Not only did the St. Louis Blues blow a 2-0 series lead to ultimately lose the series to the Los Angeles Kings this past Friday night, but goalie Jaroslav Halak and head coach, Ken Hitchcock, added to the tension with a pre-game confrontation.
Several reports are now saying that prior to Game 4, Halak and Hitchcock exchanged words about playing time prior to the post-season when he was healthy. When asked, Hitchcock downplayed the argument stating that it’s an “everyday occurrence.”
“With Jaro that’s an everyday occurrence like arguments and discussions that go on with players and playing time that was discussed in the meeting today,” Hitchcock said. “If he wasn’t disappointed I’d be surprised. I don’t care. If you’re under contract, you’re ready to play.”
With three goalies as the Blues have, someone is bound not to be happy and someone is bound to be left out when it comes to playing time as teams typically don’t keep three goalies on the roster. If they re-sign rookie Jake Allen then one of the others could possibly go down to the AHL. They’re not sure what they’re doing with the current situation yet as St. Louis’ general manager, Doug Armstrong, has said it’s “cloudy.”
”I think anything can happen,” Armstrong said. ”It was a difficult year, both Elliott and Jaro, and I think Jake took great advantage of it,” Armstrong said. ”He’s proven to us now that he has to be part of the equation.
”So, it’s a cloudy issue right now to be honest with you because of how the season progressed.”
Regardless, with a team having an early exit in the playoffs, it’s certainly a good problem to have.