Who’s winning The Carey Price/Jaroslav Halak “Situation”

October 25th, 2010 1 Comment

During the 2009-10 NHL playoffs Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak led the Habs to two impressive upset series wins over the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

With Halak demonstrating the ability to win the big games it was thought that the debate over whether the Canadiens should keep Halak or Carey Price was over with the verdict being that Halak was in and Price would be shipped out.

In a move that shocked many Canadiens fans and hockey experts en mass, the Canadiens chose to move their playoff hero to the St. Louis Blues in favor of keeping the inconsistent, oft-distracted, hard-luck Price in the organization.

Given Price’s struggles, inability to make the big saves in the big games, troubles with the media and concerns over his off-ice activities it seemed as if keeping Halak over Price was a no-brainer.

Through all the debate, finger pointing and trash-talk from media and fans, the Canadiens stood by Price, insisting they had made the right choice in keeping Price, citing the fact that they simply believed that, while young and somewhat inconsistent, that Price was the bigger talent, a talent that would thrive as the teams true number one goaltender.

Through seven starts with the Habs, Price has compiled a record of 4-2-1, boasts a .916 save percentage (21st overall) and owns the 12th best goals against average at 2.27.

While Price struggled against the New Jersey Devils (a Loss) and Ottawa Senators (a win) overall he has been very solid, has looked way more comfortable between the pipes and, despite some early season ribbing from the home crowd, looks to be slowly gaining the respect of the fans of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

For his part, Halak has amassed a record of 4-1-1 record in his first six starts. Having given up a total of 11 goals over those six games, Halak is ranked third in wins (4), seventh in goals against average (1.81), eighth in save percentage (.929) and looks to be in a grove.

While it is still early to tell which team has won the trade, it appears as if (as many speculated) that Halak continues to be the more polished goaltender. Given his early success, it appears as if Price is slowly garnering the respect of his teammates, fans and NHL shooters—which is all Habs fans can really ask for at this point.

Needless to say, being a starting goaltender in the NHL at just 23 years old is very difficult, doing it in Montreal is another animal all together—as Halak and many other can attest to.

Given the St. Louis Blues early success, the difficulty of the Western Conference and the fact that Halak has adjusted to his new team so well early on I am inclined to say that, until Price proves different, Halak is the better goaltender.

The numbers prove it and the fact that Halak led the Canadiens as far as he did last season, well, those memories will not be erased until Price duplicates or surpasses what Halak accomplished.

As for the other pieces to the trade puzzle, centre Lars Eller has no goals and four penalty minutes in a limited role with the Canadiens this season, while winger Ian Schultz (a bit of a scrapper) has no points and four penalty minutes in his first four games with the Habs AHL affiliate, Hamilton Bulldogs.

Bottom line—Halak is still the man, sorry Hab fans!

Until next time,


1 Comment

  1. Connor Hellebuyck says:

    Yes halak has had a great start, but being as it may price has been gaining the respect and playing time he deserves. If you put halak in the same situation would the winner be different? Yes halak has not put himself in the situation of a crowd displeaser but for price to do that and be pretty close to halak is amazing. Now a month later price has passed up halak, so i would say early on prices incredible start would be better than a hot goaltender halak staying hot.

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