I’m back. You might not like me though. But I don’t super dig many of you right now either. So sue me.

This is no way to end my three-week hiatus.

I’m tired. I’m miserable. It’s 1:32 a.m. I just wrote one story about Canada Day festivities and another about a dragon boat festival.

Before that I worked 7.5 hours in a sports department in a city, where the only scheduled athletic event not completely flooded out was game one of the three-game consolation final for U-12 inline hockey.

I spent two hours before my shift driving here in the pouring rain and ridiculous wind, in a car so unreliable it could break down in the driveway right now as I write this and no one who knows it would be surprised.

Before I left Lethbridge I had to get up, feed seven animals – clean up three piles of vomit left by one – and then track down the organizers for damn near every single Canada Day event the city has planned.

This was the kind of day where I should have been able to finish up telling people how dragon boat racing is the second largest team sport in the world – seriously, who the hell knew that? – and gone straight to bed to let the soothing sounds of the wind shaking the house and tossing the patio furniture around send me into deep slumber.

But do I get to do that? Nope. Why? I don’t know. Let’s see…

Was it because Jaroslav Halak was traded this morning to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz? Hmmm, maybe. Or maybe it’s because once upon a time I chose a favourite sport without being told I live among 30 million people who think they are experts and I cheer for a team with a group of the most over-reactionary, fly-off-the-handle fans known to man.

Yes, I do believe it’s the second one.

So here it is but if you can’t understand it, that’s only because I can’t actually see the screen:

Here’s what the freak-out hockey fans heard today: The Montreal Canadiens trade their playoff hero for two players no one has ever heard of before. Team management has clearly decided to sabotage the franchise, because no GM with half a brain would ever make this deal. The thought of future success is over and this group will never make the playoffs again because the only player in the entire organization who had anything to do with this season’s glory is headed to Missouri.

Now, here’s what actually happened: The Montreal Canadiens were faced with a problem of having two good goalies and knowing only one could stay – a dilemma every team in the league wishes for. They solved it by trading one for another team’s absolute No. 1 non-NHL prospect, who was drafted 13th overall, and another, who was not only captain of the WHL champs but whose hockey pedigree is identical to that one thing EVERYONE says Montreal lacks. They are left with the exact roster that got them to the 28th-overall draft pick and a 22-year-old tender with more potential than we can even fathom at his young age.

To sit here and try to explain how good I believe these two newest Habs will be is not just irrelevant, it would also prove me to be just as wrong as those wanting to skin Gauthier tonight. And I know I was caught arguing that way today but it was truly only due to how far the other way SO MANY fans were heading.

The truth is, nobody knows what will happen. That’s the beauty of the risk in sports’ transactions. But what I do know for absolute fact is the Montreal Canadiens played the odds today and that is all we could have hoped for as fans.

Carey Price is by far the easier choice to gamble on and anyone who says different isn’t thinking about it.

First of all, this just saved the franchise a boatload of money – one far too close to the cap for its own good. That alone sells me 100 per cent.

Halak and his slimy little agent are going to get over $4-million – sorry but they just are – while Price is RFA WITHOUT arbitration eligibility and won’t see half that yet. And, while I’m not trying to take away from his performance this season – I loved it too you know – all this talk about Jaro in the same sentence as St. Patrick Roy is absolutely laughable. Help me out, is this only fans that started watching after Roy was traded? It confuses me to no end.

Halak’s so-called God-like playoff numbers: 9-9, .923 sv%, 2.55 GAA. Wow! Quick, somebody write some hymns for this guy…

Roy did things in the playoffs Martin Brodeur couldn’t have even pulled off. Stop insulting him by comparing him to a kid whose playoff resume consists of 18 games of .500 hockey. It’s embarrassing.

Carey Price, on the other hand, has every feature you want in a prototypical goalie and has dominated at every level in life. Sure, he’s had some immature moments as his career has started but he wouldn’t be alone in sports.

So he partied a little too much when he shouldn’t have. Oh well, wake me up when he hosts dog-fighting, sexually assaults a hotel employee in Colorado or starts pouring steroids on his Fruit Loops. Otherwise, I just don’t care.

There are two aspects of all this bellyaching that piss me off the most.

One, the magical thought of getting more in return for Halak. And two, the even more magical thought that only Montreal would make such a decision.

Who the crap was Gauthier supposed to get for Halak? See playoff stats above.

I don’t know how many are aware of this but we don’t get to just phone up another GM and say, “OK, we’re trading you Halak so we’re just going to pick the players off your roster we would like.” Habs fans seem to think every player we have could bring back a superstar in a deal. Just because the California Seals were stupid enough to just give us Lafleur, doesn’t mean that’s how it always works.

The only player on this entire roster that could bring back a superstar is Andrei Markov. And the lineup for those wanting to make that deal forms to the right.

And to those thinking Montreal is the only organization who would do this, I say give your collective heads a shake. In fact, there isn’t five GMs in this whole league who wouldn’t have done it this way.

Unload a major cash expense when every dime is beyond crucial. Keep a kid with unlimited upside at a bargain basement price. Bring in two juicy prospects in the process, one with sick talent who’s maybe ready to play right now and another who’ll need all of one trip to the corner with Mike Komisarek to win over the entire fan base.

How any of you are even surprised, actually, is beyond me.

I guess I can sort of see where everyone is coming from. I mean, every minute of last summer was spent bitching about how awful our offseason moves were and how horrible the team was going to be now.

Imagine if next year turned out like this one?

Yuck.

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9 Responses to “I’m back. You might not like me though. But I don’t super dig many of you right now either. So sue me.”

  1. Now, as you know…I am a Price supporter, which is not to say that I’m a Halak detractor (sp?) but I’ve watched Carey become one of the best goalie talents out there.

    How many GM’s in the NHL would love to have Carey Price on their roster? All of them.

    Halak had an unconscious playoffs and a great season…but if you compare Prices numbers (outside of the win-loss record) they’re not too far off of Halak’s

    Halak 2.40 GAA .924 Pct

    Price 2.77 GAA .912 Pct

    Oh yeah, Price is a terrible goalie….
    oh wait…what are these?

    2008-09 Played in NHL All-Star
    2007-08 NHL – All-Rookie Team
    2006-07 AHL – Jack Butterfield Trophy (Calder Cup playoffs MVP)
    2006-07 Canadian Major Junior – Goaltender of the Year
    2006-07 WHL – Del Wilson Trophy (Top Goaltender)
    2006-07 WHL – West First All-Star Team

    Not to mention winning a Gold medal with the World Jrs

    Hmmmmm? Could it be proof positive that Price is a MONEY goalie?
    Yup, sure looks that way.
    Yeah, he had an off year. 13 wins in a season definately needs improvement. This kid is 22…he’s STILL a kid

    Gauthier did the right thing…when do you trade someone? When their value is at their HIGHEST. That time was now for Halak.
    Time will tell what Eller and Schultz bring to the Habs table…but we got some other questions that need answers. Questions which couldn’t be answered properly with Halak on the roster for over 4mil/year

  2. Price is a head case who cannot handle the pressure of the Montreal media and their fans. They traded the wrong guy Shmitzy.

  3. Just stumbled onto your blog post from twitter search and I have to politely disagree with your view on the Halak trade.

    I grew up in Montreal, had access to season tickets and essentially watched Roy’s star rise from a seat in the Forum. Halak is on the path to becoming the next Roy – no doubt about it. Price, on paper, should be on that path too. But the problem is the “paper”.

    I’m so tired of people touting Price’s WHL career highlights – because hello, he’s in the NHL. Has been for a while now. You don’t go into a job interview and tell them “I’m flunking out of college but look at my awesome Grade 12 calculus marks!”

    Fact is, the only person who has lived up to Carey Price’s hype, is Jaroslav Halak.

    This $4 mil thing you are reporting his slimy agent demanded, I have not heard of in any official news report. Most official news reports say that his agent hadn’t even been contacted yet. Now I’m not saying it’s not true, just that I haven’t seen it. It’s just a rumor at this point.

    For the record when he first came to Montreal, I was a huge supporter of Carey Price. But I’m a habs fan and if the kid needs more time to get to where everyone says he can be, I want him to get there on someone else’s dime/watch. No fan – and let’s be honest no intelligent hockey team – says let’s hold off on making a good playoff run or a solid chance at the cup to teach this rookie how to handle the pressure and the intensity of the NHL. No, they all want Cups – fans and GMs alike – as many and as quickly as possible.

    That’s why Pierre Gauthier’s move yesterday was absolutely batshit crazy. And it’s why after 24 years of following the Canadiens thru thick and thin, I am finally giving up. The last few years have had too many bad decisions and bad politics interferring with what used to be a legendary team.

    I’d love to be wrong and I’ll happily apologize if cheap unproven talent (Ellers and Schultz) and a “potentially” hot young goalie actually get Montreal to the Cup in the next 2 years, but I doubt it.

    Gauthier just extended Montreal’s dry spell by at least another 5 to 8 years. It’s like he started rebuilding in the middle of rebuilding. So I’m done. Because I am also a Canucks fans and my heart and brain can only take supporting one inconsistent team that makes irrational decisions at a time.

    Cheers,
    V

    • I have to politely say if this makes you quit being a Habs fan, then you weren’t much of one to begin with. I absolutely appreciate the concern people may have at this point but in what world do you believe Halak won’t be getting over $4-million? The Habs can’t afford it, plain and simple. If people would just use their common sense a little instead of letting their passion dictate the things they say, they’d see there was literally no choice in this situation. It doesn’t much matter who like it or hates it. It’s Eller by the way, with no ‘s’ at the end and since you clearly have zero idea who these two players really are, maybe you wouldn’t mind holding off on the batshit crazy remarks, like “I’m done,” until you do some research and see some action.
      Thanks for the comment and I appreciate the read, I shall be visiting yours as well, but maybe you should go cheer for the Canucks. You’d fit right in and I wouldn’t have to share my team with someone so ready to jump ship.
      Cheers,
      S

  4. Danny Grummett Says:

    The Habs made the right move for now if only for the cap reason as you pointed out.

    Still, IF, and I say IF Price doesn’t develop into a true franchise goalie, and Eller and Schultz never play in the show…then it will be considered a bad deal.

    Like any trade involving prospects/picks, it’s a wait and see deal.

    When Halak is hoisting a Cup over his head in a Blues jersey then Habs fans should starting hanging themselves from bridges. But that’s not happening…

  5. […] Schmitzy Says: I’m back. You might not like me though. But I don’t super dig many of you right now either. So s… […]

  6. Ok, so I’ll leave Carey’s WHL, AHL and World Jr numbers out of this
    Lets talk about NHL records, shall we?

    Jaro Halak….the next coming of Patrick Roy

    NHL 101 games, 56 wins, 34 losses, 7 OT losses

    GAA 2.62 Pct .919 Shutouts 9

    Carey Price….who will set the franchise back 5-8 years

    NHL 134 games, 60 wins, 48 losses, 18 OT losses

    GAA 2.73 Pct .912 Shutouts 4

    Holy cow! Just look at the difference!!
    Why hadn’t I seen it before?
    OMG, I was wrong…proof positive that Halak IS the next coming of Patrick Roy…and Price is the next coming of Jocelyn Thibault
    the NHL stats say so!

    Jeebuz, do some research, watch some games

    The Salary Cap has EVERYTHING to do with this trade.
    Also having something to do with this trade? Price’s Pedigree and potential
    Am I saying Halak doesn’t have potential? of course not
    Price is 22, Halak is 25.
    Halak HAS arbitration rights, Price doesn’t

    Here’s what would’ve happened had the Habs signed Jaro to a new deal and dealt Carey

    Jaro-signs for 4 million plus/year over a 3 to 4 year deal
    (just watch, it might even be more….his agent is a D-bag)

    leading to the Habs NOT being able to re-sign Plex
    leading us to have a back-up making less than $1 mil/year
    (read AHL call-up)
    leading us to NOT be able to sign a decent d-man to come in and help us on the back end

    The Habs have many needs….we need a capable back-up, we need another dman to come in and help us with or shots on net…which were WAY to damn high, and we need another fwd.

    Sure, we sign Halak…but then what?
    We are gonna give up 40+ shots a game for 82 games?
    Plex goes elsewhere and we have to fill his roster spot from the farm system?
    When Halak can’t play more than 55 games a year til he gets burned out we have an AHL tender to back him up?
    So an AHL goalie will be playing 30+ games a year?

    Oh, cause THAT won’t set us back 5-8 years

    The Habs couldn’t be handcuffed into signing Jaro and still be able to address the other needs this team has

    They can do that by keeping Price

    But, I guess some won’t see that…they’ll be too busy watching the Canucks.

  7. T-BO, I should just post this whole comment. So very well said!

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