Our folks have taught us to think first before we speak, so we do not send the wrong message. But some messages are just meant to be wrong.
The fuss over the goalie controversy provoked by Allan Walsh a few days ago truly reflects the susceptibility around hockey in Montreal.
That was one heck of a gutsy twit; but then again, coming from an agent whose client is constantly trying to get out of the shadow, anything is possible.
Let’s face it; some days must be frustrating for Jaroslav Halak.
In 2007, number one goalie Cristobal Huet suffered a groin injury that was going to put him on the sideline for the second half of the season. So the team recalled Halak to back-up David Aebischer.
But because of Aebischer’s poor play, Halak started 16 of the 21 remaining games. He posted a 10-6 record during a critical playoff race and kept the Habs’ hopes alive until the final battle.
One summer later, the 2007 training camp came.
After winning the Calder Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs, 19-year-old Carey Price turned many heads; including the most important of all: GM Bob Gainey.
Numerous questions were, and still are, raised concerning the proper development of a 20-year-old whose future is to carry a team on his shoulders.
A debate divided Montreal in two; there was the Carbonneau side and the Gainey one.
The head coach stressed that Price was not ready to graduate in the big club. But the GM was set; this kid was to be the future of this organization.
Gainey apparently thought another year in the AHL would be a waste of his talent. Even more, six more months as a back-up goaltender would be a shame!
With Halak second to Price, the GM expected to have a healthy competition between his young goalies. After all, nothing helps you dive off the board better than a push in the back.
However, there was going to be some collateral damage involved.
Gainey rubbed two rocks together; eventually starting a fire.
It is such a fairytale story to have a 20-year-old rookie handling the toughest job in the NHL. But that won’t make him as experienced and mature as a veteran goaltender; which according to his recent season, are two things Price needs.
I do not question his talent, but I do doubt the rest.
It has been said so many times before and it needs to be stressed again: Price needs a veteran back-up. An experienced goalie who will provide him with some ‘I-have-been-there’ talks.
At 24, Halak hasn’t been there. His first priority is becoming a number one goalie; not helping Price remain one...
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