I’m going to use this space to talk about a player who (barring catastrophe) will not actually play tonight when the Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators in the penultimate game of the Habs’ regular season (I really don’t get the opportunity to use the term penultimate that often). While the Habs will face a way-to-late-and-puzzlingly-resurgent Ottawa squad in Canada’s national capital tonight, I can’t help but be amazed at the year that Carey Price has had – and wonder what the heck is in store for Habs fans as they watch this 23 year old turn into a superstar before our eyes.
Think back to the Canadiens’ pre-season game against the Bruins on September 22nd 2010. After a 4-2 loss, some fans (and where are they now?) boo’d Price off of the ice after he struggled in the Habs’ first test of the silly season. Price was asked after the game to respond to the boo-birds – which were almost unanimously angered by the off-season decision by Pierre Gauthier to trade Jaroslav Halak. Price handled the situation in his typically calm attitude, saying simply: ” Relax, Chill out. We’ve got lots of time. We’re not winning the Stanley Cup in the first exhibition game.”
Incredibly, the 23 year old had the internal fortitude to stand in front of all of the hockey world, and to say essentially: things are going to be just fine. Price struggled in his next game, getting shelled by the Ottawa Senators en route to a 6-2 loss. Montrealers who thought Gauthier had made a huge mistake were apoplectic.
Of course, we now know – as Paul Harvey was famous for saying – “the rest of the story”. At least we know what the regular season story for Price will be. He will play in the final game of the year – bringing his total for the season to an incredible 72. Though other goalies in the league are having great seasons, Price’s story is one of redemption. Written off prematurely by many in the hockey world, Price’s season has been as good as many of the famous shirts that hang in the Bell Centre’s rafters. There can be no doubt – Carey Price is the Montreal Canadiens best hope for the future.
So today I tip my hat to Carey, and along with many others in the Canadiens’ blogosphere, I say congratulations on a fantastic season, and thank you for rescuing our team on an almost nightly basis.
Go Habs Go!!!