Washington Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak won't be suiting up on Tuesday night against his former team because he has a bad case of the Blues.
UPDATE: Wednesday, April 9 at 12:55 p.m. ET
Allan Walsh, Halak's agent, has released a statement denying the goalie ever said he didn't want to start on Tuesday night. Here is that statement via Sky Kerstein:
The Washington Post's Katie Carrera reports the veteran, who was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Buffalo Sabres and then to the Washington Capitals over a month ago, has declined to play, because he just can't bear it.
Here is one of the more emo reasons to miss a game:
Braden Holtby will start as the Capitals attempt to keep their slim postseason hopes alive because Halak wouldn’t be “comfortable” facing his former team, according to coach Adam Oates, who discussed the decision with goaltending coach Olie Kolzig.
“We know the feelings when you go into your old stomping ground and it’s not always easy and you’re not always comfortable, at least the first time,” Oates said. “We talked to [Halak] and he just wasn’t 100 percent comfortable. Unfortunately this time of year and where we’re at, we can’t afford that and Holts has played great lately. We feel really good about that and Holts is playing.”
According to CapGeek.com, Halak makes $4.5 million, which he garners for stopping pucks and working tirelessly between the pipes. It doesn't seem to cover the personal anguish of playing against a team with which you once played for all of three-plus seasons.
Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski has some thoughts on the matter: "For a player whose mental toughness was already at issue, this is damning from a reputation standpoint."
As Wyshynski points out, Halak did mention this was a possibility on Monday. In speaking with The Washington Post's Mark Giannotto, Halak states, "It’s still fresh. I play there for four years. I know these guys. We’ll see whether I play or not, but obviously I’m looking forward to go back there."
He continued, "Obviously, I wasn’t happy when I got traded. You’re trying to build something with a team, trying to play well for them and then you get traded."
Giannotto had a breakdown of the team's playoff hopes:
Washington has just four regular season games remaining, and a loss Tuesday night in St. Louis could very well make the final three irrelevant. If the Capitals lose to the Blues, Detroit earns at least one point in its matchup with Buffalo and Columbus wins in any fashion against Phoenix on Tuesday, Washington would miss out on the NHL playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Essentially, it's not exactly the time to curl up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and drown your sorrows. I think that's why they have a preseason.
We aren't sure if Halak is being goth or emo, but we do know he is being ridiculous.
Oates said Halak told coaches he wasn’t completely comfortable facing Blues for the first time since the trade, so they’re going with Holtby— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) April 8, 2014
Of course, Twitter has thoughts on the entire ordeal.
Who's worse? Jaroslav Halak for not wanting to face his former team, or Adam Oates for throwing him under the bus? http://t.co/UZ3HhTWv9K— Deadspin (@Deadspin) April 8, 2014
Regardless of Halak's reasons for chickening out tonight, Oates is a tool.— Sam Wolk (@TheHornGuy) April 8, 2014
How's the "Re-sign Halak" crowd feeling now?— BrooksLaichyear.com (@brookslaichyear) April 8, 2014
@moundcitysports I think it was more that Miller 'didn't care' if he played them. Halak stated he couldn't focus. Huge difference in that.— Jordan Mires (@31Mires) April 8, 2014
With the season coming to an end, it seems like most have written off the Capitals' chances for an extremely late surge. Sullying what might be a great win on Tuesday night is the thought that the goalie and coach could be working against one another in the public sphere.
If Washington wasn't done to begin with, this might be that proverbial nail.
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