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09-03-2011, 12:16 AM
Jake the Snake Man
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Originally Posted by bacheesh View Post
I think 7th is a fair projection for us. We don't have a strong enough defense to vault up, and we have enough depth that scoring won't be a huge issue. All in all, I think Halak's play will make or break this team.
If Halak stays healthy, I just don't see his play realistically breaking the team. I think his worse patches last season were greatly exaggerated and mostly due to high percentage shots being allowed due to an injury-hampered team lacking confidence. And his better patches included several stolen games. Halak lost maybe a couple games at most due to play that was below expectations. Conklin, on the other hand, was miserably bad.

Yea, it's possible Halak craps the bed, just like any other player; but I think that's a very small possibility. If he plays just like he did in 2010-2011, they have a good shot at the playoffs.

I want the ease of saying one thing will make or break the team, but it won't. It's a lot of separate pieces that are uncertain. Health, progression of youngsters, coaching, faceoffs, penalty killing, and many other things.
But if I had to target the most prominent thing, it's solidification of the team. Identity, leadership, temperament of the highs and lows, defined roles, game-long and season-long intensity. The deal is that this process is affected by other issues (health and coaching) and affects other issues (progression of youngsters).

It's easy to get cause and effect mixed up with something that's somewhat nebulous. But you can see the way bad teams unravel in the second half of the year and the way great teams come together in the playoffs. If the Blues can stay healthy enough to gel and get confident, they'll make the playoffs, even if Halak isn't a difference-maker in the regular season.
I might actually place more responsibility for the team's success on back-up goaltending, which, if was competent last year, could have put them in the playoffs.

Last edited by rumrokh: 09-03-2011 at 12:40 AM.
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