Jaro the Canadiens’ best ever?

Michel Villeneuve thinks so.

The provocative host of CKAC’s afternoon drive show, Les amateurs de sports, made that claim today.

Villeneuve believes Jaro Halak’s playoff performances to date are better than anything accomplished by Georges Vézina, Bill Durnan, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and the holiest of holies, the stingiest of stingies, the great Patrick Roy.

Villeneuve bases his assessment on how Halak has played in the five elimination games the Canadiens have faced in two rounds: three win-or-go-homes against Washington, two against Pittsburgh.

Jaro’s GAA: 1.60

Facing a average of 42 shots per do-or-die game, his save percentage is 96.2.

Those numbers are just STUPID!

Villeneuve also suggests we factor in the quality of opposition firing all those shots.

Yes, the Bruins were a powerhouse in 1971, when Dryden stoned them.

But in 1986 and 1993, St. Patrick didn’t face players as dangerous as Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, Semin, Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Gonchar and Letang – playing without a red line and under rules designed to promote offence and protect Sidney Crosby.

As to the merits of the goaltenders’ supporting casts, I’ll leave that assessment to the Commentariat.

Anyway, something to chew over on an off-day.

Puck shower by Josie Gold, the Photo Shop genius whose work graces Four Habs Fans

•  •  •

New History will be made, with Brian Gionta


  1. Aaron13 says:

    Modal average? How many classes did you miss in high-school. It’s either mean, median or mode…

  2. bostonantifan says:

    No offense, FSUPhi1584, but your comment “The goalies that have been consistently excellent over their entire career have been few and far between. In fact only two come to mind at the moment: Brodeur and our very own Patrick Roy.” gives away your youth.  You are correct that they’re few and far between, but there were several others who should stir your memory: Dryden, Bernie Parent, Grant Fuhr. Going back further, Jacques Plante.

  3. FSUPhi1584 says:

    Actually now that I look at the stats, you’re right. I didn’t really remeber how good he was since I was still very young in the 90’s and only remember him from when he played with the Red Wings

  4. Canadiangrrl says:

    1) Will Halak continue to play at the same level?  <<< I think so.  I hope so.

    2) Will Markov be back and when?  Possibly, but he risks damage to his meniscus, and if he does come back pre-surgery, I doubt his skating will be of the calibre we’re used to seeing from Andrei.

    Will the Habs have to change their style to compete against a bigger
    team that plays a more physical game, and are Spacek and Gill and
    others healthy enough to do so?  <<< No.  There’s always the temptation to fix what isn’t broken.  So far, what we’re doing is working.  Keep doing it until it no longer works, and be prepared to make changes if/when they’re needed.

    4) Most of the Habs are playing
    near their top potential. Of the guys who might still have more to give
    (which is not to say they’re playing badly), who steps his game up next
    series? Plekanec? AK46? Pouliot? Metropolit?  <<< Pouliot.  And AK needs to play like he did in game 7.  I think Pleks is doing all that he can, which is a hell of a lot. 

    5) Can the Habs adapt to not being the heavy underdog and can they win a series without facing elimination? <<<  Yes.  Why?  Just a feeling.  And it’s an interesting question to contemplate.

  5. Canadiangrrl says:

    Gotta agree with the others…no way does Hasek belong on that list.  He’s equal to Brodeur and Roy.

  6. makka83 says:

    The funny thing is, you never actually write up an argument. You just insult people. So you always look stupid and your argument always sounds wrong.

  7. makka83 says:

    Actually that argument was based on statistical facts back then. Noone said Halak WILL BE good against sub 0.500 teams… His STATS were saying that… I know the facts make your brain hurt but they are undeniable. Until a little after the Olympics. The Win%, Sav% and GAA for Halak against top teams was similar or worse than Price’s…and that’s a FACT!

  8. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    I’m only going to answer #1:

    After seeing the third period against Pittsburgh, I’m convince Jaro somehow took it up a notch from his already fabulous post season.  He looked like a demon who had just decided that, no, Pittsburgh will NOT get back in this game.  Hard to justify after all he accomplished before that point, but seriously, that third period of his sent a message.  

    Jaro will continue.

    And a mere four months ago I didn’t think he’d be a playoff goalie.  I love crow. 


    “The good thing about drinking during games is if they lose, you’re too drunk to care during and too hungover to care after.” – J.T.

  9. makka83 says:

    Finally you admit you could careless about the team and care only about 2-3 players and how they do…

    Unlike you, Serious fan and I care about the whole team. We stick up for them from the idiocy of bashing for no reason.

    I like all our players.

  10. J. Ambrose says:

    Yeah, that flash-in-the-pan Hasek: 6 Vezinas, back-to-back Hart trophies, Olympic Gold and a Stanley Cup. Only considered one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game by none other than Gretzky. Yeah, who remembers him?

  11. Chuck says:

    Interesting read.


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

  12. Chuck says:

    Hyperbole… just the word that I was looking for, Andrew. But at least it’s great for generating comments, eh? Heck, his SV% is only a few ticks better than his regular season number. And his GAA is actually worse. More importantly, he’s been inconsistent.

    What Jaro has going for him is having been the winner in 5 elimination games. Of course, if he hadn’t sucked in three previous games, the Habs might not have been facing elimination… but that’s another matter.

    And as for the “Yeah, but he had to face, Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Crosby, Staal and Malkin” argument, let’s remember how ineffective those players were in their series. Our skaters did a hell of a job shutting them down. Jaro didn’t have to face these guys in full flight. Look at what Crosby did to Ottawa. Us? Not so much…

    If he can keep it up for the next two rounds AND we win the Cup, then let the discussions begin. Until then, what he can lay claim to is one of the greatest 3-game playoff performances in Hab history… to that there is no doubt.

    Heck, Mike Cammalleri is on pace to easily set the record for most goals by a Hab in one playoff year; are we talking about him being the greatest ever?



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

  13. santeri says:


    Dominant ONCE?

    Dude, Hasek was the most dominant athlete in the game the whole 90’s. Six Vezinas, two Harts, an Olympic Gold. He dominated the game, not once but a whole decade. And he was pretty accomplished already before coming to the NHL and won the Cup when he was past his prime the next decade by setting the record for shutouts in a single playoff season. His head-to-head record in elimination games vs. such saints as Roy is impeccable.


    Shoo-in first-year HOF when (if) he ever retires.



  14. Chris says:

    Opportunism combined with the fact that those were both pretty darned good teams, which has largely gone forgotten in the mythology of the Canadiens.  The 1986 Habs finished 7th overall, tying for 6th overall in goals scored and finishing 4th overall in goals against.  I will at least concede that they were a surprise given the major tailspin they went on to close out that season:  on March 1, 1986, the Habs were sitting on a 35-23-6 before closing the season 5-10-1.  Where they got lucky was that Steve Smith dispatched the overwhelming favourite Oilers with an own-goal and the lowest seed in the East, the New York Rangers, knocked off both of the favourites in the East (the Capitals and Flyers).  With those three teams down, Montreal was pretty much the equal of any team left in the playoffs and capitalized on that.

  15. Chris says:

    Patrick Roy was a colossal failure in the playoffs from time to time too. That doesn’t diminish their skill…just means they didn’t get lucky in a league where upsets are much more likely to happen along the way due to parity.

  16. Chris says:

    I could not disagree more. If anything, we’re probably seeing the best goaltending league wide that we’ve ever seen. When Patrick Roy joined the Canadiens in 1986, goaltenders were often the least athletic kids on their teams growing up. Roy had a large part in changing that, particularly in Quebec. Now, if you go to the various rinks, goaltenders are often the most athletic kids on their teams…it has become a glamour position.

    This is part of why I harp a little bit about what I call “The Cult of the Goaltender”. In the 1980’s, you had a few truly elite goalies that transcended the game. Now, goalies are largely interchangeable: Martin Brodeur gets injured, Scott Clemmensen steps in and puts up equivalent numbers. Roberto Luongo leaves Florida, Tomas Vokoun steps in and there is no significant decline in the goaltending.

    Throw in the expansion of the talent pool…the Eastern Bloc countries, from which few of the elite players escaped prior to the downfall of communist rule, are now open, allowing goalies like Jaroslav Halak, Tomas Vokoun, Evgeni Nabokov and Nikolai Khabibulin to come over. The expansion of hockey in a country like Switzerland has seen a recent boom in NHL calibre players, such as Jonas Hiller, Martin Gerber and David Aebischer. The success of Miika Kiprusoff has led NHL scouts to Finland, yielding Tuuka Rask, Pekka Rinne and Niklas Backstrom. Even 20 years ago, it is unlikely that we would have seen more than 1 of these guys in the NHL.  So while I agree that you don’t see the elite goalies that you mention anymore, that is because the goaltending on the whole is leaps and bounds better than ever before.

    There is also no doubt in my mind whatsoever that players today are both more skilled as well as bigger, stronger and faster than their peers of yesteryear. And they are probably the best prepared in terms of coaching and advanced scouting. However, this improvement is across the entire league…what this means is that the gap between the best players and the worst players has shrunk, so it is not as easy to see dominant performances.

    Make no mistake…a kid like Sidney Crosby is every bit as skilled as any player in the history of hockey. But he’s playing against teams that spend an afternoon watching videotape to see his tendencies. He’s playing against opponents who are ALL fitness freaks by 1980’s standards. He’s playing against goaltenders whose equipment is so large that you can no longer see 50% of the net from the top of the faceoff circle coming down on your off-wing. He is playing in an era where the presence of salary caps makes the collection of talent that was seen in the glory years of Montreal, Boston or Edmonton virtually impossible.

    While it is impossible to ever know, I sincerely doubt that guys like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr do significantly better than the players of today…they would still be stars, but it would be nearly impossible for them to post the kind of numbers they did.

  17. sholi2000.com says:

    Jim Carey

    Steve Penny

    are two that come to mind.

    Tim Thomas= Jim Carey

    Win a Vezina, sit for life.

    I love my goalies.  But I would never compare Halak to other tenders from other eras.  How good would Halak be at half the equipment size?  We’ll never know.

    But right now he’s helping our boys win game after game, and I just hope it keeps on rollin.

    He deserves a lot of respect, and I (Huge Price Fan) am happy he’s ours.  Makes for a very interesting July….



    They Call Me Shane

  18. G-Man says:

    So, like, if players are better now (your assertion above), wouldn’t it follow that Halak is better, too? I disregard your equipment argument because ALL goalies right now are using that HUGE equipment. The difference is that Halak keeps making the saves. After tonight, there will be 4 goalies left in the playoffs. By far, Halak has been the best of this group.

  19. nik86 says:

    Surely the most you can face is 16… going down 3-0 in each series… that would mean each of your victories was an elimination game.


    Let’s hope we just win the next 8 straight… that’d be even neater 😀

  20. andrewberkshire says:

    Aw… shucks.

  21. andrewberkshire says:

    Brodeur: post lockout. Since 2004 Brodeur has been a colossal failure in the playoffs.

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