Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Sex In The Champagne Room: The FHF Season Preview - Jaroslav Halak

FHF, in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and StripperCorp, is pleased to offer our Habs season preview with no cover charge. For FHF virgins, you may want to review our trademarked Stripperriffic Rating System before tipping the bouncer.

Today we tackle one of the heads in the Habs 3-headed goaltending monster, the Pride of Bratislava, Jaroslav Halak.

The tits - The Habs 9th round pick, 271 overall in is not a huge goalie, but has extremely quick feet. He plays a hybrid style (like Carey Price) and tends to stay on his feet more than some recent Habs goalies (we're looking in your direction, Theo and Abby). He's also excellent on shootouts, stopping 6 of 8 shots last year and winning both games.

He's enjoyed a meteoric rise since moving to North America, so much so that he's challenging for the starter's job at the age of 21. Over the past three seasons he jumped from the Q to the ECHL, finishing that season in the AHL before playing phenomenally in Hamilton - grabbing the starting spot from Yann Danis - before being recalled to the NHL when the Christo-wall got hurt. Halak has represented Slovakia at both the Junior and Senior World Championships, earning Goaltender of the Tournament honours at the 2003 WJC. Not only has he adjusted to each rise in level, but has excelled.

Also key for a goalie, he has a really nice paint job on his mask, combining an element of aggressiveness (kind of a ram/gargoyle head thing going on) with Habs history (Roy raising the Cup on one side).

Finally, he's not named nor related to "Andre Racicot".

The cellulite - Size and experience. He's only 5'11, so there's alot more room upstairs when forwards are crashing the net than would be available in front of, say, Roberto Luongo. Ideally he would need a much bigger defensive line-up to compensate - i.e. he has a hard time looking through traffic - but that's not going to happen in Montreal. He could work on his rebound control, but few 21 year-olds don't. He's only 21 and in his 4th year living and playing overseas, so expectations may tend to get out of hand if he gets hot.

The armpit hair - Right now it's timing. Huet is paid (and last night certainly playing) like the number 1, and Carey Price is knocking on the door. There are any number of scenarios which could unfold this season, from Halak earning the starting job to him being traded away. Chances are, however, the Habs are going to need him to steal some wins. Plus, you know, he's only played 16 NHL games in his career.

In the VIP Room - He is the fourth Slovakian born netminder to play in the NHL, joining Ján Lašák, Rastislav Staňa and Peter Budaj. So in other words, he could be the starting goalie for the Avalanche this year. Plus by the end of the year he quite possibily could lay claim to the title of “Greatest Slovakian NHL Goalie Ever”.

Chez Parée bound? For the time being, no doubt. But he may only be visiting FHF's favorite gentleman's club a couple of times a year on road trips after this year.

7 Lap dances (out of ten) - This may seem low but he's only played 16 games in the NHL. He's proven it at every other level, though, so we're guessing this will be revised heavily upeward by the mid-season rankings.

4 am Smoked Meat Sandwich:

HF29 - Total trade bait. Starts the season in Mtl, plays well enough to attract attention, gets replaced by Price in February, and along with 3 other good young players gets traded for a veteran forward in March to help the Habs drive for 8th place.

HF33 - He will be our backup and take on the role Mathieu Garon played in the shadow of Jose Theodore. Garon was good enough to start in the NHL, but Theo was anointed the team’s star for the future. He would never be a no.1 in Montreal. The same can be said for Halak behind Carey Price. This is Price’s team for years to come, not Halak’s. The only way that will ever change is if Price never fulfills expectations – an unlikely scenario given the generous latitude he’ll be given to develop into the team’s starter. Until then, Cristobal is in the driver’s seat of the Citroen, with passenger Halak along for the ride. He’ll play well when asked to and attract attention from the league. He’ll hop off the Citroen in the next two years via a trade.

HF10 - I like Halak, but until I looked at his stats I had no idea how well he played last year. It all seemed a blur of 5-4 scorelines other than the two shutouts of the Bruins (WHOOOO!!). In a perfect world, he's so good he shares time with Huet, and Price dominates the AHL for a year. In an imperfect one he gets Vokouned out of town too early and a gypsy curse fells Huet and Price the next day.


yacko yacko said...

Halak and Price go tonight! What a cool way to evaluate them. I think Huet silenced critics last night.

Anonymous said...

He has a funny catching glove. Clasps the puck and turns his wrist outward instead of inward to his belly which most goalies do to protect the puck.

Anonymous said...

He's gotta do better than he did yesterday. Was he nervous?

HabsFan29 said...

I think nerves defineitly had something to do with it