Habs Looked Good In Most Ways

I can hear them now. Everyone who said keeping Carey Price was a mistake. The smugness dripping with smugness. The “I told you so’s” surely ringing throughout the land.

We’ve been waiting all summer for this first (albeit preseason) game, not only because we missed hockey and the Habs, but also to see how Carey Price would play after the team dealt Jaroslav Halak to the Blues and made the young fellow big man on campus.

We wanted Price to be sensational, even in this first game. Maybe especially in this first game. We wanted him to dive and kick out and snap pucks out of the air and have the Bell Centre faithful standing and smiling and asking “Jaroslav Who?”

But then, pucks found their way past his glove side, a screened shot from the point, a couple of dekes he couldn’t react quickly enough to. The jeers started in the building, we begin to think it could be a long year, and it’s only the first preseason game.

What are we to make of this? Montreal outshot the Bruins 38-16, dominated often, the young guys, especially Louis Leblanc and Aaron Palushaj, played well. The puck rang off two posts late in the game that could have really changed things.

It was just one aspect of the game that fell short tonight.

Random Notes:

I thought I’d heard that Benoit Brunet was being replaced in the RDS booth, but there he was.

Jaroslav Spacek gave up the puck on a Canadiens power play, allowing Patrice Bergeron to skate in alone and fool Price, thereby twisting the knife just a little deeper.

Maxim Lapierre converted a beautiful Tomas Plekanec pass, and then Plekanec did the same with a Mike Cammalleri feed.

Bruins kept Tuukka Rask in for the entire game, probably because they could feel the thing slipping away and didn’t want to risk things.

15 thoughts on “Habs Looked Good In Most Ways”

  1. I think it was a mistake to start Price tonight. I think they should have started Auld or Sanford, and let the fans get their hockey fix, and let Carey ease his way into the preseason. You knew the fans were going to be out for blood, after the Halak trade, and it was all types of added pressure that Carey didn’t need tonight. He had to be feeling the extra pressure tonight. There are plenty of preseason games to get Price warmed up for the season, but instead he had to be thrown to the wolves right off the bat. I know he has been coddled now for a few years, but tonight, in my opinion was a mistake on Martin’s part.

  2. Makes a good deal of sense, Jesse. Seems like Price has been mishandled several ways over the past few years. What a thing to happen – four goals in half a game (3 on five shots). The one thing we didn’t want to see happen. It’ll be a real delight when he comes out next time and plays great.

  3. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize the sky is not falling. Sure, Price wasn’t spectacular but shit happens.

    And it’s best this happens in preseason so he can put this little nightmare behind him. This is all part of the development process and crapping the bed and having the fans go bananas on you is all part of that wonderful experience. This is Montreal. What do you expect?

    Let’s put this into perspective. This was a preseason practice between two half-teams composed of NHLers and NHL wannabes. A televised scrimmage. Learn from it yes. But panic? No.

    Price has to learn to live through this kind of stuff and he will be stronger if he survives it. Halak had a bad day at the office too in his debut for the Blues. He too will have to learn to cope with that.

    Price has the ability. And the stage is now set for him to carry the torch. But, if he has confidence issues then he better sort them out right away.
    Ninety per cent of goaltending is what goes on in the head. Now that this is out of his system the challenge for Price is to remain positive, move on and start winning.

    The way I see it, this game is going to be pretty meaningless by the time we get into March. There’s lots of hockey yet to be played.
    It would have been nice if Price came out at his best but that will come, hopefully.

    It’s not easy being a goalie in Montreal at the best of times. And last night was definitely not the best of times. Price can console himself by remembering that even the greatest of the greats faced similar challenges…
    “How would you like a job where when you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?” – Jacques Plante

  4. Danno, you’re absolutely right. The problem is – everyone’s been waiting to see what happened after Halak was dealt which was a debate to begin with, and this happens. NHL.com said most of the goals weren’t his fault but for me, only the shot from the point which was screened wasn’t stoppable. The first one – he left his glove side wide open and Horton saw it and shot. It was very stoppable. The other two were dekes, and an NHL goalie must stop dekes. The great goalies do it all the time. But I’m not on Price. My post was strictly about how everyone will now say “I told you so.” You’re really right: it’s just a preseason game. But I kinda wanted a fairy tale, like he comes out and plays just great. And until he does play great, fans are going to wonder and worry if it’s going to be a long season.
    Having said all this, the team in front of him looked impressive. Plekanec was great, and everyone was skating. And we completely outshot them. You see Rask out there and this is what we want Price to be like.

  5. Dennis, it’s preseason, so let Price get the rustiness out of the way early. Fans jeering him though, that’s not going to help him.

    When you own the team, have a stern conversation about putting down your own team, please.

  6. for price to say ‘there’s nothing they can do’ is just wrong. His teammates need to take this message and go out and play to the best of their ability, play as a team. Its only pre-season and the team will be much different at game 1 of season. I’m not worried. Price had jitters but who wouldn’t in front of 21000 rabid fans. That’s scary for most people. He’s right that people should just chill. He just doesn’t need to actually say it with his outside voice. That was just stupid.

  7. Mayo, I agree with you. He is right on one hand but saying it with his outside voice may not be very helpful. Some things are just better left unsaid, especially when he makes cheeky remarks like this one:

    “Nobody’s ever come up to me and said, ‘You suck’ to my face. I don’t think anybody would ever do that. It’s just that when you get in a crowd, people are a lot more brave.”

    I wish he would learn to be strong, silent and stoic in the face of such adversity.

    Easy to say. But hard to do.

    Interestingly, a poll being conducted by TSN has two thirds of the voters saying Price what right to say what he did.

  8. If we wanna take to booing for the game last night, how about the D corps? Spacek was looking old and tired. I’m assuming he’ll get his rhythm along with the rest of the team, but I didn’t want to keep him this year and I sure don’t want him next year.

    If Price was lights out now, then when he starts to look merely human during the regular season, will the fans be less likely to rough him up since he played so well in meaningless exhibition games? Agree with Danno tho that Price’s mental rebound is the key here. Hope he focuses on what his teammates are saying and not the boobirds.

    There’s a poster somewhere (can’t remember sorry blame the wine NOT my age) who’s got a quote I love about how in Montreal there are only two positions for a goaltender – scapegoat and savior. Seems about right, unfortunately.

  9. Everyone’s being too reasonable. We lost at home to the Bruins, it’s time to panic. If we lose at home to the Senators, we need to rip up all our season tickets in protest. If we lose the season opener to against the Leafs, we’ll have to shut down operations for the year and regroup.

  10. Spacek blew a big one last night, Tyg. I always concentrated on Hamrlik being the old, slow one and it never occurred to me about Spacek. You’re absolutely right.

  11. Dennis, I’ll happily attend any banquet with Canadien Stanley Cup winners. Ideally Lafleur, Robinson and Dryden. I also happily go anywhere I get dinner.

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