Carey Price at Habs practice Jan. 22, 2012.

Carey Price at Habs practice Jan. 22, 2012.

Okay so I have grumbled once or twice in this space about the Montreal Canadiens. So sue me!

If you’re a Habs fan – and I really am, no matter what you think – this can be a mighty frustrating team. I care, which is why it kills me when they rip my heart to pieces (like they did last spring when they collapsed like a cheap house of cards against a not-very-good Ottawa Senators team).

So there I was Tuesday morning talking to Habs owner Geoff Molson and L’Equipe Spectra CEO Alain Simard about the blockbuster deal that had the Canadiens buying Spectra, which runs the jazz festival and Metropolis, amongst many other things. Right at the end of our conversation, I told Molson that now all the CH needed was to win a championship so that given the absurdly lengthy hockey season, he could probably schedule the Stanley Cup parade – following the usual route! – during the jazz festival in late June.

Molson started laughing and – at least in my self-obsessed mind – showed himself to be a close reader of this relentlessly critical blog by saying only this: “It’s nice to see you’re thinking hopefully and optimistically.”

And I am. This team is on an incredible roll. But let’s just remember that prior to that, they were on what can only be described as whatever the opposite of an incredible roll is. They weren’t very good prior to Nov. 16.

Marc Antoine Godin has a great column in La Presse Saturday about how it’s the goalies that have brought the Habs back to life and he’s got a good point. He starts off with a telling anecdote. It’s Nov. 16 and Carey Price is sitting in the dressing room after the Habs have just dropped a game 1-zip to the New York Rangers and Price looks up at the Eastern Conference standings and says – “Our record is mediocre.”

And he was right! But guess what? Since then, as Godin notes, the Canadiens have not lost in regulation time. They’ve won eight out of nine games. The only point they lost was in that shootout a couple of weeks back against the Washington Capitals. The result? Montreal leap-frogged Thursday over Boston to takeover the top spot in the Atlantic division and second place overall in the East.

Let’s face it. It’s a bit of miracle. Of course the main Miracle Man is Pricer. Look, I have thrown a few darts in his direction in the past – Halak it a lot! – but I’m a big enough boy to admit he’s looking like one of the best goalies in Gary Bettman’s Mickey Mouse league this fall and, right now, has a lock on the No. 1 job in Sochi (don’t even get me started about the notion of Luongo starting!).

Look at Thursday game against the Big Bad Bruins. They won that game for one reason and one reason only – Price held the fort in the late going when Boston threw everything at him.

But it’s not just the Chill Out Kid. I just heart Martin McGuire – the best hockey play-by-play man in the country? – saying on 98.5 FM that the resurgence is built around the three Ps – Price, Pacioretty and P.K. And that’s about the size of it. Patch has been a huge part of all this. Prior to Nov. 12, he had a measly two goals. Now he has 11. The one thing McGuire didn’t mention is that you should add a C to the three Ps to underline the contribution of Mayor Denis Coderre.

The team has been on fire ever since our serial Habs-tweeter mayor tweeted to say David Desharnais should be given a one-way-ticket to Hamilton. Wee Davey’s been playing amazing ever since but that tweet also ignited Patch, who is a great pal of DD’s. He was just furious at the time and he’s worked out his anger management issues by putting the puck in the net nine times.

Then there’s P.K. Subban, the superstar Norris Trophy-winning defenseman who is supposedly too much of a defensive liability for the stodgy old conservative hockey back-roomers who’re putting together the team for Sochi. (An aside: It worked out pretty well when Gretzky went all conservative and old-school for the team he put together for the Turin Olympics didn’t it?) Subban has quite simply been amazing and in spite of that one goofball give-up in the last minutes of the New Jersey game Wednesday, he’s been great on both ends of the ice.

I completely agree with Pat Hickey’s assessment in Saturday’s Gaz that “good things are more likely to happen when Subban is on the ice.”

So the three Ps plus C have turned things around. But let’s keep it real folks. I leave the last word to the Dalai Lama of hockey, Carey Price. This is a guy who’s never excited one way or the other when talking to journos. If they lose, he tells people to chill out and when they win, he reminds the reporters it’s a half-empty glass.

He told Godin – “We still haven’t won anything. We’re only at mid-season, so let’s put things in perspective.”

There. He said it not me.

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