Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was unable to spend one minute this summer working on the area of his game that needed the most attention following his first season with the Blues.

Neither a goalie coach, a trainer, nor even Halak himself could replicate the rigors that he experienced his first time as a No. 1 netminder - the mental fatigue, playing on back-to-back nights and shaking off sub-par performances. It became obvious that Halak, despite finishing with a respectable record of 27-21-7 in a career-high 57 starts, was affected by the grind.

Preparing for a more consistent campaign in 2011-12, Halak has addressed concerns the Blues had about his fitness with a productive summer of training that included drenching bike rides through the hills of his native Bratislava, Slovokia. But whether he's better equipped to handle the ups and downs of an 82-game season, not even he knows that answer.

"I don't think you can do anything to prepare yourself mentally," Halak, 26, said. "The big thing is I went through it already, so now I know what to expect. It's a big challenge, but I'm really looking forward to it."