Can't give up on Huet just yet

Can't give up on Huet just yet

Posted by TimS on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 00:42
It's way too early to give up on Cristobal Huet less than two weeks into the season. But the clock is ticking. Huet has made four starts and been shaky in all of them. His exit seven minutes into Monday's game against Calgary after he allowed 3 goals on 5 shots was the right move by Hawks coach Joel Quenneville even if the defensive play in front of the goalie was shoddy. It's a goalie's job to come up with big saves after defensive breakdowns, especially the goalie on a team that's supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup. Huet has been beaten up high (David Booth's tying goal in the season opener), to the short side (Kris Draper in Detroit), and through his body (Colorado's Milan Hejduk on a 5-on-3 power plat last Saturday). Big saves at big times. Sorry, you've just got to have them. Quenneville has a history of being impatient with his goalies so it'll be interesting to see how long Huet continues to be supported by his coach. The Hawks really don't have much choice than to let Huet play through his early-season problems, at least right now with Antti Niemi still unproven. Huet has two years left on his contract after this one for $5.625 million a season, which makes him almost impossible to trade. A highly reliable source said the Hawks offered Huet to several teams at the trade deadline last March, which would have paved the way for them to re-sign Nikolai Khabibulin for two more years. If Huet doesn't start playing better as the season moves on to November and December, keep in mind he can be waived and sent to the minors. While the Hawks still would be on the hook for paying Huet’s full salary, the $5 million-plus cap hit would come off the books and they could try to trade for another goalie. With Khabibulin and the Edmonton Oilers coming to town on Wednesday, what does Quenneville do? Throw Huet right back into the fire and hope he is motivated by facing Khabibulin, or go with Niemi and let Huet play Thursday in Nashville where there might be less pressure? Me? I'd come back with Huet. If he's going to be the guy, then he must show he can be the guy. Right now.
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