Friday, September 30, 2011
They're not saying "Budaj" - they're booing
When they signed him on the first day of free agency this summer, Peter Budaj's two year contract with the Canadiens seemed like a steal. A million and change per season for an established NHL goaltender to back up Carey Price is a nifty bit of fiscal management in a salary cap world.
Well, let the second-guessing begin after Budaj turned in back-to-back exhibition performances that had the Canadiens faithful pining for the good old days of Alex Auld, Yann Danis and Red Light Racicot. Budaj has struggled mightily in the pre-season, getting lit up for seven goals against Boston last Sunday before absorbing a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay last night at the Bell Center, where he actually gave up five goals, one of which was negated by an early whistle.
It's only exhibition, but that doesn't disguise the fact that Budaj just hasn't looked good, and considering he's a year shy of 30 and heading into his seventh NHL season, it's not as if his struggles can be ascribed to rookie jitters. Presumably, he won't be this terrible all season, but that we're even having the discussion underscores the critical importance of Price staying healthy and carrying 80 to 90 percent of the load.