It’s too quiet

Happy Easter Sunday to the whole famn HIO damily!

And what better way to celebrate than by starting a good throw-down between the Halakites and the Priceians.

Sitting down to dinner in the Bell Centre’s Jacques Beauchamp media lounge, Red Fisher offered some unsolicited advice to Canadiens’ management:

“I’d sign him now.”

“Him” is Jaroslav Halak – and this was an hour before Jaro received his customary tumultuous applause from the adoring hometown fans and 3 1/2 hours before he skated off the ice with his second shutout in 24 hours.

If you haven’t done so yet, read Jean-Franccois Bégin’s superb La Presse feature on Jaro. Most interesting are the comments of former Canadiens’ goaltending coach Roland Melanson:

“Nothing about Jaro’s success surprises me,” Melanson told Bégin. “He’s a guy who’s tough and self-disciplined, who always wants to play at the very hghest level. It takes an attitude like that to be number-one.”

What do you suppose Melanson, who lost his job because of problems with Carey Price, say about the Canadiens’ number-two goaltender?

I’m getting a sore butt, like the Easter bunny in the cartoon, from fence-sitting on the goaltender issue.

 

 

A batallion of hockey gurus, from Scotty Bowman down, think the
Canadiens should keep Carey Price. The consensus among experts: Price
has more upside than Halak.

But does Price have the attitude and
work ethic to realize his immense potential?

Perhaps Jaro Halak,
who turns 25 next month, will never be better than he is now.

But
you know what?

He’s pretty good.

And Jaro will work hard at
getting better. Just since the beginning of this season, you can see
improvement in his puckhandling.

Chosen in the ninth round of the 2003 draft, 271st overall, Halak has worked his butt off and overachieved at every level of his career: the Q, the ECHL, the AHL, the Olympic Games and The Show.

In Bégin’s piece, Gilles Moffet, editor of of Goalies’ World magazine, offers this assessment of Halak:

“The word that sums him up best is ‘competitor’. He’s not a first-round draft choice and he’s had to fight to get to where he is. He’s very methodical and takes nothing for granted.

“He excels at getting his knee down for shots from an angle, and his footwork and balance are exceptional. Because he’s not big – 5’11″, 180 pounds – he has to maximize the space he can cover. This requires good reading of the play and very precise positioning.”

Jan Filc, the former goaltender who coached Slovakia in Vancouver, told Bégin described Halak as “very flexible, a master of the butterfly who has very fast arms.

“Few goaltenders cover as much space and react as quickly on high shots,” Filc added. “He’s also very patient.”

In addition to his physical skills, Halak has a lot of talent between the ears.

As was the case with Cristobal Huet, Jaro takes the blame for his rare losses and lavishes praise on his teammates for wins … even on the frequent occasions when he’s had to stand on his head and make 40-plus stops for a W.

My great and good friend Red Fisher is a grumpy old coot who has spent two seasons ragging on Carey Price because Red resented the unseemly haste with which some anointed the kid Franchise Saviour.

But when the Living Legend of Sports Journalism began his career, he covered Jacques Plante. Red has seen many goaltenders – good, bad and indifferent – over the last 55 years.

If Fisher thinks Halak should be signed, then it’s Pierre Gauthier should seriously consider.

I don’t envy the Canadiens’ GM.

Either of his goaltenders could become a star elsewhere. But which of them is the greater risk to become a bust in Montreal.

Jaro Halak, who hasn’t given up a goal in 144:41, will start Tuesday on Long Island.

Unless he’s bombed by the Islanders, Jaro will start in Carolina on Thursday.

Best case scenario has him resting for the playoffs while Price – who began the season with a 43-save performance in Toronto – plays a meaningless game against the Leafs.

Then you can bet al your Easter eggs Halak will start the playoffs, where jaro’s performance will either up his market value or make it impossible for Gauthier to lose him.

On that note, I leave it to the Commentariat.

But please, let’s keep it civil.

It’s Easter.

 

 

234 Comments

  1. RetroMikey says:

    Perhaps Red has a passion for journalism, and why would he want to be a scout, coach or GM?

    He’s be crazy to change careers!

    Red is an expert in my books.

    Too many envious Habs fans on this site.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  2. ZepFan2 says:

    “How many games has Fisher, watched, anlayzed and reported?”

    Compared to actually participating in the actual games?! Are you serious?

    ———————————————————–

    Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.”
    - Sam Pollock

  3. ZepFan2 says:

    “When Red Fisher speaks, everyone should listen.”

    As opposed to Scotty Bowman, a Stanley cup winning coach, multiple times, the coach with the most wins in the NHL?!

    Yeah, right. lmao

    ———————————————————–

    Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.”
    - Sam Pollock

  4. RetroMikey says:

    How many games has Fisher, watched, anlayzed and reported? 

    Since 1954 and that does not include just our Habs.

    Red is just doing his job, journalism at it’s best! 

    Why would he coach?

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  5. keepthefaith says:

    Mikey you lost my respect long ago when you said you wanted this team to miss  the playoffs.  I am  a Price fan but i love Halak. The difference between me and you is i dont give a fck who plays nets.  I want the team to win.

    The whole thing about vendetta with Red Fisher is crap.  All i said was i dont take everything he says as gospel because he has watched hockey for 50 years. Id prefer to take someone like Scotty Bowmans views as a guy who has been a winner in his particular field. Sure Red is a great(debateable) writer, but that is all. A writer.

  6. keepthefaith says:

    Totally agree. Sure Fisher watched a lot of hockey. So did I , and with these days of computers and watching 4-5 games at once i probably watched just as many hockey games as old Red. Im no expert and neither is he. Chuck is right , if he was such an astute scout he wouldnt have to be a writer.

  7. Fred D says:

    Except that Scotty Bowman’s present job is to help win “Cups” for another team, so his motives are distinctly suspect when he offers gratuitous advice to the Habs Management about which goalie to keep. Just maybe he wants the other one?

  8. Bill says:

    There’s an extremely rational explanation for that. The human brain is highly susceptible to the influence of a strong and concerted message. People will very readily ignore the evidence of their own senses if enough people tell them that up is down or black is white. It’s why advertising works. Price was so hyped for so long by the media and Habs management that no matter what Halak does, there will always be plenty of people on this site and elsewhere who can’t shake the strange feeling that Price must be better … their TV told them so, after all.

    Price might very well be better than Halak in a couple of years. I would bet my house that he’ll be at least just as effective as Halak within that time-frame. But right now Halak has the edge, and all you need to know that is your own eyes and enough time to watch the games.

     

  9. Xtrahabsfan says:

    What if the Sun blows out,lol?

  10. Chuck says:

    “Because Fisher says so.” Yikes.

    How many Stanley Cup Champions has Fisher coached, and how many top picks has he drafted?

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  11. Chuck says:

    Yep… you can’t earn your bonuses if you don’t hit your targets. And you can’t hit your targets if you aren’t getting enough playing time to do so.

    Another curiosity: check out http://www.hockeybuzz.com/cap-central/ It appears as though we would be $1,249,560 over the cap if everyone earned their full bonuses. Carey’s bonus alone is $1,350,000.

    Brock Trotter and Mathieu Carle probably wouldn’t earn much bonus money, though their potential share only comes to $453,000. Sergei Kistitsyn and Tom Pyatt are the other two who will probably end up earning some bonus money… $555,000 is allocated between the two of them.

    Pyatt, Kostitsyn, Carle and Trotter only add up to a savings of $1,008,000… and that’s if all of those players earn NO bonus.

    $1,249,560 over the cap, – $1,008,000 potential non-Price bonus savings = $241,560 over the cap.

    Could it be that Carey’s lack of playing time has less to do with his performance on the ice, and more to do with saving potential bonus money to get under the cap?

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  12. ManApart says:

    I can think of 15 teams right off the hop, where Price would not start.

  13. punkster says:

    Never…EVER…piss off a Sudbury boy.

  14. ManApart says:

    You could put Price in the last category, A good junior career and a decent rookie year and then all downhill. You say you’re not convinced on Halak. I’ll tell you, I’m way more convinced on Halak than I am on Price. Price handled adversity well? How? By melting down his first playoff year, having a mini breakdown last season and losing his job after having the one of the worst winning% in the league, this year. His numbers are not bad, but overall since he’s come into the league, we have to say he has been crushed by the pressure. I don’t think anyone in the world, would have thought he would be where he is now, 3 years ago.

  15. RetroMikey says:

    When Red Fisher speaks, everyone should listen.

    Jaroslav Halak is the man!

    I never thought this day would come when finally Jaro is getting the recognition he deserves.  Watching him in Hamilton many times and meeting him at various Bulldogs functions, I knew this young man had the class and loyalty to don a CH jersey, that’s what’s  it all about folks.

    Carey, you are not given a starting position because  you are labelled “the franchise” by the media, fans or by Bobby the blunder. 

    This is a lesson to Carey, work hard in the summer and  change your work ethic and character to be like Jaroslav’s, accept defeat and move forward, handle the pressure as well. as we are Hockeytown in Montreal and we will always be the most harsh and critical fans on this planet when it come to our passion for our Les Canadiens.

    If not, then many fans like myself hope  you will be traded for a Carter or Richards or a bigg offensive CMan we yearn for.  I have not given up on Price, but we have to do what is best for the club

    So don’t be disppointed Habs fans, throw all those McFarlane or McDonald
    figurines, or better yet, repaint them to Jaro’s face and jersey
    number, the guy will be signed in the summer and your figurines will be an investment.

    Way to go Jaro!  You are finally being recognized by Red Fisher and others!

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  16. howtathor says:

    Jaro could win the Stanley Cup and I think Carey Price would still be perceived to have more upside. If that’s the way the hockey intelligentsia thinks then all the better for us. I would gladly trade Price for a Jeff Carter or Patrick Sharp. You can be sure if they are unsigned, one or both will receive an offer sheet July 1 which we will either have to match or let them walk. Like it or not there is some wierd mojo at work here. Carey Price sitting on a 2-0 lead and the team falls apart? They didn’t fall apart for Jaro (almost in Philly). Excellent game on NBC between Philly and Detroit which could be Carey Price’s new address come July. Take into consideration that both Marty Turco and Tim Thomas may be available. Then again, they have no upside. 

  17. makka83 says:

    What if Halak faulters next year? What then? Also Halak is not undervalued, right now, I would say he is overvalued and will cost us much more than had we signed him last year or earlier this year. Sure he deserves it based on his work this year but if he gets a big raise and then does not do great next year… then what? What if he’s a one hit wonder. This is unlikely for us to think about right now but the same way Huet was unlikely to be a one hit wonder or Theo after his vezina years. There is no way to tell what is going to happen in the future so when you sign someone you are hoping its the right person.

    Whether you get it right like the A’s did is RARE and does not happen often. That’s why there is a book about it.

  18. Matt_in_TO says:

    Trading Carey will be the same mistake that trading Patrick was.  Just think how different things would be right now if Carey had a few bounces go his way much like Jaro has them going his way.  I have never seen anything like what’s been going on this year.  Both of them, especially lately have been playing fantastic yet one has lady luck on his side while the other lady luck is acting like a woman scorned. 

     

    I think we should try and sign both and not be in such haste to trade either one.

     

    - Guy Boucher for head coach

  19. sidhu says:

    Anyone who cares about the Price vs. Halak debate (e.g., Gauthier, Bowman, Pierre McGuire, the rest of the hockey media, Habs I/O posters) need to read Moneyball, by Michael Lewis.  It is a fantastic sports book, chronicling why the Oakland A’s were able to succeed despite its limited budget.  The A’s “secret” was to sign undervalued guys who actually performed, rather than give into the “group think” about someone’s potential or upside — which often never panned out. 

    Applied to this case, this fact: “A batallion of hockey gurus, from Scotty Bowman down, think the
    Canadiens should keep Carey Price. The consensus among experts: Price
    has more upside than Halak.” should mean absolutely nothing to the Habs, Gauthier in particular.  What does matter — performance and in this case Halak has won, for some reason gets the goal support we need to win, while Price plays well but doesn’t get the W’s.  It’s that simple.

    Let the “hockey gurus” think Price is a potential hall of famer — it will only help us get a better return when/if he is traded.

    Go Habs Go!

  20. likehoy says:

    the fun police is on the prowl ;):)

    - Team Halak V.S. Team Price…Montreal Canadiens Fans are similar to 14 year-old Girls going through Puberty.

  21. Chuck says:

    Carey couldn’t be sent to Hamilton this year without clearing waivers.

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  22. Greg says:

    It’s all gonna come down to the cap.  Do they move Hammer? What happens to MAB? How much does Pleks get? All these things have to be decided when considering Jaro vs. Price.  Price is cheaper, and Jaro could fetch (like Demers said last night) more than the 2nd rounder Huet got us. Another question is, can we afford whatever we “could” get for Halak? Trading Halak for someone with a equal paycheque doesn’t make tons of sense, unless it really fills a need (big center/winger?).

    And let’s not forget Cedric Desjardins… Habs are deep in goal, but who starts next season will depend on a LOT of variables this summer, not just who’s better now, or who WILL be better later…

    Besides, there’s enough morons in this city that will booo Price out of town regardless.  By the way, loved Stubbs’ article on Price getting booed while getting 3rd star honours.  I chuckled thinking of him writing it, trying to use the most PC insults he could think of for those boo-birds.  I hear you Dave!

    GO HABS GO!

    “I lined up next to him at a faceoff, looked over and said “Hi Rocket”. All he did was growl.”

    -Gordie Howe

  23. likehoy says:

    halak was getting chastised all last year with his poor rebound control and started the year 2-6 while price was 10-2…but halak worked hard to come back around and it’s been a see-saw ever since.

    - Team Halak V.S. Team Price…Montreal Canadiens Fans are similar to 14 year-old Girls going through Puberty.

  24. fun police says:

    getting mad at price because he was anointed by others is stupid.  Red should know better than that. 

  25. Bob Barker says:

    Maybe because he’d have to clear waivers to go to Hamilton so they didn’t want to lose him for nothing. 

  26. Deano says:

    I do not understand why having two quality goaltenders is such a big issue.  Actually, I believe it is a great “problem” to have.  Sign them both (if some dumb*** Burkian GM doesn’t give one of them a riduculous amount of money as an RFA … then take the draft choices and run).  PK gives Gauthier a great opportunity to trade a very high priced D man for futures or a cheap top 6 forward; making the cap space available.  Some day one of them will yield a lofty bounty.

    For now, we should all be able to relax a little and know that at least one of them could get real hot by the playoffs … wouldn’t that be fun.  Worry about the summer come summer.  Live in the now (oops … I am showing my age).

  27. brysonom says:

    Price still has a tonne of trade value…based on articles by guys like Friedmon on cbc the gms he asked said they would have a lot of interest in him…his is young…he is 10-1-3 when they have scored more than 2 goals for him…his numbers are comparable to a lot of other good goalies and he is still young and still restricted for contact talks…

  28. Hockey Socks says:

    When the season’s over, I’m sure Gauthier will put both of them on the trading block and see who fetches the best return.

  29. Bob Barker says:

    Keep them both, with Halak as the starter. They’re both young. Give Price 25-30 starts next year. A combined cap hit of 5-6 million for both goalies is lower than most other teams in the league.

    If we trade one of them it would likely be for a top-6  roster player (at least I’d hope so) so the salary cap considerations are likely a wash. I really hope PG decides to keep both. 

     

     

     


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