Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More rumors

So there's a rumor making its rounds of the Habs blogosphere that the Sharks might be interested in our incumbent backup goalie, Jaroslav Halak. Just a rumor, sure, but one posted on RDS -- an outlet not normally known for publishing BS.

And it makes a certain amount of sense. The Sharks once were the envy of most of the NHL for their goaltending situation. They basically had two #1 goalies in Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala. And this was after trading away Mikka Kiprusoff (yikes! Who pulled the trigger on that one?!). They also had a very capable #3 in Nolan Schaefer, but inexplicably traded him away too.

Nabokov will still provide them quality starts for most of the season. But for those back-to-back games and other days when he needs rest, who will turn to? Thomas Greiss? Dmitri Patzold? They might have potential, but neither has played a single minute in the NHL. And like I've said before, goalies need time to mature.

Doug Wilson is a smart GM. He's built a contender, and for the long haul too. The Sharks are a trendy pre-season pick to win it all. They've got scoring, some toughness, a decent, maturing defense (our old friend Craig Rivet will help there) and excellent starting goaltending. But their Achilles heel, IMO, is their backup goaltending.

That is the Habs' overwhelming strength. And the Sharks are strong where the Habs are weak -- big forwards who can put the puck in the net. Now I don't see Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo or Patrick Marleau coming over. Halak just isn't worth that much, at least not now.

But maybe Steve Bernier? He fills that big hole on the top two lines, plus he's right handed. The fact that he's French-Canadian is just gravy. Imagine him and Latendresse lining up on either side of Saku Koivu. I like it.

Others have suggested Ryan Clowe, who showed up big in last year's playoffs. He started on the fourth line, and ended on the first and second lines.

A trade to a Pacific Division rival makes all sorts of sense too, although I thought it would be LA. Well, we'll see how this all plays out.

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