It comes a time in everyone’s life when you look back and find defining moments where you can point to as turning points, key experiences or decisions which made you who you are, moulded you into what you have become today. Those moments will sometimes have negative effects on some people but many times, they served as major steps, compass points guiding someone to become the person that they have become. In some cases, it allows you to become the best in your profession…
If the Montreal Canadiens had listened to their fans, Carey Price would be playing elsewhere than in Montreal today. Can you imagine? Thankfully, Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier did what Marc Bergevin did last summer and made decisions based on what they believed was for the good of the team, and not to appease the team’s fans and media. Today, few are second-guessing what were then, very controversial decisions.
Carey Price was tagged by many fans as “Le Joyaux”, the one who was preferred to Cristobal Huet and later, to a hot Jaroslav Halak. Traditional media and particularly social media were looking for new ways to put him down, finding pictures and/or stories of him partying it out late at night, in a way wanting him to flop at the expenses of the above-mentioned two goaltenders battling for a spot on the team with him.
Management did everything in their power to support Price. They brought in his mother from Anaheim Lake, B.C. to help him at his apartment. They brought in his then girlfriend and now wife Angela, mother of his daughter, to help settle him down. When he took over the team, Bergevin half-jokingly said that he would do Price’s grocery shopping for him if he had to, so he could avoid Montreal’s scrutiny. And guess what? Whatever the issue was, it obviously wasn’t as permanent as fans wanted to believe. Price matured and has grown into the man, the goalkeeper that he is today. And those same fans, while they might not admit it publicly, are thankful for that.
History repeats itself
This past summer, many fans and media were up in arms about Marc Bergevin’s decision to trade P.K. Subban for what they said, was a “declining” Shea Weber, who was even described by the advanced analytics’ crowd as an “average” defenseman. As most Habs’ fans never really paid attention to him before, playing in the Western Conference for a non-relevant (to them) team in Nashville, they bought the Kool-Aid sold to them by those disgruntled people.
Yet, while admittedly Subban is younger and will (or should) have an impact for longer than Weber, no one in their right mind today would dare saying that this trade was a bad one for Montreal.
In 15 games and over 380 minutes of ice time (at the time of writing those lines), the rugged defenseman has been on the ice for only two goals against at even strength. Weber is amongst the league leaders in ice time per game (9th), in plus-minus (1st) and in powerplay goals (1st). Amongst defensemen, he ranks first in goals (6) and is second in points (12).
Enjoy the ride
The Canadiens are up to a 13-1-1 record, sitting comfortably in first place in the NHL after missing the playoffs last year. They are 10-0-0 at the Bell Centre and Price has not lost a game in over a year! Oh don’t worry, they won’t keep that pace all season long, there is no doubt about it. But fans should just enjoy the ride, cheer their team on while they are doing well.
Fans should just trust Bergevin and his management team, who are still looking at ways to improve the team in spite of their hot start. Whether they are fans of coach Michel Therrien or not, they should be able to recognise that he’s not doing as bad of a job as they claim that he is, that he acknowledged that his team isn’t perfect and his handling of the media is what’s needed in this market.
Fans and media should follow the recommendation from “Le Joyaux”and… Chill Out! Go Habs Go!