Blue in the Face

The puck stops here. (THE GAZETTE/John Mahoney)Carey "The Puck Stops Here" Price. (THE GAZETTE/John Mahoney)

From the comments here on Inside/Out, it was obvious that some fans were happy with the Huet trade, while some were sad and disheartened, but mainly it seemed that people were surprised – and even mildly confused – that Montreal’s Number One netminder had been moved to the Washington Capitals. You can count me among that perplexed majority.

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and I’m still holding my breath. When I learned that netminder Cristobal Huet had been traded to the Washington Capitals (for a 2009 2nd round draft pick) I was, to say the least, shocked. Huet has been a solid puckstopper and a consummate team player. His presence will be missed. I have, however, tremendous faith in GM Bob Gainey. I figured that the move would be for the best and also that the Canadiens would be very busy before Tuesday’s 3:00 P.M. deadline.

 

So, like everyone else, I waited.

 

The clocks on all the sports networks ticked down steadily – sometimes faster, and sometimes slower – than I would have liked. As it became clear that Pittsburgh’s GM, Ray Shero, had negotiated a true deadline buzzer-beater and snatched Marian Hossa away from the grasping hands of Gainey and others; that Ollie Jokinen would see another sunrise in Sunrise; that Brad Richards, Brian Campbell, Sergei Federov, had all been traded to teams other than the Canadiens; that Jared Stoll, Jeff Carter, Bobby Holik, Chris Gratton were staying put on their respective teams; and that Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash and Marion Gaborik weren’t all coming to the Habs in a surprise deal – I felt oddly unsatisfied. I say oddly because prior to the deadline I wasn’t in favour of any potential big moves involving the Canadiens. Acquiring a big, strong, face-off winning center for a draft pick was about as exciting as I was willing to get. After Huet was traded, however, I started to hope that something good was coming back to the Habs. But nothing did.

 

I guess that in the end this is an example of addition by subtraction. I’ve been a fan of Carey Price since the day that the Habs drafted him and I believe that he will be a franchise goaltender. I’ve been a fan of Jaroslav Halak since watching him play for the Canadiens last year and I believe that he can be a Number 1 netminder. Now they will both get a chance to prove themselves. Price will be pushed because the spotlight is focused squarely on him. Halak will get the chance to show that his strong performance last year in the NHL and his excellence in the AHL over the past two seasons was no fluke. The Habs’ forwards will get the chance to show that they can score – and that they can win – without an "impact" player. Hopefully this team can play strong, consistent hockey and show everyone why Bob Gainey has such faith in them.

 


NOTES

 

I guess my "worst-case scenario" concerning the Montreal goaltending situation isn’t likely to happen. With Halak getting a chance to play in the NHL, even as a back-up, he probably won’t bolt to Russia in the off-season. Hopefully we can see a Price/Halak tandem for years to come.

 

 

The Washington Capitals made some decent acquisitions on deadline day picking up Matte Cooke, Sergei Federov, and, of course, Huet. The Capitals are hoping to make a push and sneak into the playoffs. They could grab the 8th spot, or if they surpass Carolina and grab the lead in the weak SouthEast Division, they could theoretically place 3rd in the East. While the race is very tight right now, Montreal could very easily finish in the sixth spot. A Montreal-Washington matchup in the first round? That would be interesting.

20 Comments

  1. Hammer says:

    I give you points on the Leaf situation, and yes you are right they should not have started an ailing Huet. But any way you look at it, they still lost the game and Huet was in the net.
    Also, if you believe that Huet is a ” very good backup”, then we did not lose much.

  2. showey47 says:

    Very true and i was pissed that carbo made that decision. Huet had no business being in that game. But look at the 2 games huet played against the laffs this season, same result. I just think they are in his head. I’m not even sure if huet even beat the laffs last season.

  3. RH says:

    I find it amusing that when ever people bring up the last game against the leafs, last season, to show how much of a choker Huet is, they always seem to conveniently forget that Huet had just gotten off of IR and hadn’t seen a puck in more than two months. While the team had been in a bit of a funk before Huet got hurt, the slide really hit hard AFTER he was put on IR. The Habs had ABSOLUTELY NO goaltending UNTIL Halak managed to shake off the nerves and concentrate on improving his game. Huet should NEVER have started that game against the leafs BECAUSE Halak had the hot hand and, Huet was STILL rusty. Coaching mistake 101. Go with the hot hand. Huet has had stinkers but, he has also carried this team on his back.

    Look, Huet was never a 60+ game guy. He’s a very good back-up who managed to seize the opportunity to improve his game and show that he could be a reliable goaltender when called upon. I wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.

  4. Hammer says:

    I find it really perplexing how the folks are all over themselves about the Habs not having goaltending going into the playoffs. With Huet having a grand total of six games, I believe the Habs have not lost much. The biggest game I ever watched Huet play ( outside of the Hurricanes playoffs) was the game he stunk the joint out against the Leafs.It was a game the Habs had to win and their money goalie was no where to be found. In fact Halak had played very well up to that point and they sat him for Huet. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Huet was a team guy, and served a role over the last couple of years. But, there was no way they were going to win the cup with his skills. In fact prior to the trade he was not playing well at all. The Habs are building for the future, and he was not going to be signed next year anyways. The Habs are a mid level playoff team, and they may suprise and win a round. 2009 is the year to watch!!!!


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