After braving the challenge of easing the loss of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price now must justify his massive six-year, $39 million contract. That’s a lot for any goalie in any town to stomach, but Price will face even more heat since he’s the No. 1 goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. So he can he handle that pressure?
There are pros and cons to Price’s situation that make it a fascinating question.
On the bright side, Price finished 2011-12 strong. After a dicey first three months, Price had fabulous individual numbers once 2012 began. He’ll likely benefit from a stable franchise environment after last season’s fractured behind-the-scenes mess. It’s also helpful to have a defensive taskmaster like Michel Therrien behind the bench considering the fact that his best moments came when Jacques Martin was in charge – and not on the verge of being fired.
The bad news is that while the suits were altered drastically this summer, the guys wearing the Habs sweaters are largely the same. If last season was the simple result of a weak roster and not a fluke/manifestation of deep organizational dysfunction, it could be another long season for the few “elites” on the team. Price will carry the heaviest load of them all if that’s the case.
Price went fifth overall in 2005 and did usurp Halak in the former front office’s minds, so it’s not like he hasn’t shouldered a heavy burden before. Still, he might need to evoke Patrick Roy – as many locals seemingly hope any top goalie will – to brave the 2012-13 season and give the Habs a chance to be a surprise contender.
Offseason Report: Montreal Canadiens
Roundup: Habs re-up with Geoffrion, Pens sign Strait
It’s Montreal Canadiens day on PHT
What can the Habs expect from Michel Therrien?
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.