I posted on the usual social-media soapboxes after Thursday night’s dramatic 4-3 OT victory over the Red Wings, joining in the celebration of Carey Price’s record-breaking 43rd win this season. I said, and I quote: “That was one of the great moments in recent Habs history. Carey Price sets the record for most wins in a season for a Canadiens goalie and it was beautiful to see his team-mates just going nuts around him, celebrating. Then the Bell Centre crowd gave him the big love. Price looked so moved in the post-game interview. Magic.”
Then we got into a fun discussion of Price getting “pied” right after the game, by that party-animal – NOT! – Emelin, with Andie Bennett getting the real scoop as usual, saying that Markov was the brains behind that operation. In short, we were all busy whooping it up for our man Price.
Most were happy to retweet and like – that’s how we roll these days – but my old friend Marc-André Grondin – who also happens to be one of our finer thespians – wasn’t about the let me off scott free.
“No mention of Halak, Brendan??? ;” tweeted Marc-André.
Fair enough pal. For years, I have been giving Price a hard time and portraying myself as one of the last of the Halakians. I was, like thousands of others, devastated by the Halak trade, and, being old-school Irish, it took me years to recover (and following the Irish thematic, I do of course still hold a psychotic grudge against Bob Gainey). But when Price turned the corner in the past two seasons, I was a big enough man to admit he was looking more and more like The Man. The Man Who Would Bring the Cup Back to Montreal that is. If you don’t believe me, please have a read of my post from Feb. 7 titled, what else?, Carey Price is The Man.
Price rules the goalie roost in the NHL this season. He’s No. 1, period, end of discussion, which is why he will win the Vezina Trophy and maybe the Hart (though Ovie is giving him a run for the money right now). He has a GAA of 1.95, a save percentage of .934, and the aforementioned 43 wins.
And keep in mind he has done all this with a good, not great, defense corps in front of him. Last night, as usual, he said it was all about his team-mates but he’s just saying that cos he’s such a class act. Fact is that it’s all Price. Without The What Me Worry Kid, this Canadiens’ squad would be fighting with Boston, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Detroit for that last playoff spot in the East.
And his team-mates know he’s their fearless leader. Did you see the way they celebrated with him last night? Such joy. They love this guy and they know exactly what he means to the team.
Night after night, he’s astonishing, and if not astonishing, he’s at the very least very, very good. I think he has had maybe two mediocre nights all season and that’s two games out of 65. Is he better than Jacques Plante and/or Ken Dryden, the two guys who held the 42-wins record for the Habs? Only time will tell. But he’s certainly right up with them.
My pal (and occasional Top Shelf contributor) David Winch quoted some web chatter arguing over this and I think the key point that comes out of that is that Plante and Dryden had much better teams in front of them. Price is doing this with a team that is NOT the 1976-1977 Canadiens.
So yeah I’m right on the effin bandwagon.
One more thing though Marc-André – did you notice that great season of Jaro Halak’s over on The Island? Haha.
– Brendan Kelly