Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jaroslav Halak Needs Mighty Effort to Top Carey Price and Team Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jaroslav Halak Needs Mighty Effort to Top Carey Price and Team Canada

Article excerpt

World Cup final pits Price vs. Halak (again)

--

TORONTO - It seems like madness now, but six years ago, a fiery debate about the future of the Canadiens crease raged in Montreal.

Carey Price had not yet become the top goalie in the sport, nudged aside for playing time that spring by Jaroslav Halak, a hotshot ninth-round pick from Slovakia. Brilliant at points, Halak helped the Canadiens reach their first Eastern Conference final in almost 20 years.

He was traded to St. Louis less than a month later.

Price and Halak are now set to compete on a different stage as starting netminders for the World Cup finalists from Canada and Europe.

"I think there's going to be, I don't want to say a rivalry, but both guys know who's at the other end," Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong said.

Armstrong, also the St. Louis Blues GM, traded for Halak following that strong playoff run for Montreal in 2010.

The two goalies occupy very different spaces for their respective teams heading into the World Cup final. Halak will likely require more brilliance if Europe is to somehow topple Canada two times in a best-of-three series. Good will likely suffice for Price in front of a Canadian squad that's steamrolled past everyone to this point.

Halak has propped up his team in their journey to an unlikely berth in the final, second to Price (.948) with a .947 save percentage at the World Cup (among regulars). He pitched a 35-save shutout in a shocking tournament-opening win over the United States, stopped 28 of 30 shots in a victory over the Czechs and edged Henrik Lundqvist with 37 saves in Europe's semifinal upset over Sweden this past weekend.

"That definitely has been the biggest reason we are where we are," defenceman Andrej Sekera said.

"It's the best I've seen him," added Europe's GM Miroslav Satan, a former teammate of Halak with the Slovakian national team. "He's definitely one of the cornerstones of our success."

Bouncing from Montreal to St. Louis to Washington before landing as the New York Islanders starter for the past two seasons, Halak became Europe's undisputed No. 1 by chance. Frederik Andersen, the Toronto Maple Leafs new netminder and Halak's primary competition for the role, pulled out with injury just before the start of the tournament.

Halak, 31, gave up four goals on 46 shots in a preliminary round loss to Canada and will presumably face a similar barrage in the upcoming final. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.