December 8th, 2016, New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri comes surging into Carey Price, sticking out a leg in the collision, trying to intentionally injure the Canadians netminder. Luckily for Price, he did not get injured like the last time the New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider took him out intentionally. This time, the Hart trophy winner had had enough, and decided to punch Palmieri’s back with his blocker numerous times, not only defending himself, but sending a message to the rest of the league saying: goaltender interference will no longer be tolerated. Personally, I’ve noticed something strange with Price since this incident; he has just not been the same Carey Price that won four prestigious individual NHL trophies in the summer of 2015.
Since this encounter with Palmieri, Price has gone through a downward spiral. Only one week later, he gets pulled against the San Jose Sharks on home ice at the Bell Centre. What does he decide to do? Price stares down the bench for a good ten seconds before heading to the locker room, as, not only was he frustrated with his coach’s decision to pull him, but it was also the first time he has been pulled since October 13, 2014, more than two years ago, (O’Leary, 2016).
Now, I am not saying Price is on the verge of losing his starting job as the Canadians number one goaltender, all I am saying is Price is just not the same. After starting the season with record numbers, his play has just fallen massively. Since his emotional outburst versus the New Jersey Devils, Price has gone from first in the league with wins to 13th, and his save percentage numbers have dropped astonishingly to 15th place as well. Carey Price has never seen numbers so low, and with the rise of his ex-teammate Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild), and the likes of other outstanding netminders in Sergei Bobrovsky, Tuuka Rask, Cam Talbot and Matt Murray, the Montreal goaltender is looking rather ordinary.
To top it all off, this week the Habs lost 7-1 to the Minnesota Wild, with Carey wanting to stay the whole game after conceding all 7 goals. He claims that he didn’t want to get pulled again; deciding to tough it out and showing his teammates that even on a bad night, you need to suffer as a team. Coach Michel Therrien respected his decision to play the whole game.
Personally, I remember those days when everyone wanted to trade Price because they thought he was never going to be good enough, especially when Montreal had Jaroslav Halak, who was playing phenomenally. But I think we can all agree that Price has proven himself to be the best goalie in the league, and in my eyes the best player in the world, as he has the ability to steal games single-handedly for his team. My question now is: Is Carey Price fed up of the Canadians inability to win the Stanley Cup, seeing that it is the only trophy he is missing in his cabinet? The answer is yes: I honestly think Price is fed up and just wants to win the Stanley Cup. With two years remaining on his fairly cheap contract, for his irreplaceable presence on the ice, he is obviously going to be asking for a good eight to ten million a year come negotiation time. This means Montreal has two years to win the Cup, because trust me, every team in the NHL is willing to trade for Price and give him the money he deserves. This leaves general manager Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadians organization in a very tough and uncomfortable position, as they would without a doubt love to have Price’s services for the rest of his career.
To conclude, some analysts suggest Price is going through some injury struggles from the contact with Palmieri; others believe that it is a psychological problem, as Price will look to be traded if that is what he has to do to win the Stanley Cup. Others even claim it is a family problem, as Price has potentially lost some valuable hours of sleep due to his new born baby. In the end, no one knows what’s the reason behind Price’s sudden change in play. Everyone has their assumptions and opinions, but at the end of the day, only Carey Price knows what is wrong with Carey Price.
Article by: Brandon Brini
O’Leary, Sean. “Price stares down Habs’ bench after short outing against Sharks”. The Score, December 16, 2016. Accessed January 14, 2017.