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The Return Of Cristobal Huet

There's good news on the Cristobal Huet injury front according the Canadiens official website. While most reports have had him gone until the post season, there had been some rumblings that a possible return was sooner. My understanding was that once the website commented on the goalie's progress, a return could be envisioned.

No date has been suggested as yet, but it it is inconceivable to suggest that rookie Jaroslav Halak would be asked to play all seven remaining games. It's almost as inconceivable to think coach carbonneau will be giving David Aeboscher the go ahead to start anytime soon. The Canadiens will run with Halak until Huet's return.

Here's what the Habs official site had to say on Huet:

"With opponents already having their hands full contending with rookie sensation Jaroslav Halak, the news might get worse for the opposition with All-Star Cristobal Huet inching closer to a return to the Habs' crease.

With the team coming off sweeping a home-and-home series against the Bruins and Huet taking part in his first full practice with his teammates Friday morning, there were no shortage of smiles on the ice at the Bell Centre.

"It feels great to be back practicing with the guys and getting to face shots that are a little more dangerous than Rollie’s," said Huet with a smile in reference to all the time he’s spent skating with goaltending coach Roland Melanson of late. "I’m still not at 100% yet. I haven’t felt any discomfort, even if the muscles in that area are a bit tired. It’s important for me to get back in the swing of things before being ready to compete once I’m back to 100%."

Those anxiously awaiting a precise return date for Huet are not alone.

"We still haven’t really set a timetable for when I’ll be back. We’re taking this day-by-day," explained Huet. "All I really know is that I’m not playing Saturday night and we’ll see how my leg responds to the next couple of practices."

Huet isn’t the only one surveying his progress, these days.

"He looked good to me out there," said Steve Begin. "He really worked his tail off in the gym to be able to come back as soon as possible. We’re all thrilled to see him back on the ice with us and looking forward to having him in the lineup."

Other thoughts:

With Thursday's 6-3 win over the Bruins, during which the Habs scored four goals in the third period, the Canadiens have now collected 24 points (10W-4OTL) in third period comebacks this season. Once again they did it with the help of their young guns. Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Jaroslav Halak were excellent yet again for Montreal, with Lapierre's goal proving to be the winner. Andrei Kostisyn also had an assist in Plekanec's goal near the end of the second period that swung momentum in Montreal's favour.

Higgins said there's no secret to the success that he and linemate Tomas Plekanec are having down the stretch in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"It's all about work; if we're not working, we're not having success," Higgins said after he and Plekanec scored second effort goals to help the Habs beat the Boston Bruins 6-3 last night.

While most people enjoy these types of games, I hesitate greatly to call them character wins. As I've said before, character shows up at the start of the games, not just in the third period out of desperation. Luckily they fell behind to Boston and not the Sabres or Rangers or it would have been game over!

Pat Hickey alluded to this about Dave Lewis' mustache in his column and I must say ditto!

Some guys look great with a moustache, others don't. I shaved mine off 6 years back and have never missed it. I look at old pictures of myself, kind of hanging onto that 70's cookie duster, and I wince!

The 'staches suited guys such as Magnum P.I., Eddie Shack and Lanny MacDonald, to name a few. Someone ought to tell Bruins coach Dave Lewis his just makes him look like a Hitler subserviant.

Much talk about Carey Price's great regular season with Tri-City of late.

Price's record with the Americans this season was 30-13-1, with a GAA of 2.45 and a .917 save percentage. The Canadiens may have intentions of staring his pro career in Hamilton, but his play at training camp may force them to think otherwise. Watching his play during the WJC, he reminded me oddly of Huet down the stretch last year, when he seemed to resemble of big wall of plywood facing the shooters. Like Huet, Price is at his best when square to the puck and shooter. He rarely compromises himself in situations of two on one breaks and his stand up style fits his size to perfection. I believe that much of the Canadiens work in grooming him is already accomplished.

If he is indeed ready for the bigs, it would be wise to place him there starting next season. A goaltender of his calibre needs the continuous growth that comes with playing behind defenseman of the same grade. Having him ply his trade with lesser talents at the AHL level is a risk to his developement.

A beauty of a site all Habs fans must witness is Canadiens Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette has been featuring some awesome team photo shots from the 1950's five in a row champions online, and they are something to see.

The site has an easy membership sign up at no cost and features hundreds of collectibles that many folks have never seen. I'll be doing a feature on it myself soon enough, but here's a little sneak peak.