Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin could have publicly stood up for goalie Carey Price in face of booing fans.
Pierre Obendrauf, Gazette
Goaltender Carey Price has endured a season from hell – some of it has been his doing, some of it through fluke goals and/or his team’s untimely collapsing in front of him.
His last two starts might have been his year in a nutshell: in Buffalo on March 24, he was 1:59 from his first shutout in 81 games when the Canadiens imploded in front of him, the Sabres scoring twice in 71 seconds before going on to win 3-2 in a shootout despite his 40 saves. And two nights ago at home, Price was beaten twice – once by his own defenceman, Roman Hamrlik, and for the winner by Carolina’s Eric Staal, who swatted home a short rebound after slipping behind rearguard Ryan O’Byrne.
Price earned third star vs. Carolina but was booed by some in the Bell Centre crowd for it. Yesterday, I asked Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin if he’d been angered or if he otherwise felt strongly about his goalie being heckled. Martin replied: “I respect the fans. They pay good dollars to be entertained and they have a right to an opinion. As a professional athlete, or a coach, you have to work within the framework. Sure I’d like to see better results (for Price), as he would. At the same time, I can’t say we lost the game because of him.”
With this answer, Martin blew a golden opportunity to publicly support his goalie who’s been working hard in practice, trying to get better results, keeping his team in games and yet been victimized by bad luck. Martin taking the fans’ side in this case was disappointing, to say the least. With five games to go in a heated playoff race, he could have shown he had his goalie’s back, and by extension that of his team, but he didn’t.