Goaltending Concerns in Montreal

The new NHL rules have reaped nothing but benefits for the small yet speedy Montreal Canadiens, who are taking advantage of a lack of clutching and grabbing to put their offense to work. One Canadien who has had some trouble making the adjustment to the post-lockout NHL, however, is star goaltender José Theodore, whose goals-against average (3.06) and save percentage (.883) are a far cry from the numbers he put up as Vézina and Hart Trophy winner in 2002. Can rookie backup Yann Danis fill the holes in Theodore’s consistency, or should the Canadiens look for help from another team?Traditionally, Theodore has thrived under the immense pressure of having a strong backup or co-#1 goalie creeping up behind him (see: Jeff Hackett), in addition to facing a ridiculously high number of shots per game. However, the new-look Canadiens have allowed an average of only 26.6 shots against per game as of Friday afternoon, compared with 31.7 in Theodore’s trophy year of 2001-2002, and coach Claude Julien has said that he expects #60 to play a number of games in the same neighbourhood as his jersey number this season.

This begs the question: would Theodore fare better if he had a little less security than what Julien has offered him by expecting him to play 3/4 of the season? It may be in everyone’s best interests – Theodore included – for the Habs to shop around the league for a backup goalie who can push Theodore a little bit more than Danis can, although, with a little more time in the AHL, Danis will be a solid NHL goaltender. Rumblings that injured backup Cristobal Huet, slated to return to action in November or December, may return to Europe next year strengthens the argument to make a move for another goalie.

I was just listening to Montreal’s CJAD radio 800 and Martin Biron, who seemingly has become the odd man out in Buffalo, apparently expressed his interest to be traded to the Canadiens to a CJAD reporter. Bob Gainey and the Habs should strongly consider picking up Biron so that Theodore can feel some pressure to stay on his toes and so that Danis can get some playing time in the minors.

Any thoughts?

80 Responses to Goaltending Concerns in Montreal

  1. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    i must say i agree with jannetty on this one. thatleafsguy you are kind of a jackass.

  2. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    i could have sworn u said the leafs suck aswell 🙂

  3. thatleafsguy says:

    Must be that Edmonton – Calgary hate thing. GROW UP.

  4. thatleafsguy says:

    yaaaaaaa and you or janetty are not right?

  5. thatleafsguy says:

    Luongo hasn’t been to the playoffs, because Florida can never mount any offense for the guy and they give up close to 35 shots per game. If you put Luongo on the Habs then they would be TRUE contenders.

  6. JannettyTheRocker says:

    Yeah. The Leafs suck ass well………..oops……..I mean as well. LOL

  7. robinson19 says:

    Those teams are winning on skill alone, the Habs are winning with heart even when still searching for chemistry here and there.

  8. JannettyTheRocker says:

    It has nothing to do with the Edmonton/Calgary rivalry. I was a fan of Bret Hart when with WWE, but all he does anymore is dwell on what happened in Montreal with Michaels…….BOO HOO HOO, get over it………..Don’t assume you have all the answers theleafsgal.

  9. thatleafsguy says:

    np JanettyDeepCo.cker

  10. habs79 says:

    I will admit that he has not played well at all to start this year, my main point is you calling him the most OVERRATED player in the league. How about the “great Martin Brodeur”, he loses a couple of key defenseman and he plays like complete crap. No one is rated higher than him, so as long as Theodore’s numbers are better, he can’t be the most OVERRATED goalie. I have no doubt that the best canadian goalie is Roberto Luongo, and I was hoping there was truth to the rumour of the goalie swap.

    As for Boston not being on of the big boys, if the conference champs are not a big boy, then who is? The Sens? The Leafs? The Flyers? Give me a break, please tell me how any of these teams were better than Boston? Not this year with the new rules, but last NHL season. Raycroft had better numbers. Their defense had leading point getter Sergi Gonchar, good two-way players in Nick Boyton and Dan McGillis, old reliable Jiri Slegr, and brusing guys Sean O’Donnell and Hal Gill. As for the forwards, there was Joe Thornton (yes I know he was injured), Glen Murray, the always dangerous Sergi Samsanov, the emerging Patrice Bergeron. They also had good steady players in Brian Rolston, Martin Lapointe, and Mike Knuble. So tell me what did other teams have that kept Boston from being one of the “big boys”?

  11. JannettyTheRocker says:

    You always have the ***** on your mind, don’t you?

  12. thatleafsguy says:

    Especially when one like you can read and write.

  13. Tweek says:

    The “big boys” in the east are in my opinion tampa, philly, and or course ottawa with the rest falling behind them. If you watched a devils game this year you would see that Broduer didnt really play all that bad and he is allowed to get off to a slow start before people are able to jump on him because he has won the stanley cup and a olympic gold. Maybe I went overboard with calling him the most overated player in the league but I was just trying to make my point that im not a huge theodore fan.

  14. jocool_88 says:

    Montreal’s major issue is a top defenceman to lead the team. Other than Markov, Rivet and Boullion the defence are terrible. None of these players have the making to be a top defenceman. Montreal really needs to make a trade for a defenceman like Witt or someone else that can lead the way and put up some #’s. If they have someone to lead them on defence, maybe it would take some pressure off the goaltenders in the dying minutes of each game when they normally get scored on to lose or send the game into OT.

  15. habs79 says:

    You still have to tell me why those teams are so much better than Boston. What playoff success has Ottawa and Philly had that makes them “big boys” over Boston?

    Brodeur didn’t play all that bad? Have you seen his numbers? So he is allowed to get off to a slow start, but Theo isn’t? Granted he has a couple of Cups and a Gold medal, but look what he had in front of him. This is the first year he has to do it all on his own and he is falling apart.

  16. habs79 says:

    Witt is a physical stay at home defenseman, what numbers does he put up?

  17. habfan1160 says:

    2G, 5 A and 2200000000000 PIMs

  18. hockeyhead says:

    carolina has a fast group of forwards. they are playing well.

    who does it reflect on that you guys only know one player from those teams??? me or you?

    get the hockeynews. oilers and avs suck.

  19. Tweek says:

    well ottawa is scoring 6 goals a game and philly has beaten everybody in the playoffs in the east at one point or another with exception to ottawa while boston keeps losing to a smaller canadiens team, thats why they arent the big boys and im not looking at numbers when it comes to brodeur’s performance, ive watched 4 or 5 games of him this year and he looked fine, theos numbers however represent his play and he’s let in too many weak goals and theo isnt allowed to get off to a rough start because he has doen it before, remember that season after he won the vezina? he played like crap

  20. EmptyNetter says:

    It’s a fair comparison among goalies but they’re not “struggling”. Everyone’s stats will look worse compared to the 03-04 season because the rule changes favor offensive production (rules also favor forwards crashing the net). Smaller goalie pads and jerseys, bigger offensive zone, etc. The days of .900 and better save percentages are gone, my friends, and I’m a happy guy.

    Sounds like some Theodore haters (not habs79) are trying to trick us with numbers. Don’t be fooled!

  21. CrazyCanuck_8 says:

    I agree totally!! Very good article.

  22. CrazyCanuck_8 says:

    Where in this article do they talk about the Oilers??? I thought it was about the Canadiens goaltending problems not the Oilers!!!

  23. EmptyNetter says:

    That’s it! Instead of playing smart hockey the Bruins just have to play stupid and the puck will go right by Theodore.

  24. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    fast group of forwards ok so whos after eric staal? rod brindamour??? ya exactly

  25. habs79 says:

    6 goals a game this year. That didn’t make them a “big boy” last season. They always lost to the Leafs. Are the Leafs a “big boy”? Well they keep getting smacked by Philly and got smacked by Carolina. Philly beat everyone? Who did they beat? New Jersey? Boston always lost to Montreal, so we don’t know how Boston would have faired against Ottawa, Philly, Tampa Bay, or Toronto. Bottom line is they were the conference champs, the number 1 seed in the east. Ahead of all those teams, even though Philly, and Tampa were in far weaker divisions.

  26. habs79 says:

    I wouldn’t say those days of .900 are gone. There won’t be as many goalies up there, but they are not gone. Currently 18 goalies are above .900. Only 3 of them have played 7 games or less.

    You are right about the Theodore haters. Some fans are not happy with Montreal’s success while their teams limp along. Theo is the only Hab to struggle this year so some people are taking their shots forgetting that thier mighty goalies are not fairing any better.

  27. rojoke says:

    Ironically, that was the exact same scenario that Theo was in the year he won the Hart and Vezina. Theo got the Habs into the playoffs, yet Luongo couldn’t do it with the Panthers, in a much weaker division. That’s why I don’t put Luongo “head and shoulders” above Luongo as many others do.

  28. hockeyhead says:

    cole, cullen, stillman and whitney?????

    ive seen them play…they arent bad.

  29. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    they arent 1st place material either now are they?

  30. hockeyhead says:

    the record as of now would indicate yes but it is very early.

    tampa will be there but that might be it. point is i think there are better teams in the east.

    look at detroits division…hideous. the west isnt that great either. is LA for real?

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