Habs Fever: Price the picture of composure
Published Tuesday, December 7, 2010 11:11PM EST
I'm not sure what's more remarkable: That Carey Price has 17 wins this season or that the Habs have 18 overall.
First to Price as it seems hard to believe now that there was so much consternation before the season began. Was it really this pre-season in the first game on about the first shot that the fans were booing and the entire city was doing a collective "Oh no"?
Since then, the entire city has let out a giant sigh of relief.
This can't be the same Price that fired a puck into the Capitals victory celebration after a goal can it? That was the last time we saw him last year.
This season, he is the picture of composure. What is also shocking is how easy all of these saves are looking for him. Mike Cammalleri pointed out after the win over Ottawa that Carey slides from post to post so effortlessly that when he arrives 6 feet across the net he is completely square to the shooter. It is then that Cammalleri knows that Price is on. Take it from one of the game's best shooters - if Cammalleri is impressed, no question the rest of the league is too.
The numbers bear it too as Price is top five in every goaltending category. The big one is wins at 17 where Price leads the league. The save percentage is lofty at .937 which is third. The GAA is under two which is fourth in the league. This season is going so well that he will probably score at some point.
Price has support
Price could not excel at this level though without the support of his mates. The quality of shot was not high from the Sens. Price said after the game that he was just taking up oxygen and space. The shots are often coming from the outside and the rebounds are finding their way to the outside too.
The puck management by everyone is just so impressive and the coach just isn't getting enough credit for the player's decision making.
I know it seems basic to say it and do it, but many teams don't figure out how to dump a puck out with a high heave, and many teams don't figure out that the best option is sometimes into the corner, because goals from behind the net are rare. The Habs get that. The pucks just aren't going to the point or the slot. The second chances are not there for the opposition.
Sometimes the Habs give up 40 seconds of zone pressure and it doesn't look good at the end of the shift, but then you check out the shots and chances given up and the 40 seconds added up to a big fat 0 on the chances, shots and fear scale.
I started to say it last month and I will say it again now. This team is upper echelon.
Scott Gomez is day to day with a lower body injury, but I don't think there is much fear about it. They now have their reason to bring up Max Pacioretty who is scorching in Hamilton, or give Lars Eller more ice time.
The way things are going it feels like an injury would be another blessing in disguise, as someone else in the organization would step up.
Old Canadiens are floundering
And by the way, while these new Montreal Canadiens who cite a fondness for each other as one of the reasons for their success keep on winning, the old Montreal Canadiens keep on floundering.
Alex Kovalev looks completely disinterested. Mike Komisarek saw the ice for eight minutes in the Leafs win over the Caps the other night. I need a crystal ball to locate the talent that Chris Higgins once had.
The 10 that Gainey let go are all done or near done. The 10 Gainey brought in, along with another ten that he and Gauthier and Timmins brought in are looking like the organization deserves more credit for evaluating talent.
I'm not planning a parade, but I sure get to watch a good hockey team every couple of nights, and I can think of worse ways to spend my winter.