About last night …

This comes under the heading Tell Us Something We Don’t Know:

Your Montreal Canadiens will go as far this season – and for seasons to come – as Carey Price takes them.

Fresh off winning the Molson Cup for February – for a month during which he had a losing record – Price was the difference again last night.

Playing behind a patchwork defence and an offence that doesn’t offend anyone, The Franchise made 40 saves.

Price has played more than any goaltender in the NHL. He’s made more saves than anyone except Cam Ward.

Here’s the factor that doesn’t show up in NHL statistics: Carey Price has to be great every night, or the Canadiens don’t win.

It’s that simple.

Twenty-two teams have scored more goals than the Canadiens this season. After 64 games, the Canadiens have scored three more than they’ve allowed.

This team does not blow anyone out. Carey Price has made 54 starts under intense pressure. One mistake by the goaltender puts his team behind the eight-ball.

Maybe the Canadiens’ brain trust planned it this way.

The team got lucky in the 2005 draft lottery. Picking fifth, the Canadiens selected Price … while Pierre McGuire had a cow on TSN about what an error it was.

(Not the first time – and certainly not the last – my friend Pierre has questioned CH management decisions.)

The Canadiens had never drafted a goaltender that high. The team that selected Carey Price already had a 28-year-old goaltender, three years off a Hart/Vezina Trophy season.

But José Theodore had issues. And that didn’t sit well with an ultra-conservative hockey organization.

Price was the goaltender of the future … and, in short order, the present.

I think the team, building around its prized asset, decided to become New Jersey North.

After the Centennial Season debacle, Bob Gainey blew up his team. Two of his newcomers had won Stanley Cups with the Devils.

The Canadiens hired the only Jacques available, and Martin introduced his renowned/villified/unexciting defensive system.

OK, I don’t want to get overly Grassy Knoll here. The Canadiens did not totally emulate Lou Lamoriello’s team.

After Mike Komisarek tanked, the team didn’t have a Scott Stevens-in-the-making.

And Andrei Markov, the Canadiens’ Scott Niedermayer, became injury prone.

But Carey Price has become the closest thing to Martin Brodeur we’ve seen in a long time. And the Canadiens style of play is predicated on minimizing shots against him (it didn’t work last night) and ensuring they’re low-percentage shots.

It’s not an easy system to play. The forwards have to come back deep to help, and that costs them energy at the other end of the ice, where they like to play.

The defencemen have to be smart and good with the puck. As you marvel at how much P.K. Subban has progressed this season, think how great that D would be with Markov and Josh Gorges.

Instead, Price is playing behind one of the oldest, slowest Ds in the league. And still the team manages to win.

On the farewell Andie Bennett edition of his show yesterday, Mitch Melnick was working a familiar theme: the Canadiens’ lack of size.

We saw it again last night. Evander Kane was a wild bull in the Canadiens’ end. Cliff Thorburn wreaked havoc as well.

After a quiet Trade Deadline Day, Pierre Gauthier talked about the identity of his hockey team, which can be summarized as the three S’s: Speed, Skill and the System.

Plus a great goaltender.

Will it produce another Miracle Spring?

To be honest, I’m not optimistic. 

But Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller aren’t midgets, and they were excellent in Atlanta.

With Price, Subban and David Desharnais, they form a core of young talent that offers optimism as we look to the future of this maddening team.

On to the Sunshine State.

•  •  •

From HabsFanInVictoria:

You vultures only have one word in your vocabulary: Gomez.  Is that all any of you have to say these days?  He’s not having a good season, fair enough.  He’s not earning his pay, fair enough.  But he’s here, and he’s not going anywhere so you can focus on something else and enjoy a win for once.  Are you not sick and tired of the same old broken record BS about #11?  Get real and start realizing that perhaps Gomez is just the latest scapegoat.  When you really put it into perspective… 

Gomez did not:

Trigger the current economic crisis

Trade Leclair

Drop an “F” Bomb at the Oscars

Catch that ball at the Cubs game

Shoot Mr. Burns

Leave threatening messages on your answering machine

Expose his nipple at the Super Bowl

Trap the Chilean miners

Steal your lunch money

Kill Bambi’s mother

Honestly, the guy is playing hockey and trying to do his job.  He’s not getting the desired results according to the standards of many, but that happens in pro sports.  Get over his contract, it’s not changing.  He’s not going to pay back when he’s not producing the numbers you expect.  Forget the stats, they don’t always tell the whole story.  If he’s frustrating you THAT much then you should find something better to do with your time.

By the way, he had 14 points in 19 games in the playoffs last year and was considered one of our stronger players.  Remember, that run we made to the Conference Finals?  He was an important part of that and proved how much he cares, regardless of what the ‘so called’ experts think.

 

140 Comments

  1. habbifier says:

    Was he lucky because of how many posts the Thrashers hit? Or does the empty arena make it easier to see the puck? Perhaps it was the team he was facing….were they from the ECHL? A beer league? OR could it be that Gomez is so bad Price is always lucky?

    The only reason he didn’t get a shut out was a brutal turnover from his D. They played a very good game. He was Great.

  2. CBrady12 says:

    If all you have to do is write a 1000 word rant about someone you don’t know and a team you have absolutely no control over, I truly and honestly feel sorry for you. 

  3. P St. Pierre says:

    Good post, Boone, but isn’t it Chris Thorburn, not Cliff?

  4. HotHabs says:

    You had this post planned for the Thanksgiving of 2011????  Seriously???

    Are you the Martha Stewart of HIO? Come on!!!!

  5. HardHabits says:

    We had a truce? I guess it was an uneasy one. ;-)

    I confused HFIV for the other Vancouver Hab Fan so my bad anyways.

    I am cranky because of the Penner trade. Not because we didn’t get him but because the Habs didn’t get equal value for Kostitsyn.

  6. Displaced says:

    30 teams in the league, a salary cap, reasonable player movement, limited revenue sharing, and a draft stacked to benefit the needy means virtual parity.  Every team should make two Cup appearances every thirty years on average and every team should win one every 30. 

    Montreal is a big hockey market with deep-pocketed ownership, that moves us up a few notches from average, but not as much as possible because we don’t leverage that advantage the way Edmonton, NYR or Toronto did by stuffing players in the minors. Our management is marginally better than average based on their career winning records as GMs and coaches adjusted for OTL inflation.

    So, plus (let’s say) three spots for the money and plus another two for the management and we get 10 years to an appearance and a 50/50 chance to win that series.

    There, I’m on record.

    Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  7. HotHabs says:

    I remember that cup run very well.  Anything is possible, I know.

    But, please don’t tell us that this year’s team is spectacular or comparable to the 93 crew.  

    Damphousse, Bellows, Muller, and Lebeau all had over 30 goals and 80+ pts. each that season.  I realize the scoring has diminished in the new era of NHL hockey, but we don’t have 4 players this year that will pass even 60 or 50 pts.

  8. krob1000 says:

    Well then on behalf of all of HIO posters your sympathy is appreciated…now I will offer it back to you as you obviously suffer from the reading variety of the same general illness….  HIO Readers Anonymous holds online meetings every other Tuesday at noon on http://www.idiotdenial.com. if you are seeking help …if you are not prepared to help yourself then I wish you the best and may your perspective change. Live long and prosper Spocksucker.

  9. Chris says:

    What’s worse?  His coming onto a DISCUSSION FORUM to discuss somebody he doesn’t know and a team he has no control over, or your seeming lack of understanding of what a website like this is provided for?

  10. forskis says:

    Just a question…didn’t you say that the team should build via the youth route to get competitive?  But according to what you just wrote, if PG goes that route, it probably will not work…now, if you say the youth route will not work wit hPG at the helm, then fair enough, if not then aren’t you contradicting yourself.

    And here is my prediction…it is more of a non-prediction anyway:  the only people who know when a Cup will be brought to Montreal are whatever players make up the team and that is only by doing it no matter the odds and personnel.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  11. SeriousFan09 says:

    Melnick’s been a bit cranky ever since the Boston game, convinced that’s what’s going to happen between MTL-BOS every game from now on. I still say that game never would have gotten out of hand with good backchecking by the Gomez line and a little hard work by the officials to keep the game under control. (Oh ****! I said the G Word!)

     

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  12. HotHabs says:

    I agree that PG’s pick-ups have all been reactionary.

  13. RetroMikey says:

    I am not optimisitic as well for where this team heading this season and the next 3 or 4.

    So if Gauthier is building on young talent to lead us to the Cup, when will that be?

    If it is his plan for 5 years, and things don’t pan out, will he blow the team again 5 years from now as Bobby did?

    That means we are back to square one and  our team is like a cycle, up and down, up and down.

    The organization needs a major overhaul from the office to the players.

    So, I am interested with all these knowlegable and optimisitc HIO posters here, whe will the next Stanley Cup be coming to Montreal?  I am going to keep tabs on everyone for my record.

    My prediction is not now and not in the 5 year plan, that’s for sure, maybe in 2020.

    Boone, what do you say?

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  14. Shiloh says:

    I got home in time to watch the game on Canadiens Express. Maybe it was a great job by the editors but the game seemed fast-paced and the Habs seemed to have quite a bit of the play. Pacioretti, Eller and Kostitsyn looked particularly good.

    Reading reports, it sounds like the Thrashers were the dominant team. Watching an edited replay, it looked like the Habs had the best of it.

  15. SLYDER says:

    i think if Price and Gomez’s salaries were flipped i wouldnt hate him so much

     

    Carey “The System” Price deserves franchise money

  16. Ian Cobb says:

    Atlanta is dead as far as hockey is concerned. The Atlanta Flames could not make there and moved to Calgary. This time they are moving the franchise to Winnipeg, The Winnipeg Thrashers are coming.

    I will be very P Oed if Quebec gets a franchise before the Peg gets one. Heck I want a franchise in the hub of the Maritimes before Quebec city gets one. A rink right in the middle of Moncton, Halifax, Charlottown, and Sydney. Probably in Sackville, not to far a drive from St. John and Fredrickton.

    The place would be packed every night. The Maritime Thrashers.! Would be one of the leagues best franchises.

  17. Da Hema says:

    Did Boone put you up to this to increase the hits to the thread?

    ;-)

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Unfortunately Ian it’s all about the corporate sponsorship, NHL plops a team down they want to make sure the luxury boxes are full and they can collect a hefty expansion fee. if Quebecor is offering up the cash, the Nordiques will be the first Canadian team to get rebirth.

    With a modern arena promised and Quebecor ready to front the cash, wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta or Florida ended up being the new face of the Battle of Quebec.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  19. MathMan says:

    Not to begrudge Carey Price’s excellence, which is real and a major factor, but I think the Habs’ dependence on him is overstated. I know we’re used to the Habs sucking and hanging by a thread of goaltending, so that’s the familiar story, but this year’s team fits that narrative only superficially.

    (Frankly, the team that lives or dies by its goaltending in the East this year is Boston, not Montreal.)

    This is not at all the same situation as Halak last year, where team that might otherwise have been the worst in the NHL leaned on its goaltenders (both of them) to barely claw their way into a playoff spot. Price has been excellent, but the team in front of him is much, much, MUCH better.

    Montreal has dominated its opponents in shots and chances on aggregate. They’ve done what good teams do: they’ve carried the play and dominated puck possession. They’ve done it, in fact, better than several of the teams in front of them in the standings. The only reason they’re not higher is that they can’t buy a goal, so they’ve lost a lot of games they should have won. But this was not for lack of offensive pressure. The idea that the Habs’ style stymies their offense is a fallacy.

    The funny thing about all this is that offensive pressure leads to scoring sooner or later. Shooting percentages regress to the mean, sooner or later. Scoring opportunistic goals, like the Habs did last year, eventually fails, sooner or later.

    Halak and Price held a terrible team afloat last year. This team Price is elevating a good-but-snakebitten club.

  20. ZepFan2 says:

    I am not optimisitic as well for where this team heading this season and the next 3 or 4.”

    OMG, I’m stunned!

    Here I thought you were the biggest optimist on here.

    Tell us something we don’t know!

    ———————————————————————— “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.” ~Serge Savard~

  21. HardHabits says:

    That must’ve been the part that my krob1000 couldn’t translate

    It’s also a universal translator as well as a spell check

  22. krob1000 says:

    Hmm I wonder if Kovalchuk takes any heat for New Jersey, what about Kessel in TO, what about Dipietro in NEw York? How was Iginla perceived prior to the turn around in Calgary when he was sucking? How often do we even hear about Alexander Ovechkin anymore…one point per game season and he has all but vanished from casual conversation? How quickly they forget. The Sedins up until last year were nearly run out of Vancouver, called the Sedin sisters and were called soft? Price last year, Pleks before, Ryder, Sergei, the list goes on and on….it is a results oriented business…ask any coach…..coaches take blame for players…and better players take blame for players who aren’t as good, gm’s eventually take the blame when all else fails and owners make money. That is just how it goes…and anyone who is talking about it cares enough to be talking about it..and is looking at where the team can be improved…Gomez needs to step it up…as do AK and Cammi.  Pleks took three penalties last night but that deosnt mean anyone is citing that particular game and saying he is playing poorly..we are judging the entire body of work and in the nearly two seasons Gomez has been here he has had far more downs than ups…he did have a great playoff last year…but so did Lapierre..where is he now? so did Moore…so did Pyatt….Metro was alright and he is now overseas…..that is life in the NHL and especially when you are the highest paid player inthe most scrutinized city…and underperforming.

  23. light_n_tasty says:

    HabsFanInVictoria has more posts about “stop bashing Gomez” than any other poster has bashing Gomez.

  24. MathMan says:

    I never cease to be amazed by how much the fans and media have been impressed by that freak show of a game.

    Never mind that 8-6 is already indicative of a fluke game.

    Never mind that Boston tries to go Neanderthal on the Habs at least once every year and that it never has any kind of impact. Like it didn’t this time.

    Never mind that the Habs are 3-1 this year against Boston, 8-2 in their last 10.

    Noooo, that single game proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Habs cannot consider even the remote possibility of maybe possibly thinking of ever competing with the Bruins ever again — and apparently, this is because the Bruins showed their superiority on fisticuffs.

    As if Krejci going to get himself knocked out by Pouliot the fourth-liner, or the lynchpin of the Bruins team trying to fight a guy four inches taller and 10 years younger was a good strategy for them.

    A game that involved Tim Thomas and Carey Price led to 14 goals and people use that as a frame of reference, and ignore everything else.

    Absurd. One wonders how many 8-6 games we’re likely to see over the next, I dunno, ten years or so.

    Seriously, sometimes you have to wonder what people are thinking.

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    I know my heart is over ruling my head in this matter Chris.

  26. Ian Cobb says:

    Gee I hope not, but I do recognise that the Americans have taken over our game, league and our dollars.

  27. krob1000 says:

    I honestly didn’t think the post was a Gomez bashing…I certainly didn’t feel that way when writing it. I was jsut trying to point out why he gets so much attention right now. He is our best hope to improve  our chances down the stretch and into the playoffs was what I tried to get across. I just read it again and I guess I could have done without the sarcasm but that is just me and I get equally peeved as the poster who responed to me when I read the constant excuses and the force field that has been placed around Gomez by a certain group on here.  I have been part of similar groups as I spent the better part of a year defending  Koivu, Ryder and especially Pleks when everyone was on him his off year too.  I did the same with Sergei so I get the general intent but at some point reality has to be part of the discussions and I always at least make an effort to see things from diff’t perspectives….obviously I am human and biases leak through but for the most part I genuinely make an effort to look at both sides and there was plenty of praise in that post about Gomez too.

  28. Chris says:

    Ian:  Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton all struggle to turn a profit.  They sit right near the line where most of the professionals who look at sports team viability think that a team can remain viable in today’s NHL.

    The Winnipeg and Quebec markets are approximately 70% of the above teams that sit right around the break-even line.  Yes, they would sell out every game, but they would probably still lose money and struggle to be competitive unless they had deep-pocketed owners that had no issue with throwing money down a toilet every season.

    A Maritimes NHL team would have no hope of surviving.  There simply isn’t the population base nor corporate support.

  29. HardHabits says:

    I think hell just froze over.

  30. smiler2729 says:

    Optimistic?? YOU are never optimistic! You live on your constant negativity and the fact that you think you know more about building your Stanley Cup winner than actual real hockey people…

    This organization doesn’t NEED a MAJOR overhaul from the office to the players. You spout off about this crap every other post, this organization needs to do just what it’s doing – doing the best they can with the personnel they have.

    What is this irrational need to win a Stanley Cup ‘one day’? And then what, sell off the players like Chicago did and never come near again?? No man, I’d rather be in it to win it every freakin’ year and be a competitive perennial playoff team than do the one and done thing.

    And what’s with that dumb quote anyway?? Win the Cup one day with? in the nets??? Is it not obvious to you that Carey Price is THE GOALIE for this team for a long time?

    Dude, 5 year plan is just a cute buzz word to signify the building of a winning organization for as long as it can be maintained, it’s not a do-or-die strict 5 year window to win a Cup. Get real.

  31. zak says:

    If the egyptians can get rid of mubarak the fans can get rid of gomez.

  32. light_n_tasty says:

    I agree with you about Kostitsyn.  Trading Kostitsyn for a good pick is one of those trades that teams can make to improve in the future without really sacrificing much in the way of current competitiveness.

  33. patience is a virtue says:

    speaking of stirring the pot to increase posts and hits: did we ever consider that retromikey, observer/tony, timo and others who like to piss poeple off, may in fact be Boone and the boys in disguise trying to provoke us?  or have such conspiracy theories been discussed as much as Gomez?


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