So, the Montreal story continues. Mostly, though, it has been the
That shouldn't surprise us, though. Halak has been somewhat of an afterthought in the Habs goaltending stable since his arrival. Or, at least since the
Much of that work was with former goaltending coach
In fact, things didn't really get sticky for the Canadiens with regard to having two young, aspiring number one netminders until Price injured his ankle during the 2008-09 season. He came back and struggled like never before. He began this year playing quite well, but found winning elusive. His goals-against and save percentage actually improved from his sophomore season, but neither came close to the marks and expectations established during his rookie campaign.
In the meantime, Halak kept building a case to play more because he won more often. He was consistent for longer stretches, or maybe more accurately, when he got hot, he maintained that level of excellence longer. In any event, Halak returned from the Olympics having played well for Slovakia, and Martin turned to him almost exclusively down the stretch, with Price getting in just five games.
Now, Halak is garnering the accolades once reserved for Price, coming through on the biggest stage in the playoffs. Spring success makes players and defines careers. What defines Halak technically as I watch him up close is the teaching of Melanson. There is fluidity to his lateral leg recovery moves in his butterfly that is reminiscent of Melanson's first success story,
The internal fight; the will to succeed; the intangibles, however, is all Jaroslav Halak.