Capitals’ Halak uneasy playing former team

Jaroslav Halak. (Alex Brandon/AP)
April 8, 2014, 5:19 PM

Jaroslav Halak says he isn’t comfortable playing against his former team, so the Washington Capitals will bench him when they visit the St. Louis Blues Tuesday.

Halak has been with the Capitals since the March 5 trade deadline after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres five days after the Blues shipped him out of town in the Ryan Miller trade.

Braden Holtby will start for the Capitals, who are still fighting for their playoff lives in the Eastern Conference.

“We know the feelings when you go into your old stomping ground and it’s not always easy and you’re not always comfortable, at least the first time,” Capitals coach Adam Oates told reporters. “We talked to [Halak] and he just wasn’t 100 percent comfortable. Unfortunately this time of year and where we’re at, we can’t afford that and Holts has played great lately. We feel really good about that and Holts is playing.”

On Monday, Halak told reporters he was looking forward to going back to St. Louis, but explained he wasn’t happy that he was traded in the first place.

This isn’t the first time Oates has publically spoken about one of his players in a less than flattering way. Last week, Oates called out Alex Ovechkin for quitting on a play in a game against the Dallas Stars.

The Capitals have lost five of their last six games and haven’t won in regulation since March 18.

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