Excuse me, Mr. Philly fan; you can take down that sign now.
If there was any excuse for an abrupt second-round exit last spring, I don't remember it. I actually have made a point to forget it. Because that was then and this is now—the Montreal Canadiens have the best one-two netminding tandem in the NHL.
Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak Are Both Young Netminders
Youth is the basis of any hockey team. It's in the future that hockey teams try to build their teams for future championships. If they have the chance to win a championship when they are young, then it's a bonus.
Take the 1980s Edmonton Oilers. They invested in their future with Hall-of-Famers Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, and Paul Coffey, and they delivered early and often in their young careers—before they were even 30.
Halak's message in his strong play so far this season and in seasons past has been that if Price (and before that Cristobal Huet) is not up to the task, he will take the load and carry it. And carry the load he can—as a future No. 1 netminder in the NHL. But when Price is anchoring the net, the Canadiens are still in a good situation.
It's a win-win with Price and Halak.
Price and Halak Are Only Going to Get Better with Time and By Playing in a Tough Hockey Market
If anything has bothered a goalie in the past about playing in Montreal, it's the attention and the demand to bring a Stanley Cup to the most storied franchise in hockey history. Jacques Plante felt it—he delivered. Ken Dryden felt it—he delivered. Patrick Roy felt it—he delivered.
But in the past, Jose Theodore felt it—and was shipped. Cristobal Huet felt it—he was shipped.
Now Carey Price feels it, but he seems to thrive under it. Nothing fazes the calm netminder; whether it be the nagging, annoying press questions or the boisterous fans, Price stays calm, cool, and collected.
And as time goes on, he will only get better. Coming into this season, Price has already improved vastly, losing weight and becoming quicker and more focused. It is only going to help his case as a Canadiens netminder.
As the seasons wears on, these two Canadiens netminders will only get better and learn from each other. It's an exciting time in the Montreal net, for the first time since Patrick Roy departed.
And we all remember what Roy did in Montreal.
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