Monday, January 25, 2010

HNIC Heats Up Canadiens Goaltending Controversies

23638 Cassie Campbell-Pascal got this bloggers attention, when she asked Canadiens’ Jaroslav Halak if it was safe to say that he was the Habs #1 goaltender.

OK, for quite some time I’ve come to the defense of the CBC using Cassie Campbell-Pascal as a between periods interviewer or game analysis with “Hockey Night in Canada.”

Yes, it’s true she has no journalism background, but she does have a sociology degree, from the University of Guelph, and is an active public speaker throughout the year.

article_15515_1 Cassie Campbell-Pascal got her big break on HNIC in Oct 2006 as the colour analyst with play-by play man Bob Cole.

Her background in women’s hockey, and the upcoming 2010 Olympics, brings a potential female viewership to the CBC’s flagship program that the network didn’t have before.

Her biggest flaws are that she becomes a deer in headlights in front of a camera, struggling with on-the-spot interviews and intros frequently, and some of her questions are not always well prepared.

Just like any other former pro athlete, that winds up on “The Panel” or in the booth, she’s on a learning curve in journalism.

But her most recent example, during this past Saturday’s post-game of the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, really got my attention.

After a 6-0 victory by the Canadiens, Campbell congratulated Jaroslav Halak on his shutout, then stated a question along the line that it was safe to say that he was the number one goaltender in Montreal right now.

I couldn’t believe she asked that, and from what I saw on Twitter, several were stunned at the question!

Habs-@-Devils-19The Canadiens goaltenders have been under the gun on this issue all season long, and not even a veteran Montreal journalist would dare pose that question to either Halak or Carey Price.

Maybe she was trying to catch Halak off guard. If so, it didn’t work as the netminder shrugged the question off.

In my opinion it was a boneheaded question. For anyone following the Canadiens this season, they know that Canadiens coach Jacques Martin prefers to ride the hot goalie.

Message to Cassie Campbell-Pascal: There is no number one goalie for the Montreal Canadiens!

Maybe she got that update on that shortly after, as she smartly stayed quiet during the John Tortarella post-game scrum.


Meanwhile back in Habs land, the debate amongst fans, as to who is the number one goalie, continues to roll on.

The Slovak-born Halak currently edges out Price in all statistics, and is fourth in the league in save percentage.

The argument for Price is that he has played in more games against a higher level of competition. Halak-a-maniacs can counter that this week as the New York Rangers are not the Carolina Hurricanes, and the New Jersey Devils, whom he beat Friday, are certainly not the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Many will say too that the Canadiens have a potential 1-2 combo similar to a Moog-Fuhr in Edmonton, or dare we say Roy/Hayward with Montreal in the late eighties.

Debate all you want as to which one becomes the Hall of Famer of the duo, or if it’s fiscally possible for GM Bob Gainey to sign both potential RFA’s, and keep them both happy splitting with sufficient playing time.

HABS-@-Sabres-03.thumbnailFor the time being, it appears Halak is the one willing to step up to the plate. Regardless of that, Jacques Martin does not have a full-time number one and makes the final decisions on who starts and who doesn’t.

Something I’d like to see: Halak has yet to start a game coming off a loss. It would be nice to see how he bounces back from a defeat, rather than sit on the bench.

More Halak/Price Arguments from the CBC: HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman feels this may be the right time to trade Carey Price.

A few other Habs related stories can be found in his 30 Thoughts section further down the post.

…and a response to Mr. Friedman: From Lions in Winter.

So Who’s the Real #1? : Dave Stubbs, of the Montreal Gazette, has a feature column showing that Halak is the better number one, for time being. Stubbs points out that Martin’s decision on the goalie, against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, is a no-brainer on paper. Halak is 4-0 lifetime against Florida.

Team Slovakia Weighs In: The debate can go world-wide thanks to this tweet from The Sporting News’ Craig Custance:

“Just spoke with Slovakian GM Peter Bondra. He joked that, the way Jaroslav Halak is playing, he wishes the Olympics started tomorrow.”

Update: Thought everyone had their say, but here comes the Gazette’s Jack Todd.

Game action photos (Halak and Price): HabsInsideOut


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with that question? She can ask whatever she wants...the Montreal media can certainly say whatever they want. I don't see anything wrong with her asking that question.

Anonymous said...

It's called being a journalist. She is inept in all facets of the job. The question was inapropriate, and it only goes to prove thatone's professtional accomplishments in the game of hockey, does not necessarily translate to being a good analyst or interviewer.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to smack Campbell for that question! And that retarded smile she had etched on her face, as she waited for poor Halak to realize "yeah, she actually just asked that", figure out how to shrug it off, and say it in a language that is not his mother tongue.

Also, I completely agree with the "Halak starting after loss" point. I've been hoping for a while it will materialize. Better yet, he'll never have to and he'll win every game! Haha.

Y.K. said...

Jaro should have said yes