After coming to training camp 28 pounds lighter and spending most of his summer in Northern B.C. fishing and hunting, it seemed like Carey Price was ready for a long season.
Many people started doubting if Price was the ‘go-to’ guy after last year’s playoffs.
Although mediocre at times, he seemed at the top of his game in the Boston series, but the Flyers series was a total disaster for him.
He came back motivated, refreshed, and wanted to prove his critics wrong.
Has losing weight helped? Price seems to be quicker, especially moving post to post. His teammates had commented about his poor eating habits and fitness, but Price came to training camp in much better shape and with an even better attitude.
Was fatigue really a factor in Price’s demise in last year’s playoffs? Apparently it was, and Price decided to relax this summer in his hometown. Maybe that has helped and he won’t be drained come playoff time.
Price has been great this season, and there is no doubt he is going to carry the Canadiens to the playoffs. He has proved that he is the franchise goalie at the age of 21. He still struggles with handling the puck and lacks communication with his defensemen, which has been evident at times, but that will change as he gains more experience.
What makes Price the future of the franchise? The biggest element is how calm and collected he is—maybe even too calm at times. But he has proved he does not get intimidated and knows how to deal with pressure.
The World Juniors, the Calder Cup, Game Seven against the Bruins—Price has played his best in the games that matter the most. That’s what makes him the franchise goalie.
When it comes to goaltending, the Habs have always been fortunate. A prime example is their current situation, with both Price and Halak between the pipes. These two make the most underrated goaltending tandem but are probably the best in the league.
The question is: does Carbonneau split the duties between the two or pick one as the starter? It has been pretty obvious that Price is the No.1 goalie, but should he be playing more games like Brodeur, Kiprusoff, and Nabokov, to name a few? Price is on pace to play 50 games, but if he is to be effective and be the main guy he needs to play more games.
So what to do with Halak, who has the potential to be a starter on any other team? The consensus seems to be that Halak could be good trade bait at the deadline for the missing piece that would make the Canadiens a contender.
For now, Price is the man and he has shown he deserves to be the starter. Halak will have to wait for his chance but the odds seem to be against him if Price keeps up his play.