If you missed the All Star Game then check out the Guardian Project that was unveiled during intermission – have to say I rather like “The Blue”.
Well, the second half of the season starts tomorrow and the Blues really need to come out strong. Some good news to start with – it looks like Barret Jackman will be back tomorrow. Bad news – the status of Erik Johnson is unknown after he took a deflected puck to the face in practice today. As the saying goes, if the Blues didn’t have bad luck they wouldn’t have any luck at all. As far as Andy McDonald goes, Chris Kerber has just tweeted that McDonald is NOT expected back tomorrow but that the weekend looks more likely.
In other news, the Blues have recalled Philip McRae and Nikita Nikitin from Peoria – and have sent down Stefan Della Rovere.
Now, if the Blues are to make the playoffs there are a number of players who need to raise their games – and one of the most important is Jaroslav Halak. Halak has not had a good January – and yes, I know the defense has been hit, the forwards haven’t been backchecking enough and that our special teams and turnovers have almost crippled the team. But – this is the very time that Halak needs to come up strong. And I have no doubt that he will. Word is that he’s been working with Blues goalie coach, Corey Hirsch, on his positioning. They’ve been watching video and using Scott Mellanby as a screen whilst pucks are fired at Halak. Halak is working on staying farther out in his crease – a lot of his problems recently have been from drifting back into his crease and getting caught there. Staying at the top of the crease and being aggressive is what he needs to do. Of course, it might help if there was a defenseman, apart from Barret Jackman, who will get physical with opposition players who set up camp in Halak’s crease.
I have faith that Jaroslav Halak will rediscover his game – it’s not been easy for him. Having to adjust not just to a different team (with not as strong a defense as Montreal) but also adjusting to a different Conference. The West is much tougher than the East. It has to be remembered that Halak is also adjusting to something else: being a number 1 goalie. This is his first season as number 1 – it’ll take time. Personally, I think the All Star break is just what Halak needs. He can regroup – take a step back and start again.
Brace yourselves – because I think Halak will come up very strong in the second half of the season. He’s our franchise goaltender and whilst this season may be looked upon as a transition period, I’m very excited about how this guy is going to develop in the next few years.