RALEIGH, N.C. — On Wednesday, less than 12 hours after the Washington Capitals learned they would not be in the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2007, neither Coach Adam Oates nor goalie Jaroslav Halak wanted to discuss the controversy that ensued after Halak did not play in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over St. Louis.
But Oates did offer his take on the statement released by Halak’s agent Wednesday afternoon, which insinuated the coach had lied when he told reporters Halak “just wasn’t 100 percent comfortable” with facing his former team.
“I’m not gonna talk about that,” Oates said. “I’ve always been honest with you guys [reporters] from Day One and I was in this case.”
Halak declined to elaborate on the situation, even when asked if he had authorized his agent, Allan Walsh, to release a statement. He referred all further questions to Walsh, who also wrote he was “bewildered” Oates had made his conversation with Halak public to begin with.
“There’s no story. What happened [is] in the past,” Halak said. “I got no comment. I’m happy we won the game.”
Halak, 28, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and it remains to be seen if he will appear in another game for the Capitals after being acquired at the trade deadline in February. Oates indicated goalie Braden Holtby would start for the third straight game when the Capitals take on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena Thursday night.
*Here’s what the lines should look like tonight based on today’s morning skate — and it’s slightly different than Tuesday night’s game in St. Louis. My apologies for jumping the gun in an earlier post.