Carey Price matures, takes his responsibility as Montreal's #1 goalie seriously

careyprice4.jpgBeing the starting goalie for the Montreal Canadiens could be viewed as one of the toughest jobs in the NHL. There’s pressure to be the absolute best in the world game in and game out or else you’ll be run out of town like a witch would in Colonial America.

For a guy like Carey Price, the hill to climb to be appreciated fully is even steeper after being relegated to the bench last year by Jaroslav Halak’s stellar play and still dealing with the scornful eye of some fans for an image that was perceived to be that of a carousing playboy not taking his job seriously.

With Halak out of town, Montreal is Price’s town to make it or break it and according to Dave Stubbs of The Montreal Gazette, his playboy partying days may be out of the headlines for good as he’s matured into taking his job seriously now.

In Kelowna, B.C., Price spent part of the summer working with Canadiens goaltending coach Pierre Groulx. Last season, Groulx’s first with the club, was a feeling-out process for both men. This year, Price said, “we’re going to be a lot more detailed.”

“We worked on a lot of technical aspects we wanted to bang out,” he explained of their summer sessions. “This season, we’re going to be more thorough with things.”

There was no need for either to dwell on last season’s statistics. Price was 13-20-5 with a pedestrian save percentage of .912, a spectator in 13 of the Canadiens’ final 15 regular-season games and a participant in only four of their 19 playoff matches, three times appearing only in relief.

The running gag last season at head coach Jacques Martin’s media briefings was the question, “Who’s in net tomorrow night?” to which Martin would reply he’d sleep on it, since he believed he had two No. 1 goalies.

“It’s a different scenario this year,” Martin said yesterday through a smile. “Carey is our No. 1 and Alex Auld is going to support him. It’s the situation we’re confident with entering the season.”

It’s encouraging to see Price buckling down and taking his job more serious. His first season in the NHL was brilliant and to see him struggle the way he did the last two years was startling. After all, seeing goalies arrive on the scene hot only to fizzle out shortly thereafter isn’t uncommon in the NHL. To see it happen in Montreal would over-dramatize the situation and turn it into a provincial catastrophe in Quebec.

After all, we’ve seen what happened when photos of Price out drinking and partying did to Montreal, having him burnout completely would only make things seem even more insane than they already are in the hockey-mad city. If Price can ultimately revive his career in the city that’s re-embracing him as their star, it’d make for one heck of a movie script. Playing in Jacques Martin’s defense-centric system can only serve to benefit all the more, but it’s up to Price to determine how bad he wants it.

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    Douglas Murray calls it a career

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    One of the more unique blueliners in recent memory is hanging up his skates.

    Douglas Murray, the big-bodied Swedish rearguard that appeared in over 500 NHL contests, has decided to retire.

    “Thirty general managers do not want me,” Murray told Alftonbladet (translation per Yahoo). “I know that I can still play, but it’s over now.”

    Murray, 36, is best remembered for his time in San Jose, where he used his 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame to become one of the hardest hitters in the league.

    His best years came between 2009-11, when he helped the Sharks advance to a pair of Western Conference Finals, and represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

    Murray also spent time with Pittsburgh and Montreal, before joining German League side Kolner Haie in ’14-15. He also had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames, though things never progressed beyond the professional tryout stage.

    As mentioned above, Murray was a pretty interesting guy. A late bloomer, he was 25 upon making his NHL debut but quickly endeared himself to Shark fans.

    Ivy-league educated, Murray and friends also created a beer dispensing system called the UberTap while at Cornell University.

    A few years ago, Murray was rumored to be dating Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. Murray later shot down the reports, saying he and Nordegren were just friends.

    Goalie nods: Domingue has ‘got to play better’ for Coyotes tonight in Brooklyn

    Louis Domingue
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    Pressure’s on, Louis Domingue.

    Domingue, now Arizona’s No. 1 goalie with Mike Smith (lower body) shelved indefinitely, will get another chance to prove himself when the Coyotes visit the Isles at Barclays on Friday night.

    Things haven’t gone great for Domingue thus far.

    Since coming on in relief of Smith in Ottawa, the 24-year-old has allowed seven goals on 30 shots in just over 36 minutes of action — leaving him with a ghastly .767 save percentage and 11.35 GAA.

    (Not a typo. Eleven. Point. Three. Five.)

    “He’s gotta play better,” coach Dave Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s gotta play better than these two games he’s played. We’ll give him another opportunity, and hopefully he responds.”

    The Coyotes haven’t provided a health update on Smith, who was flown back to Arizona earlier this week to be examined by team doctors. Justin Peters was recalled from the minors to serve as Domingue’s backup and looked sharp in relief of Domingue last night in Montreal, stopping 23 of 24 shots faced.

    As such, Domingue has plenty on the line tonight. Peters is a 30-year-old veteran with over 80 games of NHL experience, so the Coyotes could turn to him if Domingue struggle yet again.

    For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak gets the call in goal.


    Corey Crawford starts yet again for the Blackhawks, who are in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will be in the opposing goal.

    Pekka Rinne, sporting a 2.04 GAA and .934 save percentage thus far, gets the nod as the Preds head to Detroit. Petr Mrazek will be in goal for the Red Wings, after Jimmy Howard played well in a Wednesday win over the Rangers.

    Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all

    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center on October 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    It seems Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all. According to the Chicago Tribune, the veteran Blackhawks defenseman is likely to be in the lineup tonight in Columbus.

    It had previously been reported that Campbell would sit against the Blue Jackets, making way for the return of Trevor van Riemdsyk. Instead, the Tribune believes van Riemsdyk will replace either Michal Kempny or Gustav Forsling, though it’s also possible the ‘Hawks could dress seven defensemen.

    As for winger Marian Hossa, he will definitely not play tonight due to a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday against the Flyers, the same game in which he scored his 500th career goal. Hossa is also questionable for Saturday’s home game against Toronto.

    At this morning’s skate, Jonathan Toews was centering Tyler Motte and Richard Panik, with Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane sticking together on the second line.

    Here’s Coach Q’s scrum from yesterday:

    Tinordi on waivers as his 20-game suspension for PEDs comes to an end

    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Jarred Tinordi #28 of the Arizona Coyotes fights with Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 5-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    With his 20-game suspension finally set to end, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jarred Tinordi has reportedly been placed on waivers.

    Tinordi, 24, was suspended late last season for violating terms of the NHL’s performance-enhancing substances agreement. He said he “did not knowingly take a banned substance,” but accepted the ban and vowed to “work hard towards my return to the ice.” After he misses tonight’s game in Brooklyn, he’ll have served 20 games.

    A former first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, Tinordi has spent most of his pro career in the AHL, though he does have 54 games of NHL experience. The big blue-liner was traded to Arizona in January, part of a controversial three-team swap that saw John Scott, the All-Star, sent to the Habs.

    Tinordi played seven unremarkable games for the Coyotes before he was suspended. He’ll presumably be assigned to their AHL affiliate in Tucson should he clear waivers.

    Related: NHL has ‘no reason to believe…the Canadiens acted inappropriately’ in Tinordi trade