A Different Outlook: Why Carey Price’s Injury IS The Problem

Carey Price is the MVP of the Canadiens and without him, they haven't been able to hold on.  Photo: Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports

Carey Price is the MVP of the Canadiens and without him, they haven’t been able to hold on.
Photo: Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports

As you can read from the title, this is a completely different outlook on the recent Canadiens struggles and why Carey Price’s lower-body injury IS the main problem, and not what every Habs twitter coach thinks it is.

The Situation

At the time of Price’s first lower-body injury, Mike Condon became the main man as the Canadiens carried along their hot streak by going 5-2-2 while the reigning NHL MVP was missing. Price then returned to the lineup with a spark going 3-0 before leaving the game early against the Rangers in New York. It seems to be that Price may have re-aggrevated his previous injury when stretching out for a save after originally injuring himself while stepping on a puck in warm ups before a tilt with the Oilers. Does this mean that Carey Price is now “injury prone”? I don’t think so, I believe this is just some terrible luck that occurred and now the Habs have had to face the music with a tough stretch of games ahead. It was then announced that Price would be out indefinitely and could be about for a few months as the severity of the injury was yet to be determined. Leaving Habs fans in despair it was time for rookie Mike Condon to step up and take the reigns in a very high pressure situation in a hockey market like Montreal.

On November 30th, the Habs were comfortably sitting at top of the Atlantic Division with 39 points, 10 points higher than the second place Ottawa Senators. It then went downhill from there. Out of 14 games in December, the Canadiens were victorious in only three, losing on the road and at home to division rivals and teams on the west coast. This trend continued currently into January as the Habs closed out the month winning just three of 11 games this time around. Doing the math, the Habs have won just SIX of their past 25 games without Carey Price in the net, also finding the ability to score goals very challenging.

What’s Going On

With many stories taking place around the media in Habs land, the fanbase are just wondering what happened to the the team that started the season 9-0-0 and was on track to be contending for the cup. Lots of twitter GMs say to fire the coach right away, as Marc Bergevin has already dismissed saying that Michel Therrien is the guy for at least the rest of the season. Although, I believe that the coaching is not the case. I believe the main reason why the Habs are slumping this hard is strictly because of their most valuable player, Carey Price’s long-term injury. I believe and always will believe that the team’s performance depends on Carey Price, because of the confidence of having the best goalie in the world between the pipes. Just like if Alex Ovechkin was out injured with the Capitals, or if Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane were out for the BlackHawks, their style of play would be completely affected. It would make no sense how the Habs were firing on all cylinders at the beginning of the season scoring over 3 goals per game, and now drying up to a measly one goal per game, sometimes not even. It clearly depends on who is in between the pipes, even though Condon has done a superb job. I can personally tell in Montreal’s defensive zone for instance, their well-known solid defensive system that HAS worked over the past few seasons isn’t working anymore, as stats say they are turning the puck over more often, leaving the danger areas more open as well. A prime example would be Brandon Dubinsky’s goal on Tuesday night, as he sat in the slot with the puck for more than two seconds before firing it top corner. These simple mistakes are essentially losing the Canadiens crucial games, as the division is so tight that every game is a needed two points.

So my theory is, the Canadiens performance mainly DEPENDS on Carey Price or who is in the net. It supports the classic “Therrien defensive system” which then translates to an effective offensive, getting pucks in deep while also keeping possession of the puck, maintaining a strong Corsi rating which the Habs actually have done well so far this season, being ranked 4th in the league in CF% with 53.4% in even strength play, which statistically speaking should mean the team is doing well, but that’s obviously not the case.

Is a trade imminent? I think Bergevin should look for a top 6 player, and make a deal. To gain value, you have to give up some value in today’s league. I am anticipating Price’s return IF he returns this season, as this will show how deep the Habs really are. Analytically speaking the Habs are doing decent and well enough for a playoff spot, but will the All-Star break be beneficial for the Canadiens, we will see.

Go Habs Go.

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2 Responses to A Different Outlook: Why Carey Price’s Injury IS The Problem

  1. Kane was was leadin the NHLnin points when he hurt his clavicle last year and missed the final 2 months of the season. Blackhawks did just fine without him. Then again, they’re the Blackhawks and have a real coach.

    Colton January 28, 2016 at 2:05 pm Reply
    • You take out Kane, they’re fine. You take out Kane and Toews at the same time, and things would change.

      Michael Gomez January 28, 2016 at 8:27 pm Reply

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