Patience is a hard thing to find nowadays, with all that is happening with the Montreal Canadiens.
The month of January revealed itself to be a tough one, with only two wins so far in eight games. And it does not seem to be getting better, as tonight the crew will face the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur.
The latest loss registered by our dear team was against the St Louis Blues. Two early goals almost cut down the team’s legs but thanks to Benoit Pouliot, they were able to get a point in the standings. It is not worth a celebration of course, but we will take what we can.
The game against St Louis also featured a situation rarely seen by Montreal fans.
An out-of-the-crease incident turned into a brawl along the board between St Louis’ tough guy Cam Janssen and yes, goaltender Carey Price.
Out to play the puck, admittedly really far from his net, Price got ran into by Janssen. Although Roman Hamrlik was already trying to avenge his goaltender, the latter was visibly too upset to let someone else do him justice.
Some might argue that Price’s decision was not justified; as along the board is not his territory.
However, the concept of Price dropping the gloves reflects a bigger issue than his puck control. It is about him getting a hold of the things happening around him.
When this young goaltender first came with the Canadiens, he was perceived as a success driven and determined player.
The records he has brought with him from the World Juniors and the AHL have shown a motivated goaltender, who would eventually justify every bit of his first round selection.
His first season did not disappoint, as he brought the team to the first place in the East after Cristobal Huet’s departure.
However, the road is long and there are bumps on the way that one will have to learn to deal with. His second season was full of off-ice controversies, and an injury did not help as his performance started to drop.
Since then, he seems to be going with the flow; wherever it is taking him.
Here is the reality though; Halak brings the wins, which is one thing no one can deny. Price’s fans have come up with many excuses explaining this. We have heard about Halak playing weaker teams. We have also heard about the Habs playing better when he is in net.
No matter, it is quite a cliché, but Price can rely on himself alone to pull him out of this mess. Luckily for him, some still believe in his potential and see him as the goalie of the future. But as we have said before, time and statistics are against him.
We can argue all we want, but a true number one goalie can steal a few wins once in a while.
Meanwhile, the goalie situation is not getting any better.
With the half season already passed and the playoffs race on the way, Jacques Martin has not given up yet on his musical chair system.
The "win to play" strategy might have brought rewards earlier in the season; but if the team makes the playoffs (if!), Martin would want to know who he can truly rely on.
But I am just saying!
Finally, Price could use some more grit and handle his game the way he handled the Janssen situation.