The Montreal Canadiens are struggling this season and that is an understatement. On Thrusday night, the Habs managed to lose once again against the worst team in the National Hockey League this season, falling 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes. While Habs fans are slowly but surely getting used to their team losing and playing poorly, the sight of star goalie Carey Price failing is a tough one to witness.
While Montreal did not manage to take part in the postseason in 2016, and was eliminated only in the first round of the Eastern Conference showdown, fans and hockey experts were still encouraged by the play and hard work of Price.
However this season, they are left looking for what was once the best goalie in the NHL. In Saturday morning column, Montreal hockey analysis Yvon Pedneault does not hold back, wondering if the Canadiens should worry about their long-term partnership with Price, who will enter the first year of his monster contract next season.
Yes, you remember now: the Canadiens signed Price to an eight-year contact extension that carries an annual cap hit of $10.5 million. That will make the 30-year-old the highest-paid goaltender in hockey. Price’s new deal won’t expire until the summer of 2026.
Pedneault wonders if it was a good idea after all. Here is his analysis, translated from French:
"Price, not so long ago, was an elite goalie we referred to. We bragged about his technique, we said he had an exceptional vision of the game, we used to add that very few other goaltenders in the league could read the play like he did.
His calm and poise were an inspiration for his teammates, and like former St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had mentioned when he visited the Bell Centre "he was the most intimidating goalie in the NHL."
Where has this goalie gone?" he asks bluntly.
Sure, Price cannot count on veteran star defenseman Shea Weber, who has been out with a lower-body injury since mid-december. And of course, he cannot stop the pucks and put some at the back of the rival club's net at the same time. He cannot count on a good team in front of him for the moment.
But can we blame everything else but him?
For the moment, as Pedneault concludes in his column, Price brings more questions and answers, even now, months away from the start of the next season...
On Thursday night, the Coyotes took to Twitter and rubbed a bit more salt in the wounds as the last team in the standings tweeted out footage of its fifth goal with the caption “When the Price isn’t right … at all.”
Though the caption might have annoyed Habs fans and Price himself, it sure has the fanbase asking similar questions to Pedneault's. Unfortunately for them and the hockey analysis, only Price himself has the answers and stop all questions by going back to the goalie we once knew and that rival teams all across the league once feared.
Until them, we will all be left wondering about his lucrative contract and his role on the team. Brutal, but can you deny it?