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Carey Price: The Lone Employee With 21,000 Bosses

Kevin van Steendelaar@@LeTirEtLeButAnalyst IApril 24, 2009

MONTREAL- APRIL 22:  Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens stretches out to make a glove save during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on April 22, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-1 winning the series 4-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender, Carey Price, had his postseason physical and final press conference with the Montreal media this afternoon before heading off for the summer.

"I’m not very happy about the way things ended off," the 21-year-old net minder said after the Boston Bruins swept the Canadiens out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 

"It’s going to leave a real sour taste in our mouths for the rest of the summer."

 

What was supposed to be a celebratory, 100th Anniversary, season turned into a disastrous one for the Canadiens both on and off the ice.

 

Price was asked if Montreal was where he wanted to be playing.

 

"Absolutely. It’s a great place to play when things are going well. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of," Price said. "It’s not so much fun when it’s going rough. It’s something that I’ve never been used to."

 

Last season, Price was a very relaxed and calm player both on the ice and in the dressing room.

 

This season, he struggled after returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out of action for most of January.

 

There was wide speculation that Price, who lived on his own while in Montreal, spent too much time enjoying the Montreal nightlife.  His emotions clearly showed in the dressing room where he was sometimes in near tears and even once tossed his equipment bag across the floor.

 

In any other NHL city, it might go without notice, but Price plays in the hub of the hockey world.  When it comes to the playoffs, the teeth and claws of the Montreal fans and media are at their sharpest.

 

Price clearly did not play his absolute best in all four games against Boston, but unfortunately the majority of the Canadiens' fans, especially those in attendance at the Bell Centre, felt he was the one to blame.

 

"I wasn’t trying not to win," he said. "It’s in my nature to try hard. It’s a bit frustrating for myself."

 

Price noted that this is a team sport and the blame can't be put just on one individual.

 

"There are 19 other guys dressed up every time we step out the ice. It’s something that I will have to learn that I can’t put all the frustration in myself."

 

The Bruins scored four goals on Price on Wednesday night, none of which were clear errors on Price's part.

 

The fans at the Bell Centre felt otherwise and, as in game three, directed their frustration on the young goalie.

 

After Price made a routine save in the second period, the fans cheered in mockery.

 

"We had people turning on us in our own rink. I'm 21-years-old, I've never gone through anything like this before."

 

Price responded by waving his arms in the air to acknowledge them.

 

"I thought it was a way of expressing myself," he said.

 

"I probably could have held my composure a bit more. To be honest I used that particular gesture to remind people that booing doesn’t always help, but I guess I could have gone in another direction."

 

Canadiens' forward Tomas Plekanec added, " He’s young and is learning. I think the crowd was pretty tough on him and he didn’t deserve that."

 

Price's response to the "cheering" crowd was reminiscent of Hall of Famer Patrick Roy's reaction in his final game as a Canadien.

 

When Price joined the Canadiens roster last season, many fans and media alike compared him to Roy.  From the get-go, Price warned them not to get their expectations too high.

 

"Ever since the Calder Cup and the World Jrs, I’ve had such high expectations put on myself," he said.

 

"I’d like to meet all those but sometimes it’s just not possible. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting put too high on a pedestal, or getting thrown under the bus too much."

 

Price was also asked if the large volume of media attention that he receives affects his play.

 

"It’s part of the position here, " he said knowing of the successes and failures of prior Canadiens goalies.

 

"I’ve seen other goaltenders go through similar situations here. It’s what makes it so much fun.  When things are going so well, it’s so great and all the pressure is worth it."

 

Many critics, both professional and non-professional, feel Price is already a bust.

 

Most of those people fail to realize that several goaltenders, including Martin Brodeur and Ken Dryden, did not begin to reach their level of excellence until they were a couple years or older than Price is now.

 

It can be argued that Canadiens' GM Bob Gainey, has rushed Price into the media spotlight too fast.

Gainey continues to stand by his decision of sticking with Price and Jaroslav Halak.

After the game four press conferences, Gainey noted how former Los Angeles Kings' No.1 pick Darryl Sydor was booed out of Los Angeles after five years, only to find success in Dallas.

Price is still contemplating what he plans to do for the next five months, but concluded the press conference with an interesting analysis;

"It’s never easy for anybody to face the music no matter what job you are in," he said.

"If things aren’t going well ,you know you’re boss is going to give it to you. Unfortunately for me, my boss is 21,000 people."