The HaLak-Ness Monster should look back on his decision to join the Boston Bruins as the day his fortunes changed forever.
After over a decade of playing for suck-ass team after suck-ass team, bad defense after bad defense failing to give him a hand, Jaroslav Halak finally got to play behind a team that has both a defense, and an offense. Not just one or the other, as was the case in St. Louis, Montreal, and especially Long Island. Considering that kind of sudden shift towards a good balance, he was practically destined to have a good season.
And a good season he had! And he rewarded his agent’s smart decision-making by using nearly every inch of his body to make some fantastic saves, especially in net-man scrambles, and especially when shots tried his glove. As his SV% showed, a good majority of them failed. To say nothing of course on the fact that somehow, his flailing on-his-butt style saves somehow managed to create some of the greatest saves of the year, especially early on, when Tuukka Rask was struggling and for a while was essentially the de facto starter. Nobody could be more part of the success of the starter this year than Jaro himself, as he allowed Rask to rest more often, and gave the Bruins a chance to win pretty much every night.
If there were holes in his game, they largely came from things that honestly could be described as brain farts. Sometimes a goal would just sneak past him even if he was staring right at it. Sometimes his pads wouldn’t shut all the way and it’d pop through. It just kinda...happened. There isn’t much to say regarding that.
Of course, one area he did struggle quite mightily was in an area the B’s goaltenders as a unit had issues with: Stopping short-handed chances. You’d think that wouldn’t be a problem that would come up over and over again but...that’s how Bruce runs his power play these days. Gonna have to be an area of improvement for both.
In the Playoffs:
They needed someone to open and close the bench door and GODDAMNIT HE OPENED AND CLOSED THAT BENCH DOOR.
This is our way of saying “He did not play”.
Aggregated Player Rating: 9/10
To say Halak’s success under a new banner was paramount to the Bruins’ success was absolutely understating how important he was in the regular season. Just a fantastic example of a goaltender getting a second chance in a system actually set up to help them instead of leaving them out to dry like all the other teams he’s suited up for in his career. He was just as much part of Rask’s success as Rask was himself, and his efforts paid off big for a team that came within 60 minutes of winning it all.
Well done, Jaro. Welcome to what meaningful winning feels like.