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?