By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Becoming a No. 1 goalie for the first time in his career certainly saw a number of ups and downs for Jaroslav Halak. Last spring's playoff hero talks about his season, what he learned and why he likes what the Blues have the ability to become:
What was it like for you to be a No. 1 goalie this season?
Being a No. 1, it's a little bit bigger responsibility, but at the same time, it's more fun because you play more. You just want to win every game you play. It's a mental thing and you need to make sure your head is clear for every game. That's the bottom line.
Did it surprise you at all with how difficult the physical and mental grind of being a No. 1 is?
As far as physical goes, I'm fine. I was fine all year long. Obviously, everybody has ups and downs. I had mine. As a team, we went through some ups and downs, but we had a young team. ... We lost guys at key moments and too bad we couldn't recover.
How would you characterize this season?
Too bad we couldn't get (to the playoffs). Overall, the season wasn't probably the best for everybody in this locker room and for me, but it was a learning season. I think I took a lot of good things from this season. ... Everybody goes through ups and downs. No one wants to go through it, but we just need to make sure we will play consistent hockey, especially me, I need to play on the same level most of the season.
How good can the Blues be moving forward?
Everybody knows in this locker room there is a lot of potential going into next season. I think everybody's excited. ... We need to try and find another level to get to the playoffs.
What can you take most out of learning what it's like to be a No. 1?
The main thing is to stay mentally fresh every game, every day of the season. I learned a lot this season. You'll go through some ups and downs and as a team we don't want to go through that all season long. ... Everybody knows here what it takes to get there.