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Canadian Press
11/10/2006 5:14:36 PM


TORONTO (CP) - If there's a goalie controversy in Montreal then Cristobal Huet and David Aebischer have a funny way of showing it.

They ride to the rink together and hang out off the ice. Come on, guys, aren't you battling for the No. 1 job on one of the NHL's most storied franchises?

''We get along well, our wives get along well, they're both Swiss,'' Aebischer said Friday with a chuckle. ''I mean, we're teammates. I think it's much easier and it's better for the team if the two of us get along than we if couldn't stand each other.''

That's easier said than done when there's so much on the line, not to mention the market and the team involved. But it's true, the Swiss-born Aebischer and French-born Huet like each other despite the head-to-head battle.

''We get along and that makes for a good atmosphere,'' said Huet. ''We push each other. We try to stay in the net, too. After all it is a competition. But it's very healthy. And it's good for the team. I hope David does well when he's in net and he hopes the same for me.''

Eventually Habs head coach Guy Carbonneau will probably zero in on one of them to be his go-to guy down the stretch but in the meantime both goalies are being rotated in two-game spurts.

Aebischer beat Edmonton in Montreal's last game Tuesday and will be in net again Saturday at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Hockey Hall of Fame game.

That means Huet will start Monday in Ottawa and Wednesday at Tampa.

''We've been getting outstanding goaltending from both of them,'' said veteran Habs defenceman Craig Rivet, who along with his teammates signed autographs for fans at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon. ''The team and the organization I think feel confident going with two guys.

''It just means that these guys will not be tired or worn down mentally and physically, especially playing in a city like Montreal. So far it's been super for us.''

The Montreal media has prodded and prodded but neither goalie will bite.

''I think in Montreal they want to make a controversy over a lot of things,'' said Rivet, who is in his 12th season with the Habs. ''Whether it's the language barrier, feuds on the team, or a goaltender controversy, that's media-related. They have to sell papers. But honestly, there's no controversy. Both guys are working towards being the best, they want to be No. 1, but it's good to have a competition with another guy that you care about and you're friends with.

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