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(Matt Slocum)
(Matt Slocum)

Halak in no rush to sign new contract Add to ...

Montreal Canadiens goaltender and playoff hero Jaroslav Halak says he wants to take some time away from the game before thinking about his future.

Halak will be a restricted free agent on July 1 with the right to go to salary arbitration if he and the Canadiens are unable to come to a contract agreement.

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"Right now, don't think about it," Halak said Tuesday when asked what his priorities are when it comes to his contract status. "This is not going to happen today or tomorrow, it's going to happen over the summer.

"It's a good question, but right now I just want to go on vacation and put aside hockey and not think about it."

Halak would also be available to any team that wanted to sign him to an offer sheet, which would force the Canadiens' hand by forcing them to either match the offer or accept draft picks as compensation.

Losing Halak would be difficult for the Canadiens to sell to their fans, who took to putting stop signs across the city with "Halak" written in the middle.

"I'm just a regular guy," Halak said when asked about his fan support. "I'm not a super hero or a God or anything."

The Canadiens were gathering at their suburban practice facility for final medicals and meetings with management Tuesday, one day after being eliminated in the Eastern Conference final in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers.

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