Skip to content

Back to Laco: Slovaks will stick with KHL goalie over Halak, Budaj

Feb 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

JanLaco2 AP

Jan Laco will get his second straight start for Slovakia in Tuesday’s playoff game against the Czech Republic, according to Slovakian news outlet SITA (per

Laco, who entered Sochi as the No. 3 goalie behind St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak and Montreal’s Peter Budaj, was informed of the decision Monday and reportedly earned the start because of his stellar play against Russia in the final group game.

The 32-year-old, who plays for HC Donbass of the KHL, stopped all 36 shots faced in regulation and overtime before losing in a shootout. It marked Slovakia’s best effort of the preliminary stage and provided some optimism after the team conceded 10 goals in its first two games against the U.S. and Slovenia.

After the Russia game, Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros praised Laco — who didn’t even dress in the first two games — for turning Slovakia’s fortunes around following a rough start to the tournament.

“[Laco] was amazing. He kept us in the game,” Mezaros said, per “We had some chances but we helped him too defensively. That’s what teams do. The goalie helps us and we help the goalie.”

Halak was hooked in the loss to the Americans after allowing five goals on 25 shots. Budaj replaced him and didn’t fare much better, allowing two goals on eight shots.

Halak was then given a chance to make amends with a start against Slovenia but dropped the ball in stunning fashion, surrendering three goals as the Slovenians won for the first time in Olympic competition. Afterwards, the Blues goalie took full responsibility for the defeat.

“I think the first goal, that was a really weak goal for me,” said Halak, per “I think that kind of set the tone for the rest of the period for us. If we’re going to blame somebody, I’ll take the full blame for this loss.”

Being surpassed by Laco has to be deflating for both NHL netminders but especially for Halak, who played a major role in the Slovaks success in 2010. Although it’s hard to read too much into his Olympic performance given the small sample size, it does give the Blues something to think about as the trade deadline nears.

St. Louis has the potential to go deep into the 2014 playoffs, but only if its man between the pipes is solid.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    ” … and reportedly earned the start because of his stellar play against Russia in the final group game.”

    He was terrific in that game. Slovakia’s entire defense played beautifully against Russia. All they need now is an offense.

  2. crazemastercraze - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    He deserves it

  3. peter845 - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    What is this anti-halak-campaign all about??? I don’t get it! Honestly, the whole Slovak defense sucked against the team USA! Everybody forgot what he did for Montreal Canadians??? He is a great goalie, who already broke a shutout record in St. Louis! And he’s still not good for USA media! Well, you should have traded for Price and not for halak! I’m so tired of this BS! Price is not as good as halak. He’s just theatrical crack head! Or ask a moving company who was moving his stuff when he was “injured”… Friggin junkie! And yet you will bad mouth a solid goalkeeper and a guy who contributes to communities and represents his country! You Americans are very sad people….

    • areaman714 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      Sorry to be so rough on your son, Mrs Halak . . .

    • rrsm53 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      Cry me a river you whiny B!tch. Halak is an average goalie at best, he coudnt carry Price’s jock strap. He has had home many good years playing in the NHL, hmmmmmmmmmmm anyone anyone at all.

      When he wins something then talk about how great he is. Unreal.

  4. stakex - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    How is simply describing how Halak played an “anti-Halak” campaign? The dude allowed eight goals in two games, including a loss to a team that has NEVER won a game in the Olympics before. That’s terrible, no matter how you look at it, and no matter who it is.

    Its also funny that you go on a tirade about him being better than Price (who isn’t even a part of this story). When you look at their stats, they are pretty even…. although Price actually has a significantly higher S% compared to Halak. Now I don’t have any skin in the game since I don’t give a damn about the Blues or the Canadians…. but the only one with a twisted agenda here is you.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1783)
  2. P. Kane (1368)
  3. S. Matthias (1223)
  4. D. Carcillo (1091)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1090)