Canadiens demote Price, Chipchura, recall Halak, Locke

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens sent rookies Carey Price and Kyle Chipchura to AHL Hamilton on Tuesday.

Goalie Jaroslav Halak and center Corey Locke were recalled from Hamilton. All four players involved in the roster moves were members of the Bulldogs' AHL Calder Cup championship team last season.

Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey talked about making changes during his midseason press conference Monday. He indicated that Price, who had struggled in his past three starts, might benefit from more playing time in Hamilton at this point of the season.

Price, a 20-year-old who was chosen fifth overall in the 2005 draft, began the season with Montreal and went 9-7-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 19 games.

Halak, 22, will back up starter Cristobal Huet in his second stint of the season. He made one relief appearance Dec. 8 against Carolina before he was returned to Hamilton, where he went 9-7-2 with two shutouts, a 2.26 GAA and a .922 save percentage in 19 games.

Gainey also said that the team's centers needed to win more faceoffs. The Canadiens rank 27th in the league with a 48.1 percent success rate.

The 21-year-old Chipchura, who also began the season with the Canadiens and made his NHL debut, won just 43.8 percent of his draws.

Chipchura, chosen 18th overall in the 2004 draft, had four goals and seven assists in 36 games.

Locke, Hamilton's leading scorer with 28 points, was recalled for the second time this season though he has yet to appear in a game with Montreal.

The 23-year-old center was slated to make his NHL debut on Dec. 30 in New York but his luggage did not arrive and the Canadiens were one player short in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers.

Locke had 12 goals and 16 assists in 34 games with Hamilton.