As I write this, I’m listening to François Gagnon on with René Homier-Roy on C’est bien meilleur le matin and Gagnon is saying that this whole Carey Price debate underlines the bi-polarity of Canadiens fans.
Typical Montreal hockey columnist! Their fall-back position is to laugh at the fans. They’re always telling us – hey you, listen to us, we’re the experts, you guys have no right to weigh in on any Habs debates. Reminds me of the way doctors and dentists talk to us. But at least those guys need a university degree to get all snooty on us.
Hey Francois, Price let in 12 goals in two games. This is downright terrible. Yes of course they weren’t all his fault, but some of them were, particularly in that bizarre 7-6 Penguins game Saturday. That overtime winner Saturday? ‘Weak’ is not the word to describe Price on that one.
So there’s a problem and they’d be talking about it in any other hockey town worth the name. There’s nothing psychotic about the debate at all.
And we’re not the only ones upset. So is Price. Pat Hickey reports in The Gazette Thursday that after being beaten a bunch of times in a shootout drill during practice Wednesday, Price broke his stick on his goalposts in frustration.
Then he gave the journalists the usual hockey cliches – “The bounces aren’t going my way”, “I’m here today to work on a few things”.
At this point – Thursday morning – it’s not known who’s starting Thursday in Raleigh.
I at the very least remain consistent on Price. My point is that he has yet to really prove himself to be a great goalie at the NHL level. He’s done well but he hasn’t had one truly amazing regular season and his playoff record is totally horrific.
When I said all this in the Daybreak studio Wednesday, my pal Andie Bennett quite rightly pointed out that he’s hardly had great teams in front of him while racking up these less-than-Hall-of-Fame-level stats. And she’s right (just this one time!).
But it just underlines my point – the jury’s out on whether or not Price is the “thoroughbred” Bob Gainey thought he was. In the NHL – or any other professional league – all that matters is the playoffs and Price has never risen to the occasion in the post-season. In the ’08 playoffs, he led Habs to first-round victory against the Bruins (in seven games) but he was hardly impressive in the second-round loss to the Flyers that year.
The following year the Bruins swept the Habs in the first-round and Price was just terrible for the most part. Then came the Canadiens’ improbable playoff run in 2010 in which Price hardly even played a supporting role, not registering a single win. That was the #Halak spring. Price was quite good in the 2011 playoffs but his team still lost in the first-round to the dreaded Bs, who went on to win the Cup. (Yup the Habs were one Subban slapper away from the second round. It still kills me.)
It’s simple really – Price needs to deliver some A+ level playoff play to merit some serious adulation. Until then, many of us will continue to have our doubts.
Do I think he’ll get our adulation? 50-50 I’d say.