Hip Hip Huet!

The Chicago Blackhawks have assigned goaltender Cristobal Huet to HC Fribourg-Gotteron SA. The team plays in the Swiss National League A, which is Switzerland’s top professional hockey league.

Yes, you heard right–the ‘Hawks Six Million Dollar Man Goalie is going to play in Switzerland. OK, I rounded up his salary, because Five-Point-Six-Two-Five Million Dollar Goalie doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

When was the last time you saw a player “assigned” to a European team? Maybe never? And all along, we thought that Huet was going to spend the 2010-11 season in the AHL. Shows what we know.

This is not Huet’s first stint in Switzerland. He played in the Swiss National League A from 1998 to 2002, and did well enough to get drafted by the L.A. Kings in 2001.

So, in more ways than one, this is a step backwards for Huet. His game won’t get any better playing in a sub-par European league.

Sorry, but Switzerland’s top league is not the same caliber of play as the Swedish Elite League, the Kontinental Hockey Leauge or the AHL. At least if Huet was in the AHL, a return to the NHL–though not with the ‘Hawks–would be more feasible.

If I was Cristobal Huet, I’d be pretty darn happy right now. True, getting booted from the NHL sucks–especially when your only crime was having an agent who got you a fantastic contract and then failing to play up to that contract. But remember, Switzerland borders Huet’s home country of France. Getting paid like an NHL superstar to play in a weaker league that’s next to my home country…well, that’s almost too good to be true.

$5.625 million to play in Europe…Eddie Belfour must be so jealous.

In other news…

The War Room: This Wednesday (tomorrow), I will be back on the XM Radio program “The War Room.” Like last year, every Wednesday host Mick Kern and I will talk about hockey cards and collectibles. The show airs on XM satellite radio on NHL Home Ice (channel 204) from 10 am to 11 am CST.

Nifty Fifty: Puck Junk now has 50 followers. Welcome to Al K, aka “kazi,” who is a long-time hockey card collector and this site’s 50th follower. Al has visited this site since the beginning, has helped out my collection and has contributed a few images for the site.

Gordie How Interview: Last week, The Hockey News posted an interview with Gordie Howe that was very impressive. Howe gave very thorough answers that really illustrate what it was like to play in the NHL so long ago. He talks about growing up poor and playing with his sons. If you can spare 5 minutes, read the interview here.

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

5 thoughts on “Hip Hip Huet!”

  1. when the Huet to Switzerland deal was announced a couple of months ago, TSN did an interview with him. He said it made his wife and family very happy to be very close to home again.
    I guess that's why he tried for the Swiss league instead of other alternatives.
    Make 6 mil? check.
    keep the wife and fam happy? check.

  2. Well, we don't get TSN in the States, and the 'Hawks were keeping his status in limbo until recently….so it was news to me.

    Huet's situation is interesting. He's pretty much priced himself out of an NHL job for the next 2 years. And playing the next 2 years in Switzerland won't help him get back into the NHL.

  3. Al, you get one of my custom Cristobal Huet cards that adorns the top of this blog post. The logo and team name has been changed to update his status.

  4. I believe that Huet was the NHL equivalent of Rob Johnson. Signed for big bucks without ever really doing anything. I am sure he will love Euro Hockey and retire and move back to France. The Hawks will never sign a goalie like that again and maybe Corey Crawford will develop into a solid keeper under Turco's tutoring.

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