I spent some time thinking about this. 2 suggestions were made when I asked what I could write about and one of those suggestions I had written about 2 weeks ago so Carey Price became a topic for my evening.
A challenge arose, just how do I think Carey will do this upcoming season?
I hadn’t thought about it very much instead I’ve been focused on the Gomez deal, the UFA signings and some of the rumors that have been floating around about more trades.
So I thought I would take some time to think and form at least a first opinion of how I think he’ll fare out.
The 2 last seasons in Montreal certainly were not similar. 2 seasons ago the team was in high gear and managed the season with very little injuries as they finished 1st in the east. Last season a strong start crippled by injuries to so many players and then a total meltdown finishing 8th in the east.
Carey Price was given the reigns of the team in goal 2 seasons ago and had a strong year while last season seemed to be more of a struggle.
Carey Price took alot of heat in some media last season as he entered his 2nd season in Montreal and professional hockey. All kinds of speculation and accusations were made against various team members, that’s not something I care to discuss here. I want to talk about hockey.
Did you know that last season the Montreal Canadiens finished 24th in shots against? 31.7 shots per game is what he (Price) and Halak had to contend with and I dare say that the number was better at the beginning of the season. At the end of the year, I have memories of watching games and continually checking the shots on goal… they were being bombarded. I remember Halak standing on his head to steal a couple of games Montreal should have lost.
Price didn’t have a successful defensive unit in front of him. One part of that problem could be that when Komisarek went down with the injury he was just not the same for the remainder of the season. Komisarek was the big physical presence protecting the crease the year before.
But I won’t blame Komisarek. When the team’s meltdown occurred it seemed like practically nothing was going right. Hamrlik, Gorges…. the defense in general was poor.
Has Price faced adversity before?
This is the next question I came to. So I did a little research.
I had never really looked at his numbers prior to his professional days, hearing all the hype about the young goaltender I had assumed the numbers were spectacular but in fact I saw that he did face playing in a loosing situation.
In his first 2nd and 3rd seasons with the Tri-City Americans Price was below .500 and that 3rd year almost averaged 3 goals per game (2.87) and had a 0.906 goals against average. In his 4th year he won 31 games and lost 13, averaged 2.45 goals per game and 0.917 save percentage.
Some might say “yeah, but that’s not the NHL”. No it’s not. But he knows about playing on a struggling team.
So how will Price do this year? (my opinion…. as of today)
I think Carey Price will bounce back. Last season being his first full season as the main man in goal for Montreal couldn’t have been worse for him really… as so many players got injured and the lineup being put on the ice as a game of musical chairs about every night there was little to no stability in front of him.
All the off-ice issues were compounded by the fact that the team was in melt-down mode.
This season Price has some new faces in front of him. Hal Gill and Paul Mara will provide some big bodies and muscle to clear out the “unwanteds”. Plus I do believe Jacques Martin will attempt to have the team play a much tighter defensive system.
Other factors are the media storm in Montreal and whomever is brewing them. There’s always something a muck. And I keep getting flash backs of some of the crowd and their boos and Carey raising his arms… I’m so reminded of Roy… and then also of Brisebois…
Do these people who get on the players so much… do they want people to actually come and play for Montreal?? (some media + some fans) That’s a subject for another day.
I do believe Carey will be better protected this season and it will reflect in his performances, his numbers and his confidence. Carey Price is a superbly gifted goaltender and he is still quite young.
So how do you think Carey Price will do this season? Bounce back? Fall back?