RALEIGH – Jaroslav Halak’s agent released a statement Wednesday stating that his client never told Coach Adam Oates he didn’t want to start against his former team, the St. Louis Blues.
Following the morning skate in St. Louis Tuesday, Oates told reporters that Halak “just wasn’t 100 percent comfortable” facing the Blues. Halak was traded to Buffalo on Feb. 28 after playing three and a half seasons with the Blues and was then traded to the Capitals on March 5.
“Jaro never at anytime said he didn’t want to start against St. Louis,” agent Allan Walsh said in a news release sent to the Washington Post. “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.”
Not long after Oates made his original comment, Halak was asked if it was accurate and didn’t dispute the account stating that the trade was still “fresh” on his mind. Halak, 28, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
At issue here is that Oates offered up details of a conversation between coaches and a player for public consumption, which is a break in pattern for the coach. Throughout his two-year tenure Oates has consistently declined to divulge that type of information in order to preserve his relationship with players. Some, including Walsh and former Capital Alan May, believe the contents of Halak’s discussion with Oates should have remained private.
Regardless of the point of view, Oates and Halak certainly don’t appear to be on the same page and that’s not an encouraging sign for a team clinging to a slim chance of reaching the playoffs.
(From The Bog: Joe B., Locker and Laich weigh in.)