Deja vu for Habs and Avs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

The Montreal Canadiens had better hope history does not repeat itself.

Ten years after the Habs sent disgruntled Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche, the Canadiens yesterday shipped struggling goaltender Jose Theodore to the Mile High City last night.

Roy, of course, went on to lead the Avs to a pair of Stanley Cup victories, leaving Canadiens fans livid at the move.

Avs general manager Pierre Lacroix, the man who engineered the Roy deal, is banking that a similar change of scenery might help Theodore regain the form that made him the Hart Trophy winner as the NHL's MVP back in 2001-02.

"Our entire hockey staff is very excited about the addition of Jose Theodore," Lacroix said. "With this acquisition we are convinced that we are securing our goaltending position for many years."

Getting out of Montreal might be the best thing for Theodore, who is out until the end of this month with a fractured bone in his right heel. Theodore's rocky performance this season had some Montreal tabloids suggesting it was time to go.

"We just lost a big part of our team," Habs captain Saku Koivu said.

Theodore, who makes $4.5 million US this season, had a lofty goals-against average of 3.46.

Aebischer is expected to spot Cristobal Huet, who has been the Habs' No. 1 goalie for more than a month.

"I'm looking forward to a new challenge," he said.

There was speculation in Montreal last night that the deal opened up cap space for further moves. It is known that the Habs, Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers have interest in the Vancouver Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi, who is scheduled to earn $5.5 million next season.

Heading into today's 3 p.m. trade deadline, Ed Belfour, Dwayne Roloson and Curtis Joseph figured to be the most likely goalies to be moved, not Theodore and Aebischer.

In Roloson's case, the speculation proved correct as he was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers yesterday from the Minnesota Wild. Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe also was interested in Cujo and Belfour, but in the end felt he got the man he wanted.

"Sure it's pressure but I welcome it," Roloson said.

With Ottawa, Tampa and Vancouver still looking to shore up their goaltending, Cujo and the Eagle still could be dealt. There were reports last night the Lightning were working on a deal for Anaheim's J-S Giguere.

In other deals, the Los Angeles Kings landed Brent Sopel and Mark Parrish from the New York Islanders while superpest Ville Nieminen went from the Rangers to San Jose.

Candidates to move today include Washington defenceman Brendan Witt, Florida forward Olli Jokinen and St. Louis defenceman Eric Weinrich.


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