Blackhawks great Tony Esposito in the cross hairs — by combining for 15 shutouts, they’ve tied the modern-day record for shutouts in a season set by Espo in 1969-70.

More, from NHL.com:

Esposito got 56 goals of support in his 15 shutouts, an average of 3.73 goals per game — and that includes a scoreless tie against Boston on March 11, 1970. By the standards of his era, he wasn’t overworked, facing an average of 28.5 shots in the 15 shutouts. Esposito never faced more than 38 shots or fewer than 21. He faced more than 30 four times.

In contrast, the Blues have provided their goaltenders with just 36 goals in their 15 shutouts, an average of just 2.4 per game (including a 1-0 shootout loss at Los Angeles last week). But they’ve more than made up for any offensive shortcomings with their defensive play. Elliott has faced an average of just 23.1 shots in his nine shutouts, with a high of 37, and saw fewer than 20 in three of the nine. Halak has seen an average of 22 shots in his six shutouts and hasn’t faced more than 30 in any of them.

The shots-faced statistic will likely be the asterisk tagged onto Halak and Elliott’s accomplishments. While it doesn’t completely diminish what they’ve done, it doesn’t bolster anything — Halak’s made just 1060 saves this season (29th in the NHL) while Elliott’s made 860…13 more than Minnesota backup Josh Harding.

The reality is that a light workload, combined with the timeshare situation, has allowed both goalies to stay razor-sharp throughout the year. Which begs the question: Can Hitch keep using Elliott and Halak during the playoffs?

Bernie Miklasz of St. Louis Today thinks he can (and points to historical evidence as proof) but again, there’s more reality to consider. The last legitimate timeshare that won a Stanley Cup was in 1971-72, when Boston used Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnston almost equally throughout the postseason.

And that happened 40 years ago.

Move over, Glen Hall and Jacques Plante…Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak are here

halak elliott

The day after snapping St. Louis’ franchise shutout record — you know, the one set by Hall of Famers Glen Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-69 — Blues goalie Brian Elliott was still trying to process exactly what he and Jaroslav Halak had done.

“Obviously with the names that are there it’s pretty cool,” Elliott told the News-Democrat after recording St. Louis’ 14th shutout of the year. “You walk in the practice rink and you see the pictures up there with a couple guys in the Hall of Fame. It’s something to be proud of, but it’s not really what you play the game for.

“You play to win — and you play it as a team.”

Selflessness aside, Elliott has to be stoked about snapping a record held by two of the greatest goalies in NHL history. He now has eight shutouts on the year and a current shutout streak of 127 minutes, 45 seconds. Not bad for a guy that was almost out of the league this summer before signing a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000.

Halak, meanwhile, has contributed six shutouts this season and, with 13 since joining the Blues, he is three behind Hall’s franchise record of 16. Not bad for a guy that was terrible to start the year and seemed to clash with former coach Davis Payne.

The fact that Elliott and Halak have replaced Hall and Plante in the record books is stunning — especially to Blues goalie coach Corey Hirsch.

“It’s crazy, you know,” he said. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would go like this. We were hoping for a good year out of our goalies, but they’ve been phenomenal. Sometimes the hockey gods throw you a good one. They gave us Elliott and he’s been outstanding, and we’ve known Jaro’s been good all along. He’s taken his game to another level, too.”

But for all this whimsical feel-good stuff, things will get uncomfortable soon. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock knows he has to make a decision on a playoff starter, something he thought would’ve played itself out already.

“I expected a month ago that this thing would kind of air itself out and we’d figure out something, but it’s not,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t want to say it’s more complicated, it’s a good complication. But they’re making it hard on me because both guys are playing so good.”

For what it’s worth, the Blues went to the Stanley Cup finals twice with the Hall/Plante duo. In 1968-69 Plante played the majority (10 games to Hall’s three), then the two split evenly in 1969-70 (Hall played seven, Plante played six and Ernie Wakely played four.)

St. Louis breaks franchise shutout record with 14th Sunday

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 25: Goaltender Brian Elliott #1 of the St Louis Blues covers up the puck as Paul Bissonnette #12 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates in during the second period of the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on March 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Usually when a team isn’t sure who their starting goaltender will be in the playoffs, it’s because neither one has proven himself. In the case of the St. Louis Blues, the problem is that they arguably have the top two goaltenders in the league this season. Jaroslav Halak has already had some playoff success and he’s been nearly unbeatable since the start of November. Then of course there’s Brian Elliott, who posted his second consecutive shutout in a 4-0 victory over Phoenix on Sunday.

Although Elliott only had to stop 20 shots this time, he is tied for the league lead with eight shutouts despite the handicap of having only played in 35 games. Of those who qualify, he is the NHL’s clear leader in GAA and save percentage.

The St. Louis Blues superb defense and one-two punch in goal have led to 14 shutouts this season, which breaks the previous franchise record of 13 set by Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall in 1968-69.

Not that the Blues needed much offense on Sunday, but Alex Pietrangelo, David Backes, Patrik Berglund, and Ryan Reaves each scored a goal. Kevin Shattenkirk recorded three assists and has now surpassed the 40-point milestone in each of his first two NHL campaigns.

St. Louis had lost four of their previous five contests, so this win is certainly timely. They had allowed the Vancouver Canucks to close the gap in the battle for the first seed in the Western Conference, but this victory gives them a four-point lead in that race.

The Blues are very likely to win their division, but it’s still not official. They get a chance to come one step closer to locking up the Central Division in their game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, this loss was a serious blow to the Phoenix Coyotes. Although they still finished the night in seventh place and have a one-point lead over Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado, they have just five games remaining. By contrast, the Kings and Sharks both have seven contests left on their schedules. Phoenix will be under a lot of pressure to beat San Jose on Thursday.

Adam Burish chucks a Jets player’s glove into the crowd

Calgary Flames v Dallas Stars

If you watch NHL Network often, you’ve probably seen the video of Jacques Plante coming into a game after his team’s starting goalie was unable to play because his mask was thrown into the crowd.

I couldn’t help but think back to that clip when hearing of Dallas Stars’ tough guy Adam Burish’s antics. In case you haven’t heard, Burish threw a Winnipeg Jets player’s glove into the crowd at the MTS Centre as part of a scrum during what would eventually be a 5-2 Winnipeg win. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski provides a frame-by-fame look as video isn’t available just yet:


Wyshynski indicates that it was Tanner Glass’ glove and captures the scene:

As Burish was being escorted to the penalty box by linesman Bryan Pancich, he leaned down and picked up a Jets player’s glove. Carrying it in his right hand, he hurled it over the glass with an underhand toss, a few rows deep, before reaching the sin bin.

Tanner Glass was not amused. He rushed over and shoved the linesman out of the way — before sandwiching him in an attempt to get to Burish. (Not sure what the League will think of that.) Glass missed with a haymaker on Burish before the other linesman and a referee arrived to break up the fight.

Both players were given roughing minors and misconducts. Burish was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a game misconduct. If he receives anything else from the NHL, hopefully it’s just a fine. While not the epitome of class, this isn’t a suspendable offense.

What do you think? Is Burish deserving of a suspension for his equipment-related tomfoolery? Will NHL Network create video tributes for that scene? Do tell.

Carey Price reveals his weird Jacques Plante mask for Heritage Classic

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There have been some odd and awesome masks in the history of the NHL, from the very basic one worn originally by Jacques Plante to Gerry Cheevers’ stitch design to Gilles Gratton’s phenomenal lion mask.

Carey Price has been very coy about the special goalie mask he’ll wear specially for the 2011 Heritage Classic, but he unveiled the Plante tribute designed by David Arrigo today. Elliotte Friedman explains that the eyes and mouth are supposed to be Plante’s while the hair and ears are designed to look like Price’s.

It’s a very odd looking mask, although Price and Arrigo have their hearts in the right place. NHL.com has a gallery of the mask from different angles (this post’s main image features one of those photos), but if you would like to see the mask in action, check out video footage of Price wearing it during the Montreal Canadiens’ practice today.