Habs Fans: Are We Too Much?
Photo: Graham Hughes, Canadian Press
Habs fans are passionate about everything to do with the organization. This passion can lead to ridiculous comments, trade proposals, wanting a player out of town and full on bashing of an individual. With the loss against the Islanders, these people came out in full force. Not only is it disgusting to see/read but it can be pretty embarrassing how some can be “in love” with a player one day and then if he has an off game, he is in their doghouse and should pack his bags.
The Carey Price comments and tweets around the social media universe pinned Canadiens fans against each other as they argued about who is to blame and what occurred out on the ice. Price is Montreal’s number one goalie and the organization has the confidence in him. They gave him a nice long-term deal to prove that fact this past summer and even did with the old regime keeping him instead of playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak. Price’s numbers have taken a hit in some games this season but is that the fault of just one man or do we need to look at the bigger picture here? The answer: the bigger picture. When we have a team sport like hockey, there is more that goes on than just the amount of goals that end up in the back of the net. Yes, this number is crucial in how you finish but it is important to look at how these goals transpire and the play of the team as a whole. I am not going to sit here and say that Price has been fantastic in every single game he has been in between the pipes for this year, because he hasn’t. Players have off games, they struggle. On the other hand, Carey Price has not been given enough effort and defensive coverage that he should be receiving from his teammates in recent outings. The Toronto game that Montreal lost 6-0 was hard to watch for a number of reasons. The team was flat from the get go and it did not get better as the game ticked away. However, that game caused the Canadiens to go on a winning streak. The winning streak ended after 5 games but the point streak continued to push on and Price was a part of that as well as Budaj when Carey was ill. Then you look at the Penguins game where both teams had offence turned up on high, yet the defence as a whole was still mind boggling in their decision making and coverage. I get that we want Price to steal some games, we want him to make those huge saves. That’s fine to expect that, but to say that he is completely at fault for a match, that blame is severely misplaced.
There will always be goals that goaltenders want back because they felt they truly should have had them. Both Price and Budaj have had that on many occasions this season as well as other goalies around the league. If we look at the latest game against New York, the Canadiens gave them space on the powerplay to capitalize on more than one occasion. On their third goal, the puck bounces right to Grabner for a perfect chance that he was simply not going to miss. They potted a few more in the third period to clinch victory.
Photo: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
According to Moffat, Therrien pointed to the 4th Islanders goal as one Carey wants back and blamed breakdowns in defensive coverage for others. You watch the replays and you can see that right away. Then there were other instances where Price made the saves to bail out his teammates; on the giveaways, the odd man rushes. It was just an overall bad game for the team as a whole on that side of the ice. Price does not have to make highlight reel saves to keep his team in a game. It’s every little save that we should appreciate. Just because your number one goalie is in net, does not mean that you can take a shift off and forget your assignments. The Habs gave up far too many quality shots and too many scoring chances against the Islanders. They did not deserve the win and their point streak ended. It is not the end of the world, Price does not suck and we don’t need a new goaltender. You’re mad, you’re frustrated and you want results but to absolutely rip on one guy like that, what are you doing? These players need their fans to rally behind them and help move forward to the next game. Not sit here and punch their ticket out to another market. Let’s be real.
The team as a whole has to be better. Price may be in a funk, however, he will bounce back. He needs his teammates to work on their defensive zone play so that they are not skating around like a chicken with its head cut off. This team will regroup. The Canadiens are not first in the East because their goaltender sucks. They are first in the East because the team as a whole picked up their play after a tough loss. They have battled to stay at the top. The Habs have played 23 games in this short 48-game season. Plenty of hockey to be played. There is no reason to jump off the wagon after being defeated in regulation after a great streak. There is no reason to toss a franchise player to the side because he deserves much more respect than that.
Emotions get the best of us sometimes, we have to realize that the biggest critic of a player is himself. Price will prevail, he is our rock.