Now let’s hold on for a moment here.
Do the majority of sports writers in Montreal and abroad believe that Carey Price is the savior of a once-great, dynastic hockey franchise?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
What about all the "fans" jumping on and off the Carey Price bandwagon? Do they really think that Price will lead them all the way? Follow in Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy’s example?
Again, give your head a shake.
Despite being strong-willed, self-motivated, and rarely emotionally shaken in his crease, Price is not a savior.
At least, not yet.
Don’t get me wrong—I love the kid. He is solid and should be a runaway Calder Trophy candidate (if not for Patrick Kane, the runaway winner) with his performance leading the Montreal Canadiens to the aptly titled “Beasts of the East” this season.
But has the pressure gotten to Price in the second round? I could have asked that question during the first round against Boston, yet I sat back and watched as Price pulled out arguably his best performance of the playoffs, shutting down the surging, stubborn Bruins in Game 7.
And again, don’t get me wrong, the kid’s good, but the Philadelphia Flyers are not in the same cuddly category as the Bruins were. Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Joffrey Lupul are not Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Glen Metropolit, and David Krejci reincarnate.
Far from it. They can hit harder, skate faster, driver harder to the outside, and here’s the kicker: they bury their chances.
OK, so I’m reiterating already known facts and stats that every sports writer in the world has said 10 times before. Yet those sports writes don’t seem to give Price any slack.
Granted, as the playoffs go on, a goaltender and his team should become better and better with each round. Since that is the standard, it becomes obvious that the critics and the boo-birds in the stands will call out those players who don’t rise to the occasion and seize the moment.
Despite Price’s recent performances and the pressure that may be mounting on his shoulders, he’s only 20 years old.
In hockey-mad Montreal, it is only normal for the press and fans to criticize players when they go through rough waters and praise them when they do well. But let’s get one thing straight: Price can only do so much.
Head coach Guy Carbonneau has reiterated many times during these playoffs that Price is not counted on to be a savior. There are 18 other players who need to pull their weight and, in many games, they have only done it for 20-40 minutes.
Take the Pittsburgh Penguins into consideration. If they go on to win the Stanley Cup this season, they will be the first team since the dynastic Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s to have won the Cup with sub .900 save percentage goaltending.
How can they do that? Simple, the rest of the team pulls their weight to take any pressure off the goalie. Even though the Penguins have superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, they still show up every night as a team.
Just as a savior comes to help people in times of trouble, those people need to simply believe.
And in the hockey world, they play with their hearts on their sleeves.
Show up every night.
And doubt not.
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