Jaroslav Halak isn't having quite as much fun in Sochi as other members of the St. Louis Blues. While fans are still buzzing about T.J. Oshie's ridiculous shootout effort, they're also speaking in hushed, concerned tones about Halak's dismal effort with Slovakia.
In two games with Slovakia, Halak is 0-2 with a 5.13 GAA and a save percentage of .857. He was lit up for five goals by the United States and three against Slovenia. Though Slovakia's ugly defense deserves a large portion of the blame, the club decided to bench Halak in their third game of the tournament in favor of Jan Laco of the KHL.
As always, factors such as sample size, quality of competition and chemistry are important to remember. Halak allowing five goals against the United States isn't the end of the world, but it doesn't reassure fans who believe the goaltender struggles under immense pressure. When you add in the fact Laco, the man from Donbass Donetsk of the KHL, looked strong against Russia and nearly stole a win for Slovakia, Halak's struggles are a bit more magnified.
It'd be interesting to talk to St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong about Halak's Olympic effort. It's safe to assume his comments would mostly write Halak's effort off, but you have to assume it'd be a different story had Halak looked a bit better in net. Halak's situation looks pretty bad when you note Laco's performance against a stacked Russian squad.
At the very least, Halak didn't give St. Louis fans any additional confidence about how he'll hold up when the pressure is on. It's important to keep the Olympics in perspective, but Halak didn't calm any nerves.