Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Price v. Leighton

I'm not sure if a lot of Habs fans noticed, but there were a lot of similarities between 'journeyman goalie turn hero' Michael Leighton and our very own Carey Price: Big goalie, calm and collected, lets in unlucky and untimely goals.

These 2 play a similar style in net: they rely on their size and positioning to be there to make the saves. They also rely on the defence to make life difficult for the shooters, so when the shots do show up there isn't much to shoot at. They both play their best in a calm, collected manner; not letting the pressure crack them (this is not so true of Carey Price lately, I'll admit.) And finally they both seem to let in the same type of goals; tip shots find holes, and then a moment of weakness on their part will send a puck to the back of the net.

So, who would you rather have: Stanley Cup Finalist Michael Leighton, who collected himself after letting in 3 goals to beat the Bruins in game 7, all but shutout the Canadiens, only to fall to the Blackhawks: or Price, who rode the bench to the conference finals, never impressing when he was on the ice (and uncharacteristically showing a lack of composure against Washington) ?

Well, I suppose the hope is that Price, being younger and showing great promise early on, can rebound to form. Leighton's performance should certainly give Price fans hope that given the right situation, Price can shine. Price isn't as dynamic as Luongo in net, for example, but on the right team should be able to provide the solid goaltending a team needs to win.

I am not sure this can happen in Montreal. Price seems to have been cracked in Montreal; rattled to his core. He is trying, for sure, but his calm confidence seems to have turned to detached apathy - he seems almost too removed from the game at times. And you can see it in everyone's body language when Price lets in a goal; he slumps, looks helplessly at his defence, who slump, who look to their coach, who shakes his head -- the crowd tearing up their tickets and heading for the exits. He doesn't get a lot of support out there, perhaps because he doesn't command it.

Anyhow, I liked the way Price played in 2008. I was sad to see him stumble in 2009. I'm disappointed he looks to be gone in 2010. But given Leighton's performance, I think Price, given the same room to make mistakes and support to succeed, will do well. Hopefully other GMs see the same thing, and Montreal won't lose him for a song.

I don't see a way back to success for Price in Montreal.

No comments:

Post a Comment