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Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price And His Mental Toughness Or Lack Thereof

Montreal Canadiens To put it mildly, Carey Price is the engine that runs the Montreal Canadiens. When he goes, the team goes. And when Carey does not, the team does not. This has been true of Carey and the team since his arrival in 2007. It all began with a great start to his 2006 season with the Tri-City Americans, earning himself the starting position with Team Canada’s World Junior team. After backstopping Team Canada to one of the most memorable gold medals in history, Price’s stock was skyrocketing. By the end of the season, he was hoisting the Calder Cup as league champions of the American Hockey League. Not only did Carey lead his team to the championship, he also did so in MVP fashion by taking home the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the Calder Cup playoffs MVP. At the start of the 2007 season, Price was named to the Canadiens’ roster. This decision did come with a bit of controversy as it was believed that head coach Guy Carbonneau wanted to assign Price to Hamilton and General Manager Bob Gainey stepped in to say that Price would be staying with the team. Through the first half of the season, Price had his ups and downs and spent some time in Hamilton. However, that all changed when Gainey surprised everyone and dealt the teams’ number one goaltender, Christobal Huet, thus naming Carey Price their number one goalie. Montreal was atop the Eastern conference and threatening to make a run to the cup finals for the first time since 1993. The city was abuzz and the team was facing tremendous expectations. Having a 19 year old Carey Price catapulted into this position was a shock to almost all Montreal fans. However, after the deal Carey seemed to get better and better with each start and the fans were put at ease.

In the second round against Philadelphia, things began to come apart for the team and for Carey. While nobody seemed to point the finger directly at Price for his play, it was largely responsible for the team’s early exit. The Bell Centre crowd seemed to allow Price to skate freely on this one due to his age and lack of experience. Heading into Price’s sophomore season, expectations remained high and it was assumed that the team would make another run for the Stanley Cup in what was their centennial season. Price got off to a great start and the team was hot. Although after an ankle injury on December 30th 2008, Carey was forced to miss a month of action. Upon returning, he never seemed to find his groove again and the team stumbled into the playoffs and was swiftly eliminated by the heavily favored Boston Bruins. At the beginning of the current season, questions loomed over Price and whether or not the starting position was a role he could fill. After what many considered to be a rocky start, Price & Halak juggled the position until Price pulled ahead and established himself as the true number one goalie in November.

In only his third season, Carey has seen many ups and downs. The underlying theme in almost all of his downs is usually related to his mental toughness. The Bell Centre faithful expect a lot and are vocal when they do not receive it. With his mental lapses against Philadelphia in the 2nd round of the 2007 season still fresh in the minds of many Hab fans, this is an image that Carey has struggled to shake. In recent weeks, Price has once again displayed a level of play that few goalies around the league can match. He makes saves that brings the crowd to its feet. And usually does so with a bit of swagger that keeps the Bell Centre on its feet. However, even through this physical dominance, questions loom on whether or not his mental toughness has established itself to where it needs to be for the number one goaltender in Montreal. The Canadiens suffered an embarrassing loss in Vancouver early this season which seemed to rattle Carey for weeks. It was reported last year that when Price was benched for the game in Vancouver , this too stuck with him. Carey being a native of British Columbia, it seems that the added pressure he attaches to games can stay with him long after the buzzer sounds. So through this season for the Habs, which has had our usual ups and downs, fans wait each day to see who Coach Martin will have as his starter for that night. Supporters of Price sit idly wondering if each game that Halak starts, the effect that this may have on his confidence. It’s an image that Price should one day shake, however with the added pressure that comes with playing for the Habs, it will not come easy.

In Montreal, it is usually what have you done for me lately? Fans should be patient with Carey when a bad game does happen. His upside is a level of potential that is reserved for the true elite of the league. So here is hoping that the Canadiens buck the trend of recent years and keep our talent in the bleu, blanc et rouge; as opposed to watching them where new colors and go on to greatness.

If you have any comments on this article, please feel free to add them and if you wish to hear more, you can follow me on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/chisslerr.

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Discussion

3 comments for “Carey Price And His Mental Toughness Or Lack Thereof”

  1. First of all, welcome. But I still don’t agree, I know he’s got the talent, but i think the bleu-blanc-rouge should have keep Halak and Huet while Price was in Hamilton for 3 years. Look at Marc-André Fleury how his many stay with the Pens of Wilkes-barre were benefic. Good blog!

    Posted by b.chandlerNo Gravatar | December 8, 2009, 5:56 pm
  2. I agree 100% that he should have stayed down in Hamilton for much longer than he did. But the fact is, he didn’t. And due to that, we see some inconsistencies and a bit of mental immaturity today. So hopefully the Habs can be patient with their young goaltender and allow him to develop under the microscope, rather than down in the AHL where it could have been a smoother transition.

    Posted by chisslerNo Gravatar | December 8, 2009, 7:19 pm
  3. I like Price and I think with time he will prove to be one of the better goalies in the league.After the big loss to Vancouver Price took out his frustrations in the dressing room, by punching a hole in the wall.Great first post keep it up!

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | December 9, 2009, 12:27 pm

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