Dear Habs Fans: Don't Make the Same Mistake Twice

Patrick Cwiklinski@@patcwiklinskiCorrespondent IApril 24, 2009

By now, virtually everyone who follows hockey and has access to a television or the Internet has seen the now infamous highlight from game four of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in which the centennial team was eliminated from the playoffs.

You know the one.

After letting in four goals in two periods, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was mocked by fans at the Bell Centre as they cheered sarcastically after he stopped a weak dump in. A frustrated Price put his arms in the air, and a media hurricane ensued.

The first thing to spring to everyone's mind was the similarity between the Price incident and a similar one involving Patrick Roy in which he allowed nine goals on 26 shots in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on December 2, 1995.

Like Price, Roy was also sarcastically cheered after stopping a weak shot and responded by putting his arms in the air in mock celebration. After being pulled in the second period, Roy skated to the bench, stormed pass head coach Mario Tremblay and was seen saying something to Canadiens' team president Ronald Corey. 

The night would soon be remembered as Roy's last game for the Canadiens.

The message from Roy to Corey spoke for itself.

Let's call a spade a spade.  Price has every right to be just as fed up with Habs fans as Roy was, but even though he had to endure all that criticism from his own crowd, he didn't seem react in the same way Roy did, and so far we haven't heard anything from Bob Gainey regarding a trade.

And why would we?

Price had a solid season with a 23-16-10-1 record, a 2.83 GAA, and a .905 save percentage. It's not great but it's not bad by any means.

It seems that the 21-year-old goaltender, ever since winning the Calder Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs and joining Montreal the following season, has been put up on such a high pedestal by Habs fans that anything short of a shutout every second game and an annual Stanley Cup is a failure.

Along with that, did anyone really think (not hoped), in all honesty, that the Canadiens would stand a chance in the playoffs against the powerhouse that is Boston. 

If so, you're only kidding yourself.

I believe that the Canadiens also failed to give Price a veteran backup goalie who would be able to perhaps walk him through certain playoff situations and support him in that aspect.

Instead the almost equally NHL-experienced Jaroslav Halak was Price's backup all season and even though he didn't play poorly, he was unable to offer the playoff smarts that Price could have used.

I have a hard time believing that someone like Curtis Joseph wasn't available.

The truth is that the Canadiens playoff collapse should not be put squarely on the shoulders of a goaltender who himself is still a kid and growing.

The raw talent is there and soon the time will come when Price will flourish and become the player everyone knows he can be. So enough with the trash talk and the trade talk because there's a lot to look forward to with such a promising goalie between the pipes.

And to the Habs fans, who choose to be bitter towards Price, don't make the same mistake twice.

 

 

 

 

 

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