Hello, hello, hello, how low, how low
Ah those famous lyrics blurted out by one of the greats of all time, Kurt Cobain, came to mind as I listened to Carey Price's press conference this week. The best goalie in the league all these years, some having anointed him the GOAT, looking like half the man he used to be. Downtrodden, discouraged, apathetic, but refusing to take the blame for any of the team's struggles. How low how low...
We've heard this song before. Jesus Price and his Holy Book of excuses.
In 2011, after a season where he had been replaced by Jaroslav Halak (in that epic playoff run), with the Canadiens up 2-0 versus the heavily favorite Boston Bruins, Price completely disintegrated in the following two games at the Bell Center. Goals were coming in from bad angles, from the blue line, a generous array of bananas being handed out left and right. But Sir Carey refused to take any of the blame. He complained that "guys were horsing around at practice" during the week. The implication being it wasn't his fault, it was his teammates.
In 2013 after another disappointing performance versus the Senators in the playoffs, the so-called GOAT expressed feeling caged-in, like a hermit, suffocated by the omnipresence of fans and media. A couple of years later, he would take a leave of absence to "clear his mind". Then there was the time where it was deemed Carey was suffering from a nutritional deficiency, that he was lacking Jamieson vitamins.
The stare down with Michel Therrien, the numerous mysterious injuries, the saga seemed to have no end. But the wild inconsistencies of the past 3 seasons were really the straw that broke the poor camel's back (which unfortunately were preceded by the signing of the biggest contract given to a goaltender in hockey history, bucking a trend that investing too much cap space on a goaltender rarely leads to success).
And now this week, the latest melancholic episode. Price coming in front of the media and acting like a distraught, annoyed, and spoiled athlete. A struggling goaltender by any measurable metric, who, with all his insecurity, felt it necessary a few weeks ago to complain about the team's defensive play while the Canadiens were sitting atop the NHL and looking as good as they had in nearly 3 decades.
His body language, has, for years, given fans and media (well, some of them, while others continue to make excuses for him) the impression he was aloof and indifferent. That he was just crossing off the days on his calendar till the end of the season.
Guy Carbonneau, Jacques Martin, Michel Therrien, Claude Julien, and now on his fourth goalie coach. That's a lot of change for a little over a decade don't you think?
Here we are now, entertain us
You're right, Carey, Montreal can be a cruel hockey market. But ya know, we fill up the joint. Every damn game. We buy jerseys, we help bring in a fair share of NHL TV revenues. We've allowed you, and other players to sign these lucrative contracts. We've cheered you on (for the most part) despite your disappointing play these past few seasons, and we keep forgiving you in spite of a career of (mostly) average playoff performances. No other team would have offered you such a generous contract. But we did. And to have you look so apathetic, to repeatedly hear the sarcasm and disdain in your voice during your pressers, well, we kind of deserve more ya know. We just ask, as Kurt said, that you entertain us. Show some excitement, prove that you want to win and that you actually enjoy playing here. Despite the challenges.
I feel stupid and contagious
You're a leader on this team, a veteran. An Olympic gold medalist. The young players look up to you. You don't have to be a role model, but can you show these kids what a winning attitude looks like. Can you provide them with a resonating example of perseverance? Can you send the message that it's not about the personal stats, but should always be a team first mentality. Is it too much to ask that you get them excited about playing in this market, instead of sending the subtle message that this is a suffocating and demoralizing place to play. It's not just the fans that are watching your demeanor, Carey, and listening to your interviews. Your (negative) attitude is getting to be quite stupid and contagious.