Predictably, his teammates rallied around Carey Price.
Hal Gill, Mike Cammalleri and Josh Gorges took turns conveying the same party line:
The Bell Centre crowd may have their doubts about the Number 1 goaltender, but his teammates believe in him.
“What’s important,” Jacques Martin said, “is how the organization and all the players feel about Carey.
“Our fans are very passionate, and you have to respect that,” Martin added. The coach ventured the prediction that Price would emerge stronger from a game in which he yielded four goals on the first eight shots he faced and was subjected to derisive cheers on the saves he made.
“Is he Superman?” Gorges asked rhetorically. “Is he supposed to save everything: breakaways, backdoor, 2-on-1s …
“We have to help him,” Gorges added. “This is our team. We’re all in this together. And as a fan, you have to be supportive.”
No you don’t. Not in Montreal, the self-styled world capital of hockey, where we love our teams, win or tie … and ties don’t happen anymore.
Yes, it was a meaningless exhibition game. And no, Price did not get great support from his D or backchecking forwards.
But an air of nervous expectation hung over the Bell Centre like a cigarette cloud in the old Forum. Everyone was holding their breath, waiting to see how Price would perform.
He was unlucky … but not very good, either.
And at least on this night, Price failed to exorcise the ghost of Jaroslav Halak.
He’ll get another chance, probably in front of a more sympathetic crowd – in Ottawa on Saturday night
How did Price feel about his worst-case-scenario ordeal?
We don’t know.
The goaltender did not come out to the room to be interviewed about a crowd reaction Gill candidly described as “disheartening”.