Theodore stuck with Habs for now

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

It's a good thing Jose Theodore is a goalie because he needs the extra equipment with all the shots being fired his way.

The struggling Canadiens netminder has been the target of the Montreal media and fans, and it doesn't sound like they'll be appeased until he's playing elsewhere.

While there has been talk in NHL circles that Habs GM Bob Gainey would like to move Theodore to Vancouver in a deal for Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi, trading him isn't going to be easy.

First off, Theodore's play of late has been nothing short of awful.

Theodore allowed five goals to the Canucks last Saturday in a little more than 13 minutes in the first period before getting the yank. He followed that performance up by letting in five more goals on Monday to Carolina in just under half a game before getting pulled again.

Cristobal Huet replaced Theodore in both those games, then promptly turned in a fine outing vs. Philadelphia, backstopping Montreal to a 5-3 win on Thursday.

Theodore thought he was going to start last night vs. Ottawa, even refusing to speak to the media because it was a game day.

Huet played in last night's 3-0 loss to the Senators.

The other issue with Theodore is his contract, which still has two years and $11 million (all terms US) remaining on it. That's a lot of cap space.

Ideally, the Habs would like to acquire Florida goalie Robert Luongo, who recently turned down a five-year, $30-million offer from the Panthers.

That's only going to happen if Florida GM Mike Keenan decides there's nothing he can do to keep Luongo happy.

Right now, the Habs are going to have to live with Theodore, but don't be surprised if he's demanding to be dealt in the near future.

GETTING CLOSER: Senators RW Martin Havlat was all smiles yesterday after returning from a visit to Cleveland with a shoulder specialist to discuss his rehab. Havlat has been given clearance to skate and work out by Dr. Anthony Miniaci, but it's going to be another six weeks before it's determined if he's going to be able to play again this season. "I'm hoping I'm going to be able to play, but we're going to have to wait and see," said Havlat. He will resume skating on his own in the next week or so and will begin doing range of motion exercises. "It was good to hear that I can get back on the ice, but I'm going to be alone for a while," said Havlat. "I could start skating today, but I'm just going to wait and see how it feels."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk hosted a party with 300 of his closest friends last night to watch the Ottawa-Montreal game at the re-opening of Bert's Bar in Barbados. Melnyk bought the bar and has turned it into the official "Sens" headquarters on the island and he's boasting the best daiquiris on the island. Senators COO Cyril Leeder and VP of broadcasting Jim Steel flew down to Barbados to take part in the festivities and make sure the A-Channel broadcast was beamed into the bar ... Even Senators rookie D Andrej Meszaros doesn't think he should win Calder Trophy. "I know that Alexander Ovechkin (of Washington) is going to be there," said Meszaros, who went into last night's game against the Habs leading the league in plus/minus at plus-31. "He's been excellent," said Senators D Zdeno Chara. "You never know. He's the only defenceman in his category. I don't know what the people who vote look at, but he should have a shot." ... Former Leafs W Owen Nolan has been given clearance to resume skating and could sign with a team in the next 7-10 days. The Senators have a mild interest, but the Sharks are considered the leading contender.


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