DALLAS — Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart are a couple of funny guys.
Halak, acquired with Stewart in the trade that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis, was asked Sunday what awaits Miller with the Blues.
“Probably less shots,” the Buffalo goaltender said.
Stewart is a wide-bodied, 6-foot-2, 231-pounder. He stood out during his first practice with the Sabres, most of whom could reach his dimensions only with a stepping stool and iron in their pockets.
“Well,” Stewart said with a grin, “standing next to John Scott out there, it’s kind of bit of an ego killer.”
It’s unlikely Buffalo will get many more glimpses at their sense of humor.
Halak and Stewart went from a Stanley Cup favorite to the 30th-place team Friday. 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 there.
It’s entirely possible Sunday 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. He will not play tonight in Dallas against the Stars, but Stewart is scheduled to dress.
The Senators like 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.”
While they want to help the Sabres, it was tough to leave St. Louis.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed at first,” Stewart said. “If you think I’m going to come in here and pout and feel sorry for myself, that’s not the kind of person I am. I’m going to make the best of the situation and look at the positive.”
Halak is also disappointed to leave a team that can make a run toward the Stanley Cup.
“You build something, you want to see it through,” said Halak, who will have to watch Miller finish the job. “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.”
Center Tyler Ennis, who missed two games with an injury, is expected to play against the Stars in American Airlines Center. Being on the road should give the Sabres a temporary reprieve from the chaos in Buffalo that saw the trade Friday and Pat LaFontaine resign as president of hockey operations Saturday.
“Tyler is good to go,” coach Ted Nolan said. “Even he said something about what happened more so than about what his injuries are. We’re all numb right now.”