Jaroslav Halak has wrestled the No. 1 job away from Carey Price in Montreal â€“ at least for the time being. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens have been giving backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak more playing time of late over starter Carey Price, giving rise to talk of a “goaltender controversy.”
Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman noted on his blog Canadiens coach Jacques Martin appeared to have been given the green light to see what Halak’s got and wondered if, for the first time in two years, GM Bob Gainey no longer sees Price as the future of the team in net.
Halak’s name has occasionally been tied to Canadiens trade rumors, but Canoe.ca’s Yvon Pedneault suggested the Habs won’t move him if Price continues to struggle.
In recent years, Gainey hasn’t been shy about trading goaltenders, but one shouldn’t read too much into the decision to play Halak over Price as Martin is obviously just going with the hot hand.
This move could be beneficial to Price, taking some pressure off his young shoulders and allowing him more time to work with the coaching staff on improving his performance.
At this point in his career, Price seems to need a push and with Halak getting the bulk of the starts of late, this could be the motivation he needs to step up his game.
• Price is also the subject of the dumbest trade rumor of the NHL’s opening month, as a Montreal radio station reported Tuesday he’d been dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks…for Cristobal Huet!
Sometimes the stupid just writes itself.
• The Toronto Star recently reported Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle is facing an uncertain future, suggesting he could be shopped later in the season.
Kaberle has a no-trade clause, but according to the report that won’t matter much if Leafs GM Brian Burke decides he wants to move him.
Burke could shop Kaberle, whose current contract runs through the 2010-11 season, if the Leafs are still floundering in the standings later in the season. He’d be a valuable trade chip for Burke to continue his rebuilding process and there would be considerable interest in Kaberle should he hit the trading block.
However, Kaberle’s $4.25 million per season salary and his no-trade clause will certainly limit the number of potential destinations for him. If Burke does decide to peddle Kaberle it’ll be closer to the March 3 trade deadline.
• Injuries to defenseman Paul Martin and checking forward Jay Pandolfo could be serious blows to the New Jersey Devils.
The biggest loss is Martin, who’ll be out until mid-December with a fractured left forearm. The underrated Martin, 28, has been the Devils’ top defenseman over the past two seasons and replacing his shot from the point won’t be easy.
A trade is possible, but for now, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has recalled defenseman Cory Murphy from the minors and appears determined to be patient with his current roster.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.