In Antwort auf
TORONTO -- ?Jaroslav Halaks career path has not followed a straight line. No going directly from point A to point B. The netminders hockey journey has been more circuitous, with the odd sharp angle thrown in for good measure.But just when you are prepared to dismiss him, when a team is ready to turn in a different direction, Halak re-emerges, making everyone stop and take notice.Like now, for instance.Halak, who was not even guaranteed a job with Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey, has backstopped the team to an unexpected berth in the finals against Canada.I dont think it surprised me, but Im pretty sure it surprised a lot of other people, offered Andrej Sekera, Halaks longtime friend and international teammate. I know Jaro personally very well and have played with him on international levels, and hes been as good as hes ever been. When hes on his game, hes happy, hes smiling, hes doing his job the best way he can -- and it shows on the ice.Hes one of the reasons where we are right now, the defenseman added. We just try to make his life easier -- and hes trying to make our lives easier.After an up-and-down 2015-16 season with the New York Islanders ended with a groin injury, Halak watched as understudy Thomas Greiss stepped in and helped lead the Islanders to their first playoff series victory since 1993.Greiss, Halak and new?Toronto Maple Leafs?goalie?Frederik Andersen were named to Team Europes roster, and it was fair to wonder where Halak would fit into the goaltending trilogy for the squad, which is made up of players from eight countries.More to the point, it was fair to wonder whether Halak would end up as the teams third goaltender, a spare part.Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger told his players their roles would be determined by how they performed in training camp and played in pretournament games. When it came to the goaltending, the decision became an easy one for Krueger. Andersen went down with injury before the start of the World Cup, and Greiss was terrible in a pretournament start against Team North America.By default or not, the job was Halaks.All hes done is lead Team Europe to the finals of a tournament in which few expected his team would even be a factor.I saw, over the past years, he grew as a goalie and he got better with age. And [in] the games that he played in this tournament, he showed what hes capable of, said Miroslav Satan, a longtime international teammate and now the GM of Team Europe. I think its the best Ive seen him. Hes definitely one of the cornerstones of our success, and the way we are succeeding in this tournament -- he definitely has a lot to do with that.Halak has an impressive .947 save percentage in the World Cup. And there is a strong belief in the Team Europe locker room that they are capable of much more.You got to believe in the player next to you that he will do the job, Halak said after the Europeans upended heavily favored Sweden in overtime in the semifinals. I think that brought us together. We all knew we had to play better and try to improve every game, and I think its been working well so far. Making the finals, its unreal. Its going to be a huge game for us.Hell have to be superhuman to give Europe a chance to beat Canada. But regardless of what happens in the finals, a best-of-three series that begins Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), this tournament has provided yet another opportunity for Halak to reassert himself as a world-class goaltender.He does have a history of being able to steal games, said longtime goaltender and goaltending coach Corey Hirsch, who worked with Halak in St. Louis. And this tournament is perfect for Halak. You can get him focused on a short amount of games, and he can just take the ball and run with it.Jaros a lot better when theres not a lot of pressure on him. When he gets pressured, things happen.Remember the circular part?When Halak steps onto the ice against Canada, hell see Carey Price?at the other end of the ice, and perhaps be reminded of one of those turns.Halak, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia, was taken in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL draft, 271st overall by the Montreal Canadiens. The league doesnt even have nine rounds in its draft anymore.But Halak eventually got a shot with Montreal, and in 2010 he played phenomenally for the Canadiens, leading them to a surprise berth in the Eastern Conference finals after upending the Presidents Trophy-winning?Washington Capitals?in the first round.He sported a .923 save percentage and fans started sporting T-shirts that featured a stop sign with Halaks name in the center.But the Habs had to make a decision on the future of their goaltending, and in spite of Halaks brilliance, they dealt him to St. Louis while Price went on to become not just the Canadiens starter but also the best goaltender in the world.Price will start for Canada on Tuesday night.Obviously, hes a pretty quiet guy, calm demeanor, lets the puck and the play come toward him, Price said of his old teammate. Those are a couple of things he does really well.Although Halak shared a William M. Jennings Trophy -- with the?St. Louis Blues?Brian Elliott -- for the fewest goals allowed during the regular season, a lack of durability and inability to get the job done in key moments led to Halak being dealt to the Capitals before signing with the Islanders.He is 31 and under contract for this year and next. By that time, it wouldnt be a surprise if the Islanders went in a different direction and Halak moved on again, fading from view.But in the here and now, Halak is front and center once again. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redskins-Ryan-Grant-Jersey/ . 9. Price, heading to the 2014 Olympics for Canada, was named the First Star after posting wins in three starts with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redskins-Stacy-Mcgee-Jersey/ .C. -- Todd Fiddler scored a hat trick, including the overtime goal, as the Prince George Cougars survived an 8-7 win against the Kamloops Blazers in Western Hockey League play Sunday. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Hats/ . A knee to the thigh might have stung him the most, but his sixth straight double-double made up for the brief burst of pain. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redskins-Charles-Mann-Jersey/ . "It doesnt get any better than that," Giambi said. "Im speechless." The Indians are roaring toward October. Giambi belted a two-run, pinch-hit homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a shocking 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, keeping the Indians up with the lead pack in the AL wild-card race. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redskins-Vernon-Davis-Jersey/ . - Connor McDavid scored 53 seconds into overtime as the Erie Otters came from behind to defeat the visiting Guelph Storm 4-3 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. A Saturday full of upsets led to a reshuffling of the College Football Playoff rankings, with Ohio State?being the biggest beneficiary.The Buckeyes, runaway winners over Maryland, moved up from fifth to second in the latest CFP rankings, as they made the most out of losses by Clemson, Michigan?and Washington.Despite the defeats, the trio didnt wind up completely out in the cold.Michigan, a loser on the road against Iowa, fared the best of the fallen, as the Wolverines remained at No. 3Clemson, which lost at home to unranked Pitt, dropped from No. 2 to No. 4, while Washingtons home loss to USC cost the Huskies two spots, dropping them from fourth to sixth.Louisville, which could have made a case for a spot in the top four, instead had to settle for a one-spot move, going from No. 6 to No. 5 after pulling out a win over Wake Forest that was much tighter than the 44-12 final score would suggest.Staying above the fray was Alabama, which is still locked into the top spot, thanks to being one of just two remaining unbeaten teams in FBS.The Big Ten placed four teams in the top 10 this week, as Wisconsin?and Penn State?checked in at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, with the Badgers holding steady, while the Nittany Lions continued their climb, jumping up from No. 10.With six of the top 10 teams coming from the Big Ten and ACC,?CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPNs Heather Dinich that being a division winner in a conference isnt a mandatory consideration.The committees charge is to rank the top 25 teams in the nation; this is done based on the independent rankings of the 12 college football experts in the room, Hancock said.dddddddddddd The committee members are free to consider many different factors, and although being a division winner has not been discussed as a factor in any of our meetings, nothing prohibits it from being a factor, if thats what any individual committee member thinks. As you know, conference champion is indeed an explicit factor, but division champion is not.Oklahoma?is the highest-ranked Big 12 team at No. 9, and Colorado?rounds out the top 10. They are followed by Oklahoma State, Utah, USC?and West Virginia, all of which moved up in the rankings this week.Auburn?dropped from No. 9 to No. 15 after a 13-7 loss to unranked Georgia that handed the Crimson Tide the SEC West title.Speaking of the SEC West, LSU?made a large leap forward by moving from No. 24 to No. 16 after a road win over previously ranked Arkansas.Florida State?(No. 17) and Nebraska?(No. 18) each moved up one spot, taking advantage of?North Carolinas loss to rival?Duke. As a result, the Tar Heels fell out of the CFP rankings altogether.A win over?Kentucky?propelled Tennessee?back into the rankings, as the Vols ended up at No. 19.At Nos. 20 and 21 are Boise State?and Western Michigan,?in a battle for a New Years Six bowl berth. 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