Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jaroslav Dangerfield?

He just don't get no respect.

I've been watching the pundits dissect the Cristobal Huet trade and subsequent consequence of 20-year-old Carey Price becoming the Canadiens' number-one goalie. The prevailing school of thought is that Gainey may be losing his marbles to have dumped Huet with a playoff spot and potential post-season success at stake. Most experts think Carey Price is too young to be given the responsibility of manning the Habs' crease all by himself. After all, he's not Dryden or Roy, and a Calder Cup championship does not an NHL number-one make.

What the anaylists are overlooking is the fact that Carey Price is NOT alone. He has a very capable, though young, backup in Jaroslav Halak. Halak proved his mettle last season as a 21-year-old rookie, when he walked in to replace the injured Huet and almost hauled the Habs into the playoffs...after they'd spent the entire second half of the season trying hard to prove they didn't deserve to be there. But he seems to have vanished from the collective memory of hockey people.

I'm not saying Halak is better than Price or that he'll be some kind of miracle worker for the Habs if the team isn't working together to win. But he's a good young goalie in his own right who does deserve some notice for his contribution to the team in the past, and for performing well in Hamilton after being ignominously demoted in September, even after a strong training camp.

Carey Price is a good young goalie who has a big job ahead of him, with a lot of pressure to perform. And the pundits are right...he's twenty years old and it's to be expected that he'll falter at some point. But they're wrong to say that when that inevitably happens, the Habs will plummet. Halak is there to help, and even though he gets no respect, he's more than capable of doing that.


ganderhab said...

Exactly right. Halak last year was 16-10-0 with 2 shutouts, 2.89 gaa and a .906 save percentage on a team that was outshot on a regular basis. Had it not been for a bad game against the Rangers I think he would have started against the Leafs on the last night and who knows. Remember how he bailed us out when Abby stunk? Let's hope he doesn't have to do it again.

NailaJ said...

You think Halak's getting pissed?
What about Yann Danis?!
Constantly pushed aside by the organization - including Melansson, who thinks Danis would be a number 1 goalie in the NHL, but that it won't happen with the Habs.
First Halak, then Price.
And every time, Danis is told to be the backup, to let the other guy grow (and get promoted before he does).
The same is set to happen with Desjardins, which sucks, because even if, as Pat Hickey says, the Habs want to see how Desjardins reacts under pressure, Danis totally deserves his day.