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.

Scroll Down For:

    Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

    Leave a comment

    You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

    The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

    As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

    In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

    That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

    Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

    Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

    The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

    So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

    He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

    Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

    1 Comment

    The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

    In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

    Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

    So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

    Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

    Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?

    WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    It’s really happening.

    For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.

    The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.

    Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:

    New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

    Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

    Network: CNBC (Stream online here)

    Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

    Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)