On Price...

Local sports journalism isn’t known for its objective opinion. When your local Habs journalists venture into editorialism they will never jump into the pool. In the effort of self preservation they will only dip their toes in to take the temperature. How awkward would it be for a journalist travelling with the team to be publicly questioning the merit of the team’s franchise goaltender’s salary? Very awkward. Or how about reporting on a coach who has lost the room but who has the full support of his GM? Very awkward. Sometimes these Habs reports seem like they have been written by the player agents and handed to the journalist with an envelope of coupons to Hooters. And they oblige, feeding us reports that black is a darker shade of white.

Well let me give you the straight truth. It might sting a little for those who still see a darker shade of white.

Price has been overvalued, is overpaid, and is mediocre.

Carey Price has an average annual salary of $6.5M/year currently making him the 3rd highest paid goaltender in the league. He is the highest paid player on the Canadiens. These facts beg the $6.5M question - what has he achieved to deserve that salary? A simple question but I will wait here while the Carey Price Fan Club digs up the statistics from the 2010/2011 season. The only season Carey cracked the top 10 in GAA and SA%. A season in which he was greatly insulated with Jacques Martins’ choking defensive system.

When was the last time Carey Price stole a game for your Habitants? Boone will tell you he hasn’t had to steal games this year but that false logic won’t fly here. Every Habs loss and OTL was an opportunity for Price to steal. Price has only won one playoff series in five attempts. His playoff numbers have been less than mediocre and worse than his regular season statistics. And maybe I shouldn’t mention the year Halak stole the hearts of Montreal and the #1 spot handed to Price. Or maybe I shouldn’t mention that Halak’s NHL career numbers are marginally better than Price’s. Eller, you say? The Habs could have easily traded Price instead of Halak and we would still be blessed with Eller and arguing about Halak’s salary. Price’s career NHL regular season stats are mediocre by any measure. His salary should be too.

What is more troublesome is how entrenched Price seems to be in this organization. He is the Habs marketing golden boy. Since day one the organization has treated him like a sensitive rich kid. They have pampered, coddled and insulated him from bad press, angry fans and overachieving backup goaltenders; not on merit but on potential. But the fans are growing more restless with every game. We are winning, yes, but despite Carey Price. We are still waiting for his potential to be realized.

I can confidently say that we will never win the Stanley Cup with Carey Price as our number one. He does not have the ability to elevate his game when we need him the most. His style is effective for the lazy goaltender. Appear big, go down into the butterfly and cover as much net as possible. That is very effective when your defense are blocking shots and keeping their assignments. Open man in the slot? Price goes down, the puck goes high, the goal light goes on. Remember that run and gun Pittsburgh game? Ottawa? Toronto?

The reason Halak garnered the adoration of Montreal was the way he fought to save pucks. He was focused, zoned in, and would do ANYTHING to stop that puck despite his limited skill set... he overachieved. That year Halak proved without a doubt that he could steal an entire playoff series. I’m not suggesting that Halak is an amazing goaltender, I am simply using him to gain proper perspective on Price. I would love to have Price fighting for the number one on the Montreal Canadiens but for $2.5M - $3M.

The numbers don’t lie. Price is mediocre and is overpaid but I for one won’t tell you not to argue otherwise. I encourage respectful debate because after all, as fans, we want the same thing

Authored/Posted by: deanresin @ habbits.ca on Fri. April 12th, 2013 3:10 am