Photo: Bruce Bennett
In a season that has been inordinately long and drama-filled, here comes MOAR drama! On Tuesday, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates announced that Jaroslav Halak would not start against his old team because Halak reportedly said he didn’t feel “100% comfortable” playing. Halak then spent most of the afternoon getting criticized by local and national media for a lack of desire and toughness. We thought this conversation should have stayed private.
Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, has issued a statement and apparently he agrees with us. I hope you’re ready for some venom, Oatesy.
On Jaroslav Halak, Jaro never at anytime said he didn’t want to start against St. Louis. A private conversation between a player and coach should stay private and not be discussed with the media. I am bewildered that a coach would break that trust especially when those comments the coach publicly attributed to Jaro are not accurate. It’s the coach who makes the decision on who plays in the games, not the players.
Halak also echoed these statements after the game last night.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) April 9, 2014
So what do we have here? A notoriously loud agent is defending a player who is about to be an unrestricted free agent. They are trying to get on top of a story that makes him look like he’s meek and not competitive. That could cost him money in the end and that must not stand!
But the problem I have with this, before the game, Halak spoke with NHL.com’s Lou Korac and said about not starting, “It’s still too fresh. Maybe if it was under different circumstances, like next year, you know.”
So I’m giving Walsh’s statement a suspicious side-eye.
The Capitals have had three players request trades this season. Dmitry Orlov was forced to stay in limbo between Hershey and Washington for two months because Adam Oates wouldn’t play him at the NHL level. Oates criticized Ovechkin about giving up a on play defensively. This is a ridiculous amount of drama for one season.