By John Vogl
Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart went from a Stanley Cup favorite to the 30th-place team. It was a shock, but they're willing to make the most of their time in Buffalo.
They also know they might not spend much time in Buffalo.
Halak and Stewart, acquired from St. Louis on Friday in the deal that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the Blues, practiced with the Sabres for the first time today. It's entirely possible it was the only practice they'll ever have in First Niagara Center. Ottawa is highly interested in acquiring Stewart before Wednesday's trade deadline, while the Star-Tribune in Minnesota reports the Wild are hot for Halak.
"I’m happy to be here right now, and we’ll see what’s going to happen a few days from now if I’m still here," Halak said. "Anything can happen from now on. We’ve got three more days before the trade deadline, and we’ll see."
Halak, a pending unrestricted free agent, is 24-9-4 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Minnesota likely isn't the only club that would be interested in the goaltender.
The Senators like the 6-foot-2, 231-pounder Stewart for his physical game and scoring touch. The 26-year-old scored 15 times for the Blues this season and potted 28 goals with Colorado in 2009-10.
"You hear about all the rumors," Stewart said. "As long as I’m here, I’m going to focus 100 percent of my energy on winning hockey games for the Buffalo Sabres."
Both players quickly showed their sense of humor. It was noted to Stewart how much he stands out among the smaller Sabres.
"Standing next to John Scott out there, it’s kind of bit of an ego killer," he said of the 6-8 defenseman. "In this game you’ve got to play to your strengths, and as you can see I’m going to use my big frame to my advantage, finish checks and get to the net. I like to score those ugly goals and bang some bodies around."
Halak was asked what awaits Miller in St. Louis.
"Probably less shots," the goalie said. "He’s a great goalie, and he’s going to fit in. We’ll see how that’s going to work out for them. Like I said, I wish them good luck in the playoffs."
taggedChris Stewart | Jaroslav Halak