Earlier today (much, much earlier) the NHL announced that New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak will be headed to the All-Star game as a replacement for the injured Pekka Rinne. Halak will be joining his captain, John Tavares who will also represent the Isles in Columbus.
This is Halak’s first ever selection to play in the league’s mid-season showcase event.
Although Halak was not named in the initial All Star roster, he is truly deserving of his selection. The Slovakian netminder has been fantastic this season between the pipes for the Isles, posting a 23-8-0 record, 2.22 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
Now that the
journalistic section of this article is out of the way, we can get to the fun part: how do we feel about this nomination, Isles fans?
I love it. Halak is the biggest reason that the Isles are where they are right now. I don’t think there’s really much of a debate to be had about that. His steadying influence in goal has been the catalyst for the Isles resurgence. If not for his play, this team would not be leading the Metropolitan division and Eastern Conference, it really is as simple as that.
I am aware that Isles seem to be a bit snake bitten when it comes to allowing their players to participate in showcases. Last season John Tavares was lost for the season because of a knee injury suffered in last year’s Olympics. Even more relevant is the injury to Rick DiPietro in his first All Star experience. DiPietro seemed primed to become a fixture in the All Star game and one of the league’s finest goaltenders, but an injury suffered in the skills competition (we talkin’ ’bout skills competitions… not a game, not a game, not a game) was DP’s first major injury, but it most certainly was not his last. We know the rest. The gruesome, injury riddled, ridicule filled, rest.
What I’m getting at is that Isles fans are keenly aware of the losses they have suffered in game’s that do not matter in the NHL standings, but that does not justify not wanting your players to be a part of the exhibitions. These selections are honors for the players, for the team and for the fans. Having multiple players involved gives fans of other teams a chance to see the best that our team has to offer. Halak has earned his spot, and I for one will be very excited to see him perform against, and with, the best the game has to offer.
On another, less logical, more vindictive note; if Halak did not get the nod to replace Rinne it is likely that New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would have been the player to replace him, and do we really want Rangers fans to have their guy in Columbus instead of ours? For sure not.
So enjoy yourself Jaro, you’ve earned it.
As always, I beg you to give your opinion in the comments. I appreciate them all.