Chill Out: Carey Price Will Lead Montreal to a Party on La Rue Sainte-Catherine

Brendan WalshContributor IFebruary 22, 2011

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 21:  Goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens in goal against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on December 21, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coming into the 2010-2011 NHL season, Jaroslav Halak seemed to have taken control of the starting goaltender position for the Montreal Canadiens with his Patrick Roy-like performance in the playoffs.

Halak stole the show for the eighth-seeded Canadiens, putting the team on his back and carrying them to the Eastern Conference Finals. The future looked to be bright in Montreal, and Halak was set to be the main attraction.

But on Jun. 17, 2010, the Canadiens traded Halak to St. Louis for Jeff Schultz and Lars Eller.

Habs fans were left scratching their heads, wondering why their beloved team would do such a thing. 

The departure of Halak opened the door for Carey Price, the fifth overall pick in 2005, who had been lost in the shadow of Halak's heroics.

Price was coming off a poor 13-20 2010 season, and people were wondering if he could rebound from last season or if the pressure had gotten to him.

What pressure, you may ask?

Athletes are under a ton of pressure to perform each and every night. It takes focus, commitment and a positive mentality to become great and perform at your best.

Multiply these factors by one million if you are the starting goaltender for the 24-time Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens.

It takes a mentally strong person to be able to play in the Bell Centre, a place where your every move is broken down and discussed.

Most players, most recently Brendan Shanahan and Danny Briere, avoid playing in Montreal for that reason—the added pressure that they are under to perform well every night.

Some of the greatest goalies in hockey history have donned the Canadiens sweater including names like Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, and all of these men had to play under immense pressure and when they didn't play well, the fans would not let them forget about it.

Carey Price is no exception.

After giving up four goals on nine shots vs. the hated Boston Bruins in the preseason, Habs faithful booed Price off the ice.

Carey Price is not afraid of this attention, telling fans to "Chill out" after they continued to boo the Canadiens off the ice during the preseason.

This is the kind of mentality and personality you need to have if you want to be successful in Montreal.

Patrick had it. Carey has it.

And now, Carey is looking to match Patrick in something other than personality: Stanley Cup rings. Immediate Stanley Cup rings.

Yes. I said it. Carey Price will lead the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup this season. Now, before all you Leafs fan start your hatred towards this, let's look at the stats.

First off, Price has been the backbone of the Canadiens, with injuries to stars Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Mike Cammalleri.

Montreal is currently sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference and is looking to climb the standings before season's end.

Even with all of those guys in the lineup, if you were to take Carey out of the net, the Canadiens would be fighting it out for supreme golf course position between Toronto, New York and Ottawa.

Carey is 27-20-6, with a 2.42 GAA and six SO. That's six more shutouts than all of last season.

Come the postseason, Price will be the X-factor and although he does not have much NHL playoff experience, he is championship tested.

Price has won numerous championships throughout his young career, including a Calder Cup in 2007 as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he also won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the Calder Cup playoffs MVP, making him the youngest player ever to receive the award.

That same season Price backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Sweden, and was named top goaltender and tournament MVP going 6-0 with two shutouts, a 1.14 GAA and .961 save percentage.

MVPs here, championships there and a wacky personality to go with it. What else do you need?

Well, how about a team that believes in his ability each and every night, no matter what.

"Carey's a great kid, he works hard, [and] he's there every morning to work hard. He's got a great attitude and all the talent in the world to be the best goalie," said Tomas Plekanec.

The team plays hard in front of him, and in return, Carey makes the big save when the team needs it most. 

This year's version of the Montreal Canadiens is a brotherhood. A brotherhood that won't go away easy. Just ask Washington and Pittsburgh.

Carey Price is the centerpiece of this family, and he will be the reason why this season, a 25th banner will hang from the rafters of the NHL's largest arena.

Then, finally, while they are parading down La rue Sainte-Catherine, Habs fans will say, "Jaroslav who?"