Montreal Canadiens: Time to Move On
For the Cristobal Huet case, shock would be the right world to describe the main reaction surrounding Bob Gainey's decision. Fans and players were surprised to learn that Cristo was leaving for another team when all rumours were pointing at Michael Ryder, Christopher Higgins, and even Jaroslav Halak.
Price declared that he felt like loosing a big brother, Chris Higgins talked about Huet being an amazing teammate, and Francis Bouillon expressed a big loss.
The Marian Hossa story is more a disappointment than anything else. After all those gloves stories (pff!), the Habs seemed to be close to making the deal until Pittsburgh sacrified Armstrong, Christensen, and Esposito to advance the Canadiens in Don Waddell's consideration. The good thing is that from now on, no more fuss about any kind of rumours! (Seriously, some people even declared having seen Hossa at Montreal International airport once!)
It is certainly not really what fans were expecting as the trade deadline was coming, but a second draft pick (in return of Huet) and a bunch of good young players are what they got. Not that bad, some might say.
But it is time to move on. From the moment the trade deadline was passed, the Habs had to get back to hockey and welcome their new duo of goalies. As unconditional fans that might be what we should do.
They conquered the Atlanta Trashers Tuesday night, in what appeared to be a game that starts a new era in the organization. Carey Price, the new number one, had the whole team helping, stopping 22 shots in front of him in a 5-1 win.
A game does not make a season, I agree, and questions still arise about whether or not the Price/Halak tandem will be able to make it through. Only time can answer that and we will talk about it in a month.
But that "kid" surprised more than one this last two years. With the World Championship and the Calder Cup, it seems his ability to deal with pressure is what will make a difference.
For Jaroslav Halak (who scared last practice with a knee injury that is finally okay), it is time for him to show himself like he did last year with a 10-6 record, including a sequence of five straight wins and two shutouts while Huet was injured and David Aebischer was not doing so well.
In Habs history there is a lot to say about the similarities between Carey Price's career and Patrick Roy's. "St Patrick" did well in front of the net at his first NHL season after wining the Calder cup at his first professional year in the American Hockey League.
On RDS.ca, a few videos are launched about this new number one netminder.
One of them retraces the 1986 season when Jean Perron (Montreal head coach back then) decided to give to rookie Patrick Roy the net. The rest was history.
In an interview, Perron underlined that in order to give Price chances to be as successful, the defense line will need to work twice as much—just as legends like Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios did in front of 21-year-old Roy.
In the end, coach Perron would have taken the same decision with young Price.
Do not get me wrong—it is not time to dream about a Stanley Cup as soon as this year, no matter how similar are Roy and Price's careers. There is no reason to say that because Roy did it back then, with Ken Dryden even before, fans will have to book spots over the Saint Catherine's street downtown Montreal for the famous parade!
At the same time, Price and Halak deserve all support. Nobody can say that because the team gets younger—and the Penguins got Hossa, and finally there is no NHL playoff experience for both goalies—the Montreal Canadiens will be sinking like the Titanic!
Next week will be the Western week, facing Craig Rivet (Koivu's best friend) and the Sharks on Monday, Shane Doan (Price's cousin) and the Coyotes Thursday, the Kings (Kostopoulos' former team) Saturday, and finally the Stanley Cup defending Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Before that, Price will have get through the Buffalo Sabres this Friday, and Martin Brodeur coming to the Bell Center on Saturday (TSN calls it the "curse of the goalies"). But those games are another chance for the Habs to conquer the division title, as with Ottawa loosing to the Flyers yesterday, only one point remains between the two teams.
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