Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Montoya: I'd rather play in Hartford than sit in New York

Al Montoya (Heather Sperrazza photo)

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle (thanks to Kukla's Korner for the pointer):

One year of minor-league work for the Rangers' affiliate in Hartford produced a 23-9-1 record and 2.61 goals against average, but Montoya's likely ticketed to return to the AHL for another season because of New York's deep goaltending situation.

He says he'd rather head back to play for the Wolf Pack than ride the pine for the Rangers, who have returning 24-year-old starter Henrik Lundqvist and veteran Kevin Weekes in goal.

"I know what I'm capable of," Montoya said. "I need to keep going in the right direction, keep working on my game, keep working hard and it usually works out.

"I'm going to put my best foot forward, but there are a lot of goalies in the system. I'd rather be playing games, and it makes no sense to be up top and not play any games."

His trip to Traverse City for the NHL prospects camp — where the Rangers are one of eight teams competing — is his first return to Michigan since he was drafted. He almost came back last year for Michigan's alumni game, but held off.

"I couldn't play golf and couldn't play hockey, so I figured next year would be a better time," Montoya said.

The 6-foot-2, 201-pound netminder is making his return to action in Traverse City after a lengthy absence due to surgery on his glove-side shoulder to repair the labrum.

"I'm just getting back in the swing of things," Montoya said. "I need to get my feet back underneath me and get ready for mini-camp."

Montoya will be in the Rangers' full training camp when it starts on Sept. 14.