MONTREAL (AP) - Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak gained some diplomatic support in his contract negotiations.
"I don't know a lot of French," David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, cracked Friday during a luncheon. "But from what I can gather the word Halak means 'gigantic contract."'
Halak, a restricted free agent, made $800,000 this year and is eligible for salary arbitration.
He finished the regular season with a .924 save percentage, fourth best in the NHL. He played a key role in helping the Canadiens upset Washington and Pittsburgh, two of the league's best teams.
Before a speech about the U.S. economic recovery, Jacobson consoled Canadiens fans following Montreal's ouster by Philadelphia. He also pointed out that his hometown, Chicago, hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 1961.
"When my team last won the Stanley Cup," he said, "players didn't wear helmets, goalies didn't wear masks. I think the puck was still made out of wood."