Let's not get Carey-d away

I assure you I have nothing against Carey Price. I'm not a Price Buster. I get it. From 2014-2016 he literally carried the team on his shoulders. He won a gold medal. He's had to deal with a lackluster offense for many years. And he has been playing better of late. But please, for the love of God, let's not get Carey-d away over his last 3 starts.


To be fair, to use some hockey terminology, Price has looked square to the puck in his past few games. He is giving up less rebounds, and he has been flopping around a lot less. His side-to-side movement seems more controlled, and he has not been as sloppy and lackadaisical when handling the puck in and around his net.


Clearly, the recent team commitment to playing better in their own zone, the fact they are scoring again (well, kind of), seems to have alleviated some of the weight on the shoulders of the Canadiens' netminder.


What is most encouraging to see, however, is what's outside of the simple mechanics. It's his body language. He looks more focused, more "chill" (to quote one of Carey's favorite words), and engaged. Did the firing of Stéphane Waite wake him up? Was there a conversation with the coaches and/or general manager that lit a spark in him? Perhaps. Even probable. (I just wish it didn't take such drastic changes every couple of years to light a flame in Carey Price).


But the media also has to stop feeding the beast. When he is playing poorly, it seems as if all the blame gets pinned on him. The worrisome regression in Shea Weber's play, the costly and constant in-zone turnovers from players like Kulak, Chiarot or even Jonathan Drouin seem to garner far less criticism. The fact the Canadiens power play could not, for weeks, give the goaltender a lead to work with or change the momentum of a game, was always a part of the equation when it came time to explain the Canadiens' struggles over the past month or so. But it seems to have been understated. Number 31's save percentage and attitude were again the focal point of fans' angst and the media's reporting.


But to go full 180 degrees and now praise Price and attribute a lot of the team's improved play and success of late seems really misplaced. One has to "Price in" several other factors.


The truth is, he hasn't stolen a game. At best, he made 2, 3 big saves in each of these past 3 games, perhaps one being a game-changer (against Brock Boesner last night).


Either way, the Canadiens will need Price to be consistent for a much longer period of time. They will need a long string of consecutive games of stable, not necessarily stellar, performances in order to remove doubts about his level of care, his wonky knees and his ability and desire to raise this team to the (high) levels expected by management this season.







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