Cristobal Huet's agent seeks a European team for Huet to play for

cristobalhuet2.jpgIf you’ve been asleep the last few weeks, you might not know that Cristobal Huet’s future with the Chicago Blackhawks is in a bit of trouble. After the team walked away from Antti Niemi’s $2.75 million arbitration award and signed free agent goalie Marty Turco, the handwriting was on the wall. Huet’s future as an NHL goalie in Chicago is virtually over thanks to his massive salary cap hit of $5.625 million dollars. For the Blackhawks to be able to comfortably get under the cap, they’ll need to waive Huet and send him to the AHL.

Thankfully for Cristobal Huet, he’s got an agent in Stephen Bartlett that not only got him a massive contract that will pay him that money regardless of where he goes, but is also looking to find the 34 year-old Frenchman a new job elsewhere.

“I can’t speak for Cristobal, but I would speculate Europe would be more appealing, because both he and his wife are Europeans,” Bartlett said. “They have family there, and what not.

“If the alternatives are the AHL or playing back in Switzerland, where he has some history, I would imagine he would prefer Europe.”

Bartlett said the Hawks haven’t pressured him to act urgently.

“Chicago has to get under the cap before the start of the regular season, and I’m sure they targeted him as someone who won’t count against the cap,” he said. “I don’t think there will be undue pressure before training camp.

“They can send him to the minors at any time, and I’m appreciative of the fact they’re working with us. They’ve given me carte blanche to talk to other teams to see if we can find a solution that works best for everybody. They’ve been very cooperative.”

It’s a bit heartwarming in a way to see that the Blackhawks are being nice about everything considering that they’re essentially casting Huet aside for strictly cheaper alternatives. While Huet’s play last year didn’t endear him to any of the fans in Chicago nor perhaps the Hawks management, the contract former general manager Dale Tallon signed him is what is his ultimate undoing in the Windy City.

If you’re wondering what will happen with Huet’s contract, of which has two years left on it, it doesn’t disappear completely. Should Huet find a job to play in Europe, he’s still being paid by the Blackhawks to play for someone else it just won’t count against their cap. Once Huet is waived and sent to the minor leagues, that $5.625 million dollar cap hit goes away. See, the salary cap works after all.

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    Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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    Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

    (Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

    Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

    Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

    “He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

    Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

    Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

    It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

    Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

    Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

    Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

    Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

    Read more about Game 6 here.

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.