Oh the topic of goaltending in Montreal. Always a hot topic, isn’t it? The guy with the big pads has historically always been a key component of championship seasons with the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. George Hainsworth, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy… and now Carey Price. I don’t know if there is a position in pro sports coming with as much pressure as being a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. If there is, they are few and far between.
When Price signed his name at the bottom of an eight-year, $84 million deal, everyone knew that it would bring even more pressure on the Anahim, B.C. native. Calm, cool and collected, Price’s demeanor hasn’t changed through all of this and it is often mistaken for nonchalance. I think it’s his first nations’ blood as they often are the calmest and most relaxed people that I know.
Even with his apparent calmness, Price wasn’t happy with his performances, particularly in November, when it seemed like every bounce was going against him. Deflections on his own defensemen, bad bounces off the boards, luck simply wasn’t on his side. But it was more than that. He seemed off and his compete level didn’t appear to always be there as we touched on before. But he’s turned things around in a big, big way as we can see in the following table:
The month of November was alarming, not unlike last season. December saw some improvement but it’s since the month of December that we have been seeing the true Carey Price, the one players keep voting as the most intimidating goaltender, the one they would want in a game seven. After the 2-1 overtime win over the Leafs, Kelly Hrudey said on Hockey Night in Canada that Price’s best quality wasn’t his athleticism, but his mindset. It’s true.
Back in November, fans and journalists were talking about how unworthy Price was. Once again, he’s battled through it and since then… crickets. And that’s the way we like it, right? Go Habs Go!