Is Alex the answer?
"Their offer came along right away and the situation was an ideal one for me," affirmed Alex Auld of the one-year pact he signed with the Habs only 90 minutes into the free agent bonanza on July 1. "I'm really happy to be playing in Canada again and to work with a young goalie like Carey. My wife and I jumped on this opportunity."
With the Habs having him at "Hello", Auld is now about to settle into his third Canadian NHL home, following his stops in Vancouver and Ottawa.
Well aware of the recent playoff heroics of the goalie whose stall he will now be occupying, Auld knows he has some big skates to fill.
"The pressure is always there on any goalie in Montreal regardless of what the team accomplished this season," said Auld. "There have been such legendary goalies who have guarded this crease over the years that there are almost no goalie numbers to wear here! It really is a unique position in the world of sports."
Ready and eager to form a padded tandem with Carey Price, Auld is already a card-carrying member of the 22-year-old goalie's fan club.
"I don't know him personally, but I have faced him a few times so I know how talented he is and that he's going to be a very good goalie in this league," gushed Auld. "I'll be there if he ever needs to talk and while I don't expect to have all the answers, I've been through almost everything a NHL goalie can go through over the years."
After seeing action in a career-high 67 games in 2005-06, Auld has played in 27, 32, 43 and 24 games since then. He however has no expectations about just how much rubber he will see in Montreal in 2010-11.
"It's almost easier not knowing how many games you'll play heading into a season," explained the 29-year-old veteran who played for Jacques Martin in Florida in 2006-07. "I think games are something you have to earn. Jacques is a big believer in a system that features two goalies he has complete confidence in and that he can send out there in any situation."
Martin's mug won't be the only familiar face Auld will see when he first steps foot in the Habs' dressing room.
"I know Pierre [Groulx] really well even thouh he was our video coach with the Panthers back then," recalled Auld of the Canadiens' current goalie coach. "Pierre was often on the ice and even in uniform because Eddy Belfour didn't practice much. So we worked together a lot and I know how he's all about attention to detail. I'm excited to work with him again."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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