Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Habs Heading Down Failed Senators Path With Goalies

There's no doubt that Carey Price is GM Bob Gainey's "guy" in Montreal. Whether head coach Guy Carbonneau feels the same way about Price is up for conjecture.

There are many out there who feel that Gainey's shocking trade of Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals was his way of giving the middle finger salute to Carbonneau for the following reasons:

1. Carbs refused to play Price early in the year

2. Gainey and Carbs are reputed to have butted heads over this issue in the past with the coach winning the argument in the short term. Gainey took care of that with a few plane tickets to the murder capital of America for the mild mannered Frenchman Huet.

But it's hard for Gainey to really criticize Carbonneau because Montreal is playing like a purebred down the stretch.

Now Carbonneau is at it again. That's two straight starts for AHL call-up Jaroslav Halak and he got the second because he shut out the crumbling Islanders last Saturday on a freak start in place of Price.

Now that Halak lost last night in a shootout against the Blues, it's almost certain that Price will be back in goal tomorrow against the Bruins.

But you have to wonder why Carbonneau is trying to start some half-assed goalie competition with less than ten games remaining before the playoffs. The Senators tried this option all year and it blew up in their face like a nail bomb. They still haven't fully stopped the hemorrhaging from the John Paddock fiasco.

When Bryan Murray took over the Senators, he chose Martin Gerber to be his guy and he seems prepared to live with the consequences in a search for stability that has been lacking all season long. Those consequences might include a colossal failure by Gerber in a pressure situation but you have to give Murray credit for at least making a firm decision, something Paddock was incapable of doing.

Now the Montreal players are starting to get asked the same questions Ottawa players were earlier this year. Who's the number one goalie?

Is all of this because Carbonneau is defying Gainey in a petulant manner? Does Carbonneau really believe he can implement a platoon system in goal this late in a critical season?

Even the Montreal Gazette has succumbed to the temptation of screwing with something good by proposing that Halak play all the home games and Price play on the road.

If Montreal goes down in flames this post-season, look for fireworks between Gainey and Carbs despite the fact that Carbonneau might be a finalist for the Jack Adams award.
For further reading on this subject, I recommend you head over to All Habs and check out this article:
"Carbonneau's decisions were a textbook case on how NOT to handle goaltenders.
Even after training camp, Gainey had to override Carbo when he wanted to send Price to Hamilton to start the year. But then Carbo pouted and didn't start Price is a reasonable a number of games. As Pierre McGuire said recently: "if Habs (Carbonneau) had made it a fair fight, he (Price) would be the rookie of the year. No question!" Gainey had to intervene again at the trade deadline sending the team's #3 goalie (in terms of talent) to the Washington Capitals."

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