Daily Hab-it: Price continues to impress
Published Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:12PM EDT
Yes, Andrei Kostitsyn had his first two-goal game of the season, largely because of fantastic plays by his linemates Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri.
And yes, P.K. Subban looked like that kid who played like a veteran in last season's playoffs.
And yes, Jaroslav Spacek did not commit a glaring turnover that led to a Grade-A scoring chance.
And yes, the Canadiens only allowed 19 shots and have now outshot their opponents over the last four games 131-81.
There were a lot of positives for the Canadiens in their easy 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, but to me the most positive was watching Carey Price play in goal. Not because of the obvious positive of having him put up his first shutout in nearly two calendar years.
Price had to be spectacular on more than one occasion in keeping the Senators off the scoreboard, but for the most part I just felt like that shutout looked pretty easy for him. Like pucks were simply hitting him. Like he didn't need to move too much. Like rebounds were dying in his pads, or being re-directed to safe areas of the ice.
Basically, it looked like that rookie from the magical 2007-08 season, the one who didn't know any better and simply played his game, seemingly without a care in the world or any conception of just how phenomenally he was playing.
At that time, Price could do no wrong in the hearts and minds of Canadiens fans as he was being flippantly compared with Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy.
Then came the almost inevitable slide that began when Price started to believe everything he was hearing and stopped working on his game. The calmness that was once considered Price's strength suddenly became a sign of his aloof nature. His casual style in goal was suddenly a sign that he wasn't trying in either practice or games.
I admit and I have written many times that Price's words on the day after Montreal's elimination in last year's playoffs had me sold. When he said, "I saw everyone else going up, and I had plateaued," I was impressed by it.
All summer I had people tell me Price needed to prove he was serious, that words weren't good enough, that his childish behaviour in his lone playoff start in Game 4 against Washington showed how much further he had to grow, that he would never, ever be as good as Jaroslav Halak even though he was two years younger.
I'm not necessarily saying that one shutout makes me right and all those people wrong. It doesn't mean Price will win the Vezina Trophy this year and ultimately fulfill the potential he showed so gracefully in his rookie season.
But in light of the pressure this guy faced all summer in the wake of Halak getting traded, of his contract negotiations dragging on, of getting booed in his own building in the first period of the first game of the pre-season, of having his name dragged through the mud on radio call-in shows and television talk shows, I'd say what Price is doing right now is pretty darned impressive.