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Reports: Tokarski starting for Habs

May 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

From Montreal Canadiens reporter Eric Engels:

And since echoed by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports:

In case you just woke up or something, Carey Price is hurt and the Habs say he’ll miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final. Hence, the big decision for coach Michel Therrien.

Therrien has two options to replace Price — regular back-up Peter Budaj, or 24-year-old Dustin Tokarski, who’s only started seven NHL games in his career, but shut out the Sabres in his last appearance for Montreal on March 16.

Tokarski has also won the Memorial Cup, as a member of the 2008 Spokane Chiefs; he’s won gold for Canada, at the World Juniors in 2009; and he’s won the Calder Cup, in 2012 with the Norfolk Admirals.

Budaj, meanwhile, was not particularly impressive during the regular season (10-8-3, .909 save percentage) and allowed three goals on eight Rangers shots in relief of Price in Game 1.

Related: Habs need to put Game 1, Price injury, and Boston series behind them

  1. jason9696 - May 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    That’s a gutsy move by Therrien. I would’ve gone with Budaj. But maybe Tokarski will do as well as that rookie did in Anaheim. Before game #7 against the Kings that is.

    • bigtganks - May 19, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      With that helmet, it looked like Steve Grogan!

  2. oneil1234 - May 19, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Doesn’t matter who they put in, the series is over.

  3. c9castine - May 19, 2014 at 4:42 PM


    man. ill say the same thing i said about anaheim…therrien is either going to look like a genius, or an idiot.

    in fairness, this situation is because of injury, and its a strong message to his team as far as you better show up and play hard in front of him and not let 7 goals up again.

    but the safer choice by far is Budaj…

  4. statsdolie - May 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    You just never know

  5. bwayblueshirt - May 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    “Therrien has two options to replace Price — regular back-up Peter Budaj, or 24-year-old Dustin Tokarski, who’s only started seven NHL games in his career, but shut out the Sabres in his last appearance for Montreal on March 16.”

    Operative word there is “Sabres”. I would’ve gone with Budaj. At least give him a full game to work with. Don’t put him at the bottom of mountain and tell him to stop the avalanche.

    • chip56 - May 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      It’s true, shutting out the Sabres is almost as impressive as saying you’re taller than Mats Zuccarello.

      • barkar942 - May 19, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        HEY! I’m the same height as Zucc!
        Pretty soon you’ll be posting Blomfeld videos of “Short People”!

      • bmy0913 - May 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        HAHAHAHA I just spit water all over my desk, Chip56, nicely done. Real talk thought, bwayblue has a point. Budaj’s stats aren’t what everybody wants to see…but let’s be real, what was he going to do with what he was given in game one. And with a D that wasn’t even in the same building, let alone helping him on the ice, what else can you expect? I think you have to go with experience in this one. Habs have a long road ahead.

  6. joey4id - May 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Will you people believe me when I say the coaches and GMs read my comments?

    joey4id – May 19, 2014 at 1:23 PM
    Time to put Dustin Tokarski in the line up. This kid is 24 yrs and old, has won gold at the world juniors in 2009.

    jkay1818 – May 15, 2014 at 6:12 PM
    waiting. Can i send you my email address so I can get an alert when you post it?
    I will do my best to post it on all of my social media pages too. I follow the rangers on there, so if it gets in the right hands, upper mgmt and coaches may see it and use it

    joey4id – May 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM
    No need. It’s been well documented that NHL teams read my comments and use them to prep their teams. :-)

    • c9castine - May 20, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      good idea.

  7. mrd5c - May 19, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    By starting Tokarski, Therrien has made it clear that he has no confidence in Budaj, his backup all season. That has to make Budaj feel low, and can’t help his confidence. What will happen if he has to go back to Budaj if the kid can’t get it done? Risky move by the coach. The Rangers can’t seem to win when they are ahead in a series, and usually make it difficult for themselves wherever possible. Hope the trend changes tonight.

    • bmy0913 - May 19, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      That and all the player attention on calling shenanigans on the hit that took Price out in the first place. Never a single time have I seen a quote from anybody standing behind Budaj, they’re all focused on losing Price. To me, in a team sport, that sends a pretty clear message. You bet all your chips on black, lost, and now you’re in deep kind of situation for sure.

      On the other side of things, I’m really strangely curious as to why I haven’t seen any smack from Subban on this? I wonder if he was instructed to not make himself available to the public on this. I expected some gamesmanship from that one.

  8. billiam55 - May 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM


  9. cweez2 - May 19, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    He’s won the Memorial Cup, World Juniors and the Calder Cup. I realize it’s not the same level as NHL, but he’s faced the highest amount of pressure – and won at the highest levels he could play at, at the time. He just has to be good, the team in front of him has to carry the load tonight.

    • bmy0913 - May 19, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      No doubt the kids good, but I just don’t think he will be ready for the speed of the game and the skill set hes coming up against. This is conference final playoff hockey, not Wednesday night in the middle of November even a two point regulation win makes little standing difference hockey. I think he’s going to have a rough one. Who knows though, even as a Rangers fan, I’m all for a kid getting his shot at the big time.

  10. bleedrangerblue - May 19, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Yikes don’t know what to expect …. Go Rangers!!

  11. spizzjr - May 19, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Go dusty i f’in hate the rags and there bandwagon fans

  12. deadrabbit79 - May 19, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Gutsy move. No going to Budaj now the rest of the way though. Its sink or swim with this kid. You never know

  13. JerseyGirl - May 19, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    I’m not disputing Tokarski likely being the best option for the series — I’m only curious … Did Devan Dubnyk fall off the face of the earth? I’m not in any way saying he’s the best option, I’m only disputing the idea that Budaj & Tokarski are the ONLY options.

    Do the Canadiens not have the rights to Devan Dubnyk anymore? Is he hurt [or just really really bad — worse than Budaj bad?]

    Like if for some reason something happened to Tokarski & Budaj were to start the next game — do they run out & find some 3rd string college goalie to dress as backup, or would Dubnyk at least get to dress in that scenario?

    While I’m on the topic — am I the only one that remembers the time Chris Kreider was SKATING VERY FAST DIRECTLY AT THE NET, LOST HIS FOOTING & ‘ACCIDENTALLY’ SLID INTO CRAIG ANDERSON?

    I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that it was his intention to mow down Price & get him out of the game. However I think for someone with his speed — skating full-speed-ahead DIRECTLY towards the goaltender requires the ability to be able to STOP better and / or not lose his footing. He’s sort of like a ‘loose cannon’ until he can tweak his skating ability to where he can skate TOWARDS the crease — but not directly at the goaltender – so as to be able to get out of the way should he lose his footing — which apparently is quite often.

    It sort of reminds me of Shea Weber’s inability to control where he shoots the puck — I don’t think it’s Weber’s intention to hurt someone — but his inability to control the puck [assuming that’s what it is] makes him somewhat a danger to everyone else on the ice at the time. Kreider’s skating [and inability to maintain his footing and / or turn out of the way and / or stop when he’s skating that fast] is a danger to goaltenders directly in his path. It only irks me because it IS NOT the first time he’s taken a goalie out for a significant period of time — for nearly the same reason.

    I don’t think Kreider deserves any supplemental action, but I think at some point in time — for the safety of other goaltenders in the league — someone needs to talk to him about skating too fast to maintain his footing — whilst the goaltender is directly in his path. I’m sure the Canadiens [and Ottawa Senators] would agree.

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