I’ve seen a couple pre-season games in my day. They’re usually terrible with only a few roster players on each side playing. Even then, the players who are in the game are rusty from four months off. It is however a good opportunity to see a few young players who you might not have seen before play in your team’s sweater before they trade it in for their minor league jersey of choice. Either way, its a terrible way to judge how your season will go. I thought that way before last night’s game – and I still believe it.
I considered staying home to watch the game, but in the end didn’t. I love this team as much as the next guy, but win or lose – last night was a pre-season game. I’m not sure I’ll watch any of the games until the final pre-season game, which is likely to have almost all regulars in the lineup. The truth is, whether Montreal scored 10 goals or Price let in 10, it simply doesn’t matter. Personally, I was much more excited about the prospect of being at the Jays game with Jose Bautista on the verge of hitting his 50th home run, and prospect Kyle Drabek making his first start in front of the home fans. The baseball game didn’t go so hot. Neither did the hockey game. Frankly, with both the Jays and Mariners eliminated from the playoffs – neither game mattered a lick.
I understand that the optics are bad. Trust me, everyone in the Habs organization was hoping to see Carey make a good impression in his first game after the Halak deal. The 4 goals on 10 shots performance is as poor as it gets. It still doesn’t matter though.
That is what I wish the fans of this team could understand. There are those few who are so irrational in their assessment of this club that they’ll openly boo their goalie in the first pre-season game of the year. Can you imagine anywhere other than Toronto and Montreal where this would happen? I understand being disappointed after months with no hockey to satiate the masses but how about some context for cripes sake? If Carey can’t stink in a pre-season game what are his chances for making it out of the actual season?
There isn’t a goalie on Earth that could live up to the expectations that Habs fans have for their goalie. Always win. Never give up a goal. Its not possible! I recognize that there is a middle ground, and that Carey’s performance was particularly bad – but how about his defensemen? Was anyone booing the guys who were playing in front of him? I watched the highlights. Shouldn’t we all be booing Weber’s atrocious give-away, and subsequent brain-cramp to hang Price out to dry? How about the veteran Jaro Spacek who coughed the puck right up to arguably the most dangerous guy in the entire league (in that situation): Patrice Bergeron?
They all made mistakes. Its ok. It doesn’t matter because the pre-season is for making mistakes and shaking out the cobwebs. Hal Gill had a great point last night. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) “we’re not supposed to, but we hear it. We’re having a tough enough time with the Bruins, without having to deal with our own fans. It effects the whole team.”
It is amazing because in the end, when you hear a veteran like Gill speak you realize – the fans are a part of the team. They play a role – for better or worse, and right now you can either be part of the problem, or part of the solution. For fans, that means chilling out and enjoying some hockey that includes some potential future Habs. It means taking the good and the bad in stride. The sun will rise tomorrow. Mistakes will be made. Its the pre-season!