Perfect Time For Cristobal Huet to Regain Confidence

Eric JohnsonContributor IOctober 25, 2009

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Cristobal Huet of Chicago during the ZSC Lions Zurich v Chicago Blackhawks Victoria Cup match at the Hallenstadion Arena on September 29, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

In one short season, the Chicago Blackhawks have shot right to the top of the Western Conference. They are now considered one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

The skill is there on both offense and defense to back up that prediction.

But in the end, it all rides on the goaltending.

Cristobal Huet came into the season as the No. 1 goaltender. After a rough start, many impatient fans were starting to look elsewhere. Backup goalie Antti Niemi quickly became a crowd favorite after Huet's early struggles.

I for one was fed up with the disgruntled fans. We are here to support the Hawks through thick and thin. To me, the booing of Huet at the UC was unacceptable.

But boy can things change quickly. During last night's 2-0 victory over Nashville, Huet stopped all 27 shots he faced to record the 21st shutout of his career. The crowd gave him a rousing ovation after he was named the No. 1 star of the game.

But the fans cheering or booing Huet is not the point. This current stretch of games is a perfect time for Huet to get on a roll.

His past two starts have come against the Nashville Predators. Even though Huet was not challenged much (Nashville averages just 1.7 goals a game), he gained victories in both starts.

Huet has been named the starter for Monday's game against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild will bring the fourth worst offense in the league to the UC tomorrow night.

Then on Thursday night, the Hawks will face the Predators again in Nashville then face the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night in Chicago. I am sure Niemi and Huet will split the back to back games later this week unless coach Joel Quenneville decides to keep rolling with Huet.

It would be nice to see Niemi get the start Thursday in Nashville so Huet could face his former team on Friday in Chicago.

You can say what you want about the recent and upcoming opponents that the Hawks are facing. But this is a perfect time for Huet to regain his confidence.

I am one Hawks fan who is excited for Huet to face these teams and get on a roll.