Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Slips Away in Against Washington

Yesterday the Habs ended up losing in the shootout to the Washington Capitals. I was unable to tweet the game, but I did catch Canadiens Express on RDS to get an extended highlight reel of the game.

After a stinky first period, Montreal came back strong and angry in the 2nd and 3rd, and persistance paid off -- since they couldn't score on a clean shot on Varlamov. Each goal needed a few kicks at the can, in order to get that goaltender, who was playing really well, to show some cracks. There were also a few times when Varlamov stood up to the challenge, and was able to withstand the Montreal assault.

Price on his end also played pretty awesome. He stopped Ovechkin on a breakaway, made some spectacular saves, and after a bad first period, had that killer instinct to close out the game...

... Until the last 15 seconds. Was Price to blame for the last goal? Was Price to blame for letting the 2 points get away?

Yessir! Price Blew It!
Not a completely unreasonable point of view in this case. Price's job, in a close game like this, is to do everything he can to close out the game. And for the last 5 minutes, Price was doing just that - on his head stopping all sorts of amazing chances. Its what top-tier goalies do, and why he has got the starting job. But then, off a faceoff loss, he let one slip through his legs. He let the team down, and he let himself down. But after those 3 or 4 amazing saves, you gotta have one more to win the game.

You're Crazy! Price Played Great! It's a Team Game!
Also true. I'm crazy (I talk to myself) Price played great, and it is a team game. Why was Fehr left open for not one, but 2 cracks at the puck just on top of the crease? Price had already bailed the team out several times, and once again gets no help in the dying seconds! Price sure takes a lot of blame. In other markets, like Calgary or Anaheim or even New Jersey, the goalie would not be blamed for that goal. Yeah, it would be called a bit soft, but no further blame would be given. In Montreal we point the finger, call for a trade, chase someone out of town... and that's ridiculous. Fehr should have never been allowed to shoot. Period.

So Price should be angry with himself. He probably went home and had goalie nightmares; not of Ovechkin punching 3in holes in him - but of a guy named Fehr dribbling pucks through him, slow motion and him unable to do anything about it. Angry dreams of knowing exactly what he did wrong, and what he should have done to make the save. He should be angry that after the team came back to support him with 3 goals, he couldn't keep teh door shut long enough, despite some spectacular saves. And he should be pissed that because of one lousy mistake, his solid performance is now worth only 1 soggy consolation point. He should be angry because he wanted to win -- and he should be angry, because Brodeur would be angry - Roy would be angry - Belfour would be drunk (cheap shot) and any star goalie would be angry.

The 'happy' ending here, ladies and gents, is that Price was angry. And that means he's not gonna let it happen next time. Our star goalie is finally starting to burn.


  1. The way he walked away after the shootout, I could see the anger eminating through his face cage. Boy was he pissed. Didn't punch a wall though. But I think that attributes more to the dressing room wall being concrete instead of drywall ;)

    However, if I'm Tomas Plekanec, I also walk away angry for not winning the most crucial faceoff of the game...

  2. You are right - I'm sure no one on the ice was happy to have that goal go in. But as a player you carry the weight with the other 4 players - but as the goalie you know that ultimately, you have the last say. And its not like it was a tip shot, or a rifle to the top corner.

    I play both positions - none very well mind you - but I can say that being the goalie sucks a whole lot worse on that position.

    Anyhow, its over - you learn and get ready for the next one.