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Jaroslav Halak placed on waivers by Islanders

New York sticks with Thomas Greiss, Jean-Francois Berube in goal

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was placed on waivers by the New York Islanders on Friday in hope of generating the spark general manager Garth Snow said his team desperately needs.

Snow said the Islanders need wins and feel that going forward with goalies Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube will give them the best chance. New York (14-15-6) is last in the Metropolitan Division and 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference.

"You're always evaluating your team, it doesn't matter what position," Snow said after practice Friday at MTS Centre, where the Islanders play the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. "You help the team any way you can to maybe get a boost of confidence, build some momentum and win some hockey games.

"Thomas and J.F. have played well this year, and obviously with the injury to Christopher Gibson in Bridgeport [their American Hockey League affiliate], our depth has been compromised. We have two young goalies there we think highly of and goalies abroad as well that are playing well. We still think it's a strength of our organization."

Halak was pulled in the second period of the Islanders' 6-4 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday after allowing four goals on 24 shots, including three goals in a span of 1:20.

"Jaro wasn't sharp at all," coach Jack Capuano said afterward. "He gave up some soft goals and we had to battle back. We did against a real good team. We needed a better effort from Jaro, quite honestly. … Four goals on 24 shots isn't going to get it done."

Halak, 31, is 6-8-5 with a 3.23 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage in 21 games. He has a career record of 206-123-42 with a 2.42 GAA and a .916 save percentage in 388 games with the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and the Islanders.

"We rode [Halak] there for seven or eight straight games and we didn't have much success," Capuano said after practice. "I think everybody goes the inconsistency. I just felt, talking with Garth at his particular time, maybe [he had] a good game and then a couple bad ones."

The Islanders announced on Saturdaythat Halak had cleared waivers and has been assigned to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

"It doesn't affect us too much; we just have to sit down and analyze what goalie is going to play what game," Capuano said. "Give these guys more reps and Jaro get more playing time down there."

Greiss, who is 8-5-0 with a .922 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average in 14 games this season, said he'll continue to worry about his own performance.

"I might get a couple more games," he said. "Worry about my stuff, practice hard and play as hard as I can."

Berube, who relieved Halak on Thursday, is 0-2-0 with a .901 save percentage and a 3.27 goals-against average in four games.

"It [stinks] to see a guy of his caliber being put on waivers," Berube said. "It's kind of a tough spot for me because I want to play but at the same time he's a veteran here. He helped me a lot last year when I was coming in, just watching him in practice and the way he was practicing, I kind of picked up a few tricks from him. He definitely helped myself getting used to being in the NHL and seeing what it takes to be successful."

New York acquired Halak from Washington in a trade May 1, 2014. Three weeks later, the Islanders signed him to a four-year, $18 million contract that runs through the 2017-18 season.

Snow said he's not worrying about Halak's contract situation at this point.

"We're just worried about right here right now, starting [Saturday] and the games ahead of us," Snow said. "We'll worry about long-term decisions like that at a later date. Right now, we're looking for some wins and to give our team a spark."

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