While everyone was reveling in Halak’s shutout last night, I can think of two people who weren’t very pleased to say the least. First is Roberto Luongo, for obvious reasons, and the second is Carey Price.
There’s this perception out there that goalies don’t get along with their backups. Not having mind reading capabilities, I don’t know if that’s true but I can easily see why there wouldn’t be much love between the two. I don’t know what type of relationship Price and Halak have but I can imagine that on a personal level that shutout had to hurt for Price. Last night everything was about Halak. The guy who only a few months ago was just “the other goalie” earned himself huge praise last night and the starting postion at least until further notice. Apparently after last night’s game Henri Richard went so far as to say that he had never seen better goaltending except from Jacques Plante. Wow.
That has to hurt just a little bit for Price. While the crowd was screaming Halak’s name, he had to be just a little hurt, disappointed, saddened, maybe even angered that he wasn’t the one in nets getting crowd’s undying support. Don’t forget, since he became a Hab he has been touted as the next Patrick Roy. It was supposed to be Price who was going to lead this team to their 25th Stanley Cup. Now he’s been relegated to the benches and, at least for last night, no one was thinking about him at all.
I’m not trying to create a goalie controversey here. Quite the opposite. I think just because Halak has earned the startup spot doesn’t mean that Price is doomed. He can recover. I think Price has two options right now. He can sit there on the bunch and mope or he can work hard to get the startup job back. I think and really hope, that he will chose the latter (not that I want to take anything away from Halak. It just hurts to see both goalies not performing well). While last night had to be brutal for Price, I think he’ll end up a lot better for it in the long run. If anything, this year has shown us that he is not necessarily a bad goalie, but that he’s a goalie who needs to work on the mental aspect of his game. Price is still a young guy (even in the world of hockey) and he’s got a lot of growing up to do – whether it’s learning to handle the pressure better* or learning to bounce back from a tough run of games. But he can do it. I believe in him and until he gets things worked out, I believe that Halak will help get the job done for the Habs.
* While I believe that there’s been way too much pressure heaped on Price, he doesn’t really have much of a choice but to learn how to deal with it if he wants to stay here.