Halak Now A Blues Brother And Price Becomes The Man

Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues? For a Danish centre named Lars Eller and young Calgary Hitman Ian Schultz?

I need to get my head around this one and it might take some time.

Is it possible that Carey Price will now become the goalie we thought he’d be after this vote of confidence from the Montreal brass? Or have we just become a basement dwellar to end all basement dwellars?

Thank you Jaro for almost single-handedly eliminating the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The team would have been gonzo in a big hurry without you, but you stood on your head as you were peppered and crashed into, and you turned a dismal season for the Montreal Canadiens into a raving success.

And for all that, you’re sent to St. Louis.

What did we get in return? A 21 year old centre named Lars Eller. And who is Lars Eller, you ask? Hey, everybody knows Lars Eller. He’s the guy who played 7 games for the Blues where he notched 2 goals and zero assists. And before that he was in Peoria, and before that he………never mind. It’s not important. It’s not what you’ve done before, it’s what you plan on doing now.

Ian Schultz is the guy who might make a difference. He was a co-captain with the Calgary Hitman so he has the leadership thing going. Of course, Tom Kostopoulos had the leadership thing too and he’s a Carolina Hurricane now.

In Schultz’s last season in Calgary, he racked up 55 points in 70 games which is more than decent. But most importantly, he’s a guy who plays with an edge who happens to have hands to go along with his grit. This is good. One thing the team needs and didn’t have was a real player who was also a real fighter. Georges Laraque didn’t fall into this category. And Travis Moen doesn’t either.

How great would it be to see a young fellow who knows how to score, dropping his gloves and causing havoc with the brutes of other teams. He has a chance to be an extremely important piece of the puzzle. I just hope it doesn’t take a few years before he finds himself.

The bottom line is, the Habs picked up two guys who might help, although Eller hasn’t exactly provided thrills and spills in his hockey career. But now we’re relying on Price in nets and frankly, he hasn’t cut it yet in the show. It makes me nervous. There will be no Jaroslav Halak to make things right again when the world appears to be ending.

I’ve had a quick look at the various forums out there to see what others are thinking, and it seems that many think it’s a good move for the Habs, and at least as many or more think it’s one of the worst deals in the history of deals. But I come back to what I think, and I remember what Halak did in the playoffs, and I remember the nerve wracking nights when Price was between the pipes.

And when the going got tough, it was Halak doing the job while Price cheered him on from the bench.

Maybe Price, now given the number one job, will be lights out every night and we’ll soon forget about Halak and carry on our merry way. The question, the really big question is, what if Price is hot and cold and mediocre and disappointing, on a regular basis? Or sometimes all of the above during the same game. Then we’re screwed. We can have a team of Gretzky, Rocket, Orr, Mario, Sid, and a dozen other beauties, but if the goaltending isn’t up to scratch, all it becomes is a team of stars that doesn’t make the playoffs.

I need to think about this more. I’m not a fence-sitter, but the Canadiens just gave up the goalie we relied on and they handed the keys to the car to the goalie we’ve scratched our heads over.

I’m just going to say, if the Canadiens are through dealing goalies and Price is the number one guy next fall, then I might have to start biting my fingernails again.

Here’s hoping Carey Price has grown up and is ready to be The Guy.

18 thoughts on “Halak Now A Blues Brother And Price Becomes The Man”

  1. yu have fingernails? ……….. halak for two prospects. a prospect is a prospect….. good for the cap?… i can think of some other ways to deal with the cap……. there must be more. i think they wanted to deal halak all this time i just expected something different……… price will be fine………. like you, i would like to think about this, but when i think, i stink.

  2. It’s not so much that we hate Price, but that we wanted something better in return. Two prospects for a proven goalie who might’ve won the Conn Smythe had the Habs gone to the final. No, I don’t get what you’re thinking Pierre.

    I have to say, after the 2008 playoffs I lost a lot of faith in Price. He couldn’t perform in 2009 either. If he can’t perform in the playoffs then what good is he? Maybe he’s matured a bit and gotten better at handling playoff games. But the team still needs a solid goalie if they haven’t gotten extremely useful players that can score big goals when needed.

    The only reason they should have traded Halak was if we got someone in return that would make goaltending less important. Niemi was allowed to play poorly because the rest of the team made up for it. This is not the case with the Habs.

    Of course, we’ll just wait and see how it turns out. These prospects might fizzle and/or Price might get chased out of town. Pierre Gauthier just turned a lot of the fan base against him. We wouldn’t have blamed him if he hung onto Halak. But he never once contacted him, so we know that Price was his guy all along.

    Kind of disheartening and makes you wonder if they just did another Roy trade. It sure makes the team look bad, with its track record. But ah well. Us fans can’t do much. If our GM was Ted Leonsis, I don’t think Halak would’ve gotten traded. I wonder if they riot like they did for the Rocket the fans’ voices might be heard?

    No matter what, we’ll cheer on our Habs. So I guess all we can say now is go Habs go! Let’s get Lord Stanley’s mug and forget about bad trades.

  3. I’m with you, Habby. We wanted something better in return. I’d just written about that a couple of days ago, like please don’t do another Patrick Roy deal. And it seems like maybe it is. But if this Shultz kid can really scrap and score 20 goals, it’ll be good. The Danish guy – man, I don’t know. He has no resume worth talking about. The main thing is, Price hasn’t done it yet in Montreal. He did it in jumior and in the AHL, but not in Montreal. So I’m very nervous. This could turn out badly.

  4. Jeez. How long have we been waiting for Price to become the goalie he apparently is supposed to be? I think it isn’t going to happen. Sorry to be a bummer, we had the best single player in the NHL playoffs, and we traded him for a handful of beans. These beans might grow… But they might just be beans.

    Halak took us to the Eastern finals. I don’t think Price will ever be on a team that will go that far. He gives up after a few goals, we’ve seen it time and time again. And when he gives up, it lasts for weeks. Ya, he does some great stuff too, but we have been saying for years, “maybe he’s matured into the goalie we need”. We had the goalie we need. Now the Blues have the goalie we need.

    Maybe they should trade Price too. Let’s get Jose Theodore back from Caps. We can trade off Cammalleri next, then PK, then Gill, then Markov…

    Sheesh. Pierre Gauthier better have some sort of plan here. Just telling Price it’s up to him is not enough. There’s got to be more. A new young stud of a goalie? Some excellent defense to give Price the support he needs? He is either going to be the best GM the league or the worst.

    I’m skeptical is an understatement. Jaro made me excited for September. Now I know it’s going to be alot more of the best 17 years. Flops and near misses. The guy who made us a force is gone. No, Jaro was not the whole team. He was the core though.

  5. Dennis, I’m mixed. I like Gauthier’s guts to go against popular opinion and trade Halak. I had never heard of either prospect, but they seem to have promise.
    I hope it’s not all about trying to save cap space. Cheap prospects and Price should command less than Halak. Plekanec isn’t worth blowing the bank, we need a scoring stud.
    My biggest surprise is that I was expecting such a deal to be immediately followed by an announcement that Price has signed a contract. I hope that will happen tomorrow. I’m guessing 3 years for $7.5M which is a bit high, but tolerable.

  6. Hi Chris. I guess it’s all about money. Can’t be paying big money to a goalie sitting on the bench so one had to go. Then there are other free agents who will want raises. But I’m mixed like you. I still really don’t know what to think. What if Price starts the season with a couple of bad games? He’ll be booed, his confidence might go south, and then this trade might go down as a real bad one. But we’ll wait and see because we don’t really know. It’s quite shocking. And who will be the backup?

  7. Hey Dennis, Well to tell you the truth I was little shocked by this deal,two prospects for a hot goalie ,in my books doesnt really cut the ice.But you know something there is always the unknown factor when a player moves to another team.He or his agent may have initiated this move,the Hbs may think that showing Carey that htey have confidence in him may get him o pull out of his slump and get back to playing the way we know he can.I have always liked Carey Price after seeing just what he can do,I know that he has had some problems but hopefully he can overcome this and get a move on this fall.Let’s hope that Gauthier’s first big deal will turn out for our team,afterall this is our team forever.

  8. Hey Derry. Well put. Maybe now that Price has been given the job and there’s no more goalie back and forth stuff, he might just pull up his socks and be tremendous. We all hope so, that’s for sure. This is a little shocking, though, and I’m a bit nervous about it.

  9. Diane, I might have to get there sooner than I expected to get the house in order. The turmoil never stops in Montreal, so when I’m owner, there’s going to be meditation and incense and Beatles music for all office workers and possibly in the dressing room too. Time to stop all this and I need you to help me. I hope Carey Price likes Beatles music.

  10. Dennis, I loved your post and agree with it wholeheartedly. No, I haven’t been smoking any funny cigarettes. I’m nervous about Price. I’ve had 3 years of hearing about his potential. I only wish my Daddy handed me the keys to his shiny new car while I was still learning to drive, as much as the Habs have handed Price the net.

    I remember how Price was going to be the next big goalie for Montreal after the Huet deal. Didn’t happen. Fast forward and now I’m supposed to have more blind faith – again – that he’ll be that guy for Montreal after the Halak deal? His potential is finally going to produce? It’d sure be a nice change!

    I’m sick of hearing about nothing more than the almighty potential, and that includs the two new prospects a lot of people are so grateful for – myself excluded. This organization does not have the best track record with young prospects, and Boucher is in Tampa Bay.

    I want some damned payoff, and I don’t want to have to wait another 17 years for it.

    Also, just because I don’t agree with PG’s bold and unpopular move does NOT make me less of a Habs fan. Just throwing that out there, cause it’s getting thrown at me an awful lot today.

  11. Tyg, thanks, and I’m with you all the way when you say you want some payoff. All along they said they could trade a goalie and get a top-six forward no problem And they say this Eller could be the guy but damn, he’s got 7 games in the NHL under his belt. What is that? So we’ll just wait and see. As far as Price goes, he’s regressed over these few years but maybe now that he has the keys, he’ll turn into Jacques Plante and Gauthier will look like a genius and end in the builder’s category of the Hall of Fame. This is a real head-shaker and no one knows the outcome. And what if Price begins the season looking terrible? What then?

  12. This is one heck of a deal. I’m actually very impressed they were able to pull this off! The Blues gave up two of their top prospects in a trade when they could have kept their top prospects and either tossed an offer sheet the Habs had no hope in matching (sending back a 1st and a 3rd in picks) or just tried to get someone like Dan Ellis as a UFA keeping both the prospects and/or picks alltogether. (They still haven’t technically signed Jaro yet either).

    Eller is a really good player (think of Plekanec, only bigger). Schultz is great and gritty (gotta love those Hitmen!). This is like Dagger for Palushaj territory…

  13. I agree, 31, except we don’t know how Price is going to play. And you have to agree, we’ve seen some pretty bad games from him in the past. But this is a fresh start and maybe he’ll be the guy we thought he’d be. So it could be one heck of a deal – it all depends on how Carey plays.

  14. Yes Dennis but…it’s not like we haven’t seen Jaro play a bad game or two either. Hell, used to be a time he couldn’t get a win unless they’d scored 5 goals or more for him. All goalies have them…it’s up to the rest of the team to get off their asses and play. Why else were our goalies the only ones collecting Molson Cups this year? (People seem to forget that terrible last week Jaro had, especially in the Leafs game where he basically put the puck in his own net, and the Habs almost missed the playoffs… I’m actually curious how people would be reacting to this trade had such a thing occurred…).

    Actually it’s up to the coach to get rid of that rope-a-dope system. A hockey system based 90% on luck is not a good system.

  15. That’s fair enough, 31. Believe me, I’m a Carey Price and know he can do it. So far he hasn’t arrived in a big way yet but maybe now he will. Maybe he just needs the lion’s share of work to sparkle and never got really go that and the last year or two. But now he’s The Guy and he could shine.

  16. I remember when you assessed the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltending situation, Dennis, and you couldn’t have summed it up better. What if Jaroslav Halak burned out and Carey Price blossoms somewhere else? What if Price never develops and Halak continues to shine somewhere else. It was six of one, half a dozen of the other (as my brother termed it)- there was always the potential for the situation to turn badly no matter which way you went.

    I still think Halak should have stayed and Price should have left- I mean, Montreal could have dealt Price for a blue-chip prospect and no one would have complained. Yeah, you run the risk of Price developing and the player he was dealt for not developing, but at least- in the here and the now- “Price for (insert name of top prospect here)” would look like a balanced trade.

    The return for Halak is pretty low, though I really do like Lars Eller (I’d heard of him before he was dealt to Montreal, he looks like he’ll be a mighty fine NHL player and should be a top six forward pretty soon). The only saving grace in all this is that Price is still young at 23, and his problems are more mental than physical, so, hopefully with some maturity he’ll correct those shortcomings. However, I’m the kind of guy that likes to go with the “sure thing” and the truth is, Price hasn’t cut it yet and Halak has- and Halak’s 25, still a young player too. I hope the Canadien management’s love affair with Price won’t backfire, but I’ll continue to be skeptical until I see some real results.

    -DG

  17. Good stuff, DG. Maybe it was because Price was such a heralded prospect when he put his Habs jersey on after such a great junior career and excellent numbers in Hamilton. Maybe because he’s good Canadian boy from good stock with a mother who was a Chief of her band that was a nice story, and such. But all together, we expected Jacques Plante right away and we’re still waiting. But maybe because all of the above plus too many bad games from him, he makes me incredibly nervous when he plays. Even when he begins well in a game I don’t seem to have great faith in him. I want to but don’t. Now he’s the go-to guy and I need to have big confidence and trust that he’ll be sensational. I also don’t know anything about Eller but apparently St. Louis was reluctant to part with hium, so that’s good. Schultz might be a good tough one too. The bottom line is, Price needs to be better than before. A lot better. Let’s just hope.

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