Jose tinkering away

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Jose Theodore may have a few things to work on, but the Montreal Canadiens goaltender insists it's just like any other day at the Bell Centre.

"I've been working with (goaltending coach) Rollie (Melanson) since I got here and every practice we are working on some new details," Theodore said yesterday. "It drives me crazy, but that's how it is. I have had some good games but have let in some bad goals."

Melanson said Thursday he saw a hole when Theodore goes into the butterfly position, with the implication being that clubs have been beating Theodore between his blocking arm and his body.

Theodore, incidentally, views the butterfly as being more instrumental in a goalie's arsenal than ever before. With the increase in goals scored across the NHL, there also has been an ascent in scoring chances.

"A lot of goals are being scored from in tight or on screened shots," Theodore said.

"That's why you want to cover the low net because that's where goals are being scored."

Add Theodore to the list of big-name netminders who have a beef with the crease-crashing that has become commonplace in the new NHL. With no worries about obstruction, lest it be called, forwards have no trouble going hard to the net.

It's a strategy Theodore expects to see much of tonight against the Maple Leafs.

"They're a big team and that's how they have been having success in Toronto,"said Theodore, who is 4-9-3 in his career against the Leafs. "They're going to crash the net. If they stay out of the crease, I see the puck much better."

Though Theodore, who was not happy with his performance last Saturday despite a 5-4 win at the ACC, is not writing letters home about his play, coach Claude Julien was emphatic when asked whether he thinks Theodore is struggling.

The 29-year-old is 3-1, but neither his 3.00 goals-against average nor his .881 save percentage are sparkling.

Coming into this season, Theodore had a 2.52 goals-against average for his career and a .914 save percentage.

"No, he is not struggling," Julien said. "Did he have all good games so far? No. Is he struggling? No."

Meanwhile, Habs veteran Craig Rivet won't be surprised if visors eventually are grandfathered into the NHL.

"I don't think you can have guys who have played 15 years in the league and tell them they have to wear a visor," Rivet said. "If it comes down to players having to wear them, I don't care."


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