Montreal Canadiens Paying the Price with Halak in Net?

Matt EichelSenior Writer IFebruary 25, 2009

Jaroslav Halak has usurped Carey Price as the "franchise goaltender" and has become the No. 1 man in Montreal.

Well, at least for now.

Halak, who was, at best, an average goalie when Price was on the sidelines due to injury, has shown flares of brilliance that would beg the question if he is the better goalie.

Well, at least for now he is.

Price may only have two wins in his last 11 games since the All-Star Break, and obviously switching from his red pads to his white pads hasn't helped either.  Is his confidence shaken, or is Halak just too much of a challenge to become the full-time starter?

Well, at least for now, his confidence is shot and Halak is in net.

And that is that.

Once again, Montreal Canadiens fans have to taste the pros and cons of going with a duo in the net.  It is reminiscent of many tandems—from the Patrick Roy-Brian Hayward duo, to the Andy Moog-Joceyln Thibault duo, to the Jeff Hacket-Jose Theodore duo.

This time around, it's two young netminders trying to cement themselves in the rough sea that is the Montreal hockey story.

Halak has not seemed to recover from that one year he almost took the Canadiens single-handedly into the playoffs with spectacular play in the March of 2007.  

Always on the top of the goaltending standing in the AHL, Halak has had a heck of a time getting into the role of an NHL goalie—obviously a large step from the Hamilton Bulldogs.

If Halak has regained his confidence, it could not have come at a better time.  It seems that in years past, Canadiens goalies get on a roll at the end of February and tear through March.

Gone are the March flops of Theodore and Hackett.

If you tell Halak to beware the Ides of March, he would simply ignore you.

And if Halak isn't up to the task, let's hope that Price has another spectacular March performance in store for Canadiens fans.

With one year left after this season on both Halak and Price's contracts, this march to the playoffs may define who will be the No. 1 man in the future.

For the sake of the fans and the team, Mr. Gainey, let's hope one of these young goalies comes out of the melee and grasps the No. 1 job for good.