After a summer of headlines about the break up between P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens, those headlines have been replaced by a reminder controversy out of the past, Halak-Price.
Montreal Canadiens fans were in shock and disbelief when their team traded the popular Jaroslav Halak in 2010. And so was the future Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) who at the time remarked, “What? Halak for two hockey sticks and a bag of magic beans?”
The sentiment at the time was understandable After all, it was Halak who led Montreal to the 2010 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final, only to be traded away to the St. Louis Blues as the club committed to Carey Price.
Now, Halak and Price will be the opposing goaltenders in the Final of the World Cup of Hockey. So, it is not surprising the some have again brought the comparisons.
But those comparisons are not fair to either goaltender. For the most part Price has been blessed with better opportunities. Still Price has not disappointed, having raised his game since becoming undisputed # 1 in Montreal by winning the league’s Most Valuable Player Award as well as an Olympic Gold.
Halak has earned our admiration as well for his play as well as how he has handled professional disappointment as he has had to move from Montreal to St. Louis to Washington (very briefly) and then to the New York Islanders. At each stop has distinguished himself as a superior player and quality teammate. Over the years, Jaro has also been a regular figure in goal for international competitions such as the Olympics and the present event in Toronto.
Few would challenge Price’s status as one of the game’s top players. Still, more than a few Montreal fans and critics have noted that Price, while earning accolades and hardware, has not brought Montreal any closer to a Stanley Cup than did Halak five years ago. Clearly, there are many other reasons why: team depth, injuries, coaching, “circumstances” and more. But, now that the two will be tending goal at opposite ends of this high profile pre-season tournament, the Halak-Price discussions, which had finally subsided, have, for a couple days, returned to some sports headlines.
At least, it has managed to, at least for now, divert the attention of Montreal fans from the Subban departure. But that quiet won’t last – already many have circled their calendars for March 2, 2017 when the Nashville Predators (and P.K. Subban) come to town.
In the meantime, while the uniforms are different, to some it will seem like old times – Halak and Price.