Tonight is an interesting one.
Jaroslav Halak comes back to Montreal to play goal for the St-Louis Blues, the team who traded for him after he led Montreal to a playoff run that was vintage St-Patrick. No Jaro, and the Habs run in 2010 would have lasted exactly 5 games.
But he was traded at the height of his powers in Montreal, as he was reaching superstar status. Not since Chris Chelios, has Montreal traded away such a young talent at the blossoming of his stardom. When Roy was shipped to Denver, he had done everything he could as a Hab, there was nothing left to be desired save for copy-paste, copy-paste, and boy would we have killed for a few more of those championships. But what we saw with Jaro was a player being sent out of town immediately after reaching improbable heights for the very first time.
It means he was never destined to be the Habs number one. Only a Stanley Cup could have possibly derailed the Price is a stallion movement started by Bob Gainey. The problem is that despite Halak's amazing performance, the alienation process began very early in his career in Montreal.
There's a reason my Jaro posts on Four Habs Fans came to be. No matter what Jaro did for the organization, he was consistently treated as second tier. He led the Habs to a late season surge when Cristobal Huet was injured only to see the last game of the season be given to Huet who hadn't played in weeks - a make it or break it game with everything on the line. They broke it and missed the playoffs after Huet let in a flurry of goals over 3 periods.
Then Price came in and again, no matter how well Jaro was playing in Hamilton, Price would be the future. Rarely making any appearances after a loss, the team never showed any confidence in his ability to overtake Price as the permanent leader between the posts. As the Canadiens failed to pledge allegiance to Jaro, Jaro did the same and the signs were evident that he would be leaving after the media scrum when the Habs were eliminated against the Flyers in the Conference Finals.
Now he's back, with a little chip on his shoulders; the game is being played a year too late, the significance of the return diluted by the passage of time. A little 2010 spring magic tonight may make it the special night it could have been.