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A Defining Season for Carey Price's Career


Commandant
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Bit sensationalist, don't you think? Insert dramatic music and cue the fat lady. THIS IS IT, FOLKS. If he doesn't stand out this year, then he's NOT elite and therefore "immensely overrated."

Point finale.

Huh?

No room for continual growth? No acknowledgement that he's still a *kid* and still learning his position? No mention that goalies generally hit their stride later in their respective careers?

All due respect, but maybe that should have been printed in The Daily Mail or some other such rag. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Jack Todd will appreciate the finality of the sentiment there, and the over-reactive fan-base probably loves to eat this stuff up - in that respect it'll get plenty of hits and will probably get noticed - but it's not really based on any fact or even semblance of reality.

This is just an opinion that says he's overrated if he doesn't essentially win the Cup and win in Sochi. Because that has to be the criteria, no? If he doesn't do those things, then ultimately he fails and is overrated. Isn't that the implication?

Not like there are 29 other teams and a plethora of other countries with talented players and something to say about it.

I guess I'm getting a little weary at the sensationalism that's rampant in "journalism" these days. The Earth is enduring global warming that will surely cause major catastrophe's (now seriously in question), Apple's new phone is surely a disaster and will lead to the company's downfall (or the other side, if that's the journalism you follow), Democrats are horrible and out of touch, Republicans are horrible and out of touch.

Why does everything have to be so... final? Because in my experience, pretty much nothing short of death is. (How many times did MJ come out of retirement?)

Just an opinion.

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This is Year Seven of Price's career. I'm sorry, but it's time to stop with this "oh he's just a kid and still learning" bafflegab. Yes, he's still learning - so are we all. But if he sucks rocks AGAIN in the playoffs, that'll be a grand total of ONE strong playoff performance in his entire career.

It doesn't take seven years to learn how to raise your game when it counts.

Nor do I buy this "the team in front of him has sucked" stuff. That's not an explanation for a career playoff save % well below his regular season norms. What, did the team suddenly suck worse in the playoffs, every single playoff year?

I am absolutely not and have never been a "Price hater." In fact, I like him a lot as a personality, and think he is a very fine regular season goalie. But he's not getting paid $6.5 mil to have "very fine" regular seasons. I'm done with making excuses for him. And so, in my view, should everyone else on this site.

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I agree with Cukes that it is high time that Price start producing in the playoffs. I also don't think he's really a 'kid' anymore - he's 26 and a veteran by league standards.

I don't want to run him out of town, but if his playoff trend continues it will be hard to argue against it. And really, what good does it do us if he finally gets it together at age 32? He's expected to produce now.

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What's funny for me is that even if Price lays an egg at the end of the season, there probably isn't much that can be done. GMs seem to love him but I have my doubts on a solid return due to his salary and the goalie market.

In other words the team is probably going to ride him for the majority of his contract or at some point look for a Hackett/Thibeault style swap, neither of which will make any of us happy if he isn't consistent.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. At some point, fans might need to think about their expectations for a goaltender as a whole. Price's best season came with facing the second most shots in the league. Even then he still takes the wrath from the playoff loss. Funny how it's a team concept for everyone except the goalie.

I guess that's what the whole excuses thing is about. The goalie is special. Special treatment, special criticism.

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I never said anything about "running him out of town." What I observed was that Price has been mediocre in every playoff except one. And if it happens again, he'll be 1-5 in terms of playoff performances; given that he will be 27 and a 7-year NHL veteran that is clearly enough to demonstrate a pattern. Going forward, it will be fair to categorize him as a player who fails to deliver in the playoffs, and consequently a fairly disastrous cap hit a $6.5 mil, at least for a team that aspires to be a serious contender.

If we had a C paid at that level who got analogous production to Price in the playoffs, nobody would be defending him; they'd be crying for his summary execution.

So, what are "fair expectations" for Price? That he be strong in the regular season and excel in the playoffs. Not that he be superhuman, but that he give the team a bona-fide chance to win every night once the playoffs start up. That's what he did in 2011 against the Bruins. And like it or not, that is a fair expectation for a veteran guy being paid like a near-superstar.

The idea that Price has unreasonable expectations placed on his shoulders is ridiculous. No one, anymore, expects him to be Patrick Roy. What we expect is that he be closer to Jonathan Quick than Marc-André Fleury once the playoffs begin. And so far the reverse has too often been the case.

I don't understand the mollycoddling. It's as though people recognize that the prospects for the rebuild are ultimately dependent on Price being elite, and are simply terrified to admit to themselves that, so far, Price hasn't delivered, and that we're getting to a point where it's becoming realistic to assume he may NEVER deliver. Like the song says, face up to reality. He is in danger of becoming the Achilles Heel. Not there yet, but we're getting to that point.

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I never said anything about "running him out of town." What I observed was that Price has been mediocre in every playoff except one. And if it happens again, he'll be 1-5 in terms of playoff performances; given that he will be 27 and a 7-year NHL veteran that is clearly enough to demonstrate a pattern. Going forward, it will be fair to categorize him as a player who fails to deliver in the playoffs, and consequently a fairly disastrous cap hit a $6.5 mil, at least for a team that aspires to be a serious contender.

If we had a C paid at that level who got analogous production to Price in the playoffs, nobody would be defending him; they'd be crying for his summary execution.

So, what are "fair expectations" for Price? That he be strong in the regular season and excel in the playoffs. Not that he be superhuman, but that he give the team a bona-fide chance to win every night once the playoffs start up. That's what he did in 2011 against the Bruins. And like it or not, that is a fair expectation for a veteran guy being paid like a near-superstar.

The idea that Price has unreasonable expectations placed on his shoulders is ridiculous. No one, anymore, expects him to be Patrick Roy. What we expect is that he be closer to Jonathan Quick than Marc-André Fleury once the playoffs begin. And so far the reverse has too often been the case.

I don't understand the mollycoddling. It's as though people recognize that the prospects for the rebuild are ultimately dependent on Price being elite, and are simply terrified to admit to themselves that, so far, Price hasn't delivered, and that we're getting to a point where it's becoming realistic to assume he may NEVER deliver. Like the song says, face up to reality. He is in danger of becoming the Achilles Heel. Not there yet, but we're getting to that point.

What I'm saying is that I'm much more waiting for the day that the Habs will score 3 goals per game in the playoffs rather than the one where Price will get 2 shutout every series to win them.

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What I'm saying is that I'm much more waiting for the day that the Habs will score 3 goals per game in the playoffs rather than the one where Price will get 2 shutout every series to win them.

This logic would only work, though, if Price had excelled and been let down by the plodders in front of him. But I'm not talking about his W-L record in the playoffs (a team stat) but rather his personal performances. And these have, by and large, been middling-to-mediocre. Shoddy offence doesn't explain four playoffs with a save % of .901 or less. Nor does it explain a reliably precipitous drop in his statistics relative to the regular season. Stats aren't everything, but they are a fair reflection of what he has actually delivered in this case.

Of course, you can win with middling-to-mediocre goaltending. The Red Wings did it with Osgood, the Hawks with Crawford (although I suppose he's a shade above "middling"). And maybe Price can prove sufficiently adequate to backstop a powerhouse squad to a Cup. But all I can say is if that's your team model, then the Habs failed to get the memo - because why the hell are we paying him $6.5 mil, especially when we're going to need every penny to sign position players who are stupendous enough to overcome "merely OK" playoff goaltending?

So again, I'm not buying it. Excuse time is over. Excel in the spring 2014, or be branded a playoff bust - and rightly so.

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So again, I'm not buying it. Excuse time is over. Excel in the spring 2014, or be branded a playoff bust - and rightly so.

I agree with what you're saying completely. It's definitely time for price to step up. Strong regular season and another step in the playoffs.

I definitely still think Price has it in him. But I think you'd probably still agree that even if he doesn't live up I expectations NOW it doesn't mean he's done for as an elite goalie.

Yes it's time for him to step up now, but maybe he'll hit his groove halfway through the season as he adjusts to waite's coaching style. Just in time for the playoffs ;)

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I guess Price is just missing a Vezina to avoid criticism? Rangers fans don't ever complain about Lundqvist's losses.

Call him a playoff bust if you like. No sweat off my back blaming a goalie for their team wins column. That's all my point was. Joe put it quite well about Montreal's inability to score in the post-season. It's the entire reason Briere was signed. Certainly wasn't for his regular season play.

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Machine, you must have missed my post above where I explicitly say that the criticism has ZERO to do with playoff wins and losses and everything to do with the fact that Price personally has played mediocre playoff hockey. Except for 2011, his individual performance has been substandard. The idea that this criticism reflects pie-in-the-sky expectations just doesn't hold water (unless you think it's "ridiculous" to expect Carey Price to be better than mediocre).

Incidentally, even if he were to win the Vezina - quite a plausible scenario, actually, given that he is a proven high-end regular season goalie - he'll still deserve the label of "playoff bust" if the pattern of playoff mediocrity continues.

Another way to look at it is this: how many weak playoffs does a goalie have to have before we stop making excuses? Five? Six? Ten? Twenty? At a certain point the facts can't be denied. And I'm saying that if he once again lays an egg in this year's playoffs, it'll be quite reasonable to move from denial to (dismayed) acceptance. Then I guess you cross your fingers and hope that "one of these years" he'll manage to break the pattern (like Fleury did that one playoff), keeping in mind that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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Substandard? Not really. More inconsistent. You're counting 2008 as substandard and he had a shutout in a game seven where Boston was coming hard. But that's a substandard performance for you.

Price has always had trouble with consistency. I don't know how I'm giving him excuses there. This all sounds to me very much like when the Bruins had our number in the late 80s, early 90s and suddenly Roy was a playoff bust because Cam Neely had his number. I know I know, we know the storyline and he already had a Cup in 86. But Roy also almost lost his starter position to Hayward in 88 and had consistency issues. He pulled out a consistent 93 playoffs that is now legendary and is common with goaltenders who win Cups. Price hasn't had a consistent playoff run. I have never really denied that.

What I deny is looking between 2008 and 2013 and putting all the blame on Price. Which is what you're doing. It's a team game. It was the Canadiens as a whole that couldn't beat those Boston teams in the early 90s. They didn't play them in 93 and lost to them in 94. Wasn't just Roy. It was the team. And when we put this much expectation on a goalie you're almost always going to be disappointed. I'm more than expecting of inconsistent performances by Price. Maybe that's why I don't get so hurt when these things happen. Should an inconsistent goalie get paid $6.5M per season? When the good outweighs the bad, yes. And I feel that's Price. I don't see how we're going to have a better chance to win with another available goalie and focusing so much on our net performances is ignoring our issues in other places.

You look at the series in a general sense. I try to remember every game. It's like people completely forget that Price had two very, very good starts against Ottawa. They only remember the bad games.

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I don't remember two 'very, very good' starts by Price. I remember two where he was good enough and didn't let in any softies. He wasn't standing on his head or anything. It only makes sense that these should be overshadowed by games where we put up 50 shots and lose when weak wristers end up in the back of the net.

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I'm not blaming Price for our playoff eliminations. His performances were a contibuting factor but hardly the only one. But - even assuming Neech's analysis (which I share) is overly critical - I also don't know how two good games out of four is considered adequate playoff goaltending. It's not. And as long as that kind of performance is what Price brings to the table, we will not win the Cup even IF we have a team that is strong enough to do so in other areas.

You have faith (I assume) that some day Price will put it all together in the playoffs. I have shared in this faith as well, and still do to an extent. But there's a limit, and I'm just saying it's appropriate to think that limit is approaching.

As for the parallel with Roy, it's faculty for the obvious reason that Roy had already won a Conn Smythe when he went through those struggles. If Roy hadn't had the 1986 Cup on his resume, the concern of fans about his spotty playoffs prior to 1993 would certainly have been warranted; and if he had never had that 1993 run and the superb playoffs that followed thereafter, but had rather continued to stink out the joint in the playoffs, he would now be remembered as Steve Penney.

Price, by contrast, has thus far given us the spotty performances without the Cup. So the concern is doubly warranted here - at least Roy had shown irrefutably that he was able to find that other level in the playoffs.

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I'm not blaming Price for our playoff eliminations. His performances were a contibuting factor but hardly the only one. But - even assuming Neech's analysis (which I share) is overly critical - I also don't know how two good games out of four is considered adequate playoff goaltending. It's not. And as long as that kind of performance is what Price brings to the table, we will not win the Cup even IF we have a team that is strong enough to do so in other areas.

You have faith (I assume) that some day Price will put it all together in the playoffs. I have shared in this faith as well, and still do to an extent. But there's a limit, and I'm just saying it's appropriate to think that limit is approaching.

As for the parallel with Roy, it's faculty for the obvious reason that Roy had already won a Conn Smythe when he went through those struggles. If Roy hadn't had the 1986 Cup on his resume, the concern of fans about his spotty playoffs prior to 1993 would certainly have been warranted; and if he had never had that 1993 run and the superb playoffs that followed thereafter, but had rather continued to stink out the joint in the playoffs, he would now be remembered as Steve Penney.

Price, by contrast, has thus far given us the spotty performances without the Cup. So the concern is doubly warranted here - at least Roy had shown irrefutably that he was able to find that other level in the playoffs.

The issue with this is that you've pretty much said that a goaltender is not worth his entire career of play but can be completely evaluated based on just a single post-season.

So I have to ask you. Who would you prefer? Cam Ward or Henrik Lundqvist? It's a fair question. Both goaltenders of similar age and experience. One has a Cup, one has a Vezina. If you had to pick a goalie over Price and could only choose between those two, no contract consideration, who would you select? One ring or being the best goalie in the league every year?

It just seems to me any time someone wants to express disappointment in Price it really boils down to, "If he doesn't win a Cup for us soon I'm going to judge him negatively". It really feels like everyone would just ignore his previous performances if he had the Ring, positively or negatively. Which is silly and unfair to be honest.

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I love your question about Ward vs. Lundquist. I'd have to think that one over. However, based on stats alone Lundquist has developed into a far superior playoff goalie to Price, while Price (unlike Ward) has yet to get anywhere in the playoffs, so neither analogy is applicable, really.

But just to be clear:

a) I'm not saying that unless Price wins a Cup he will be a failure. What I'm saying is that if he develops a career pattern of turning in mediocre personal playoff performances, THEN he will be a failure. Absolutely a crucial consideration in evaluating any player's career is how they performed when games matter most. Thus far Price's record is middling to poor - enough of a pattern to be worrisome.

b) I'm not saying that a "single post season" be used to evaluate his career. I'm talking about the pattern of his career so far; and that pattern is one of spotty personal playoff performance. The point of emphasizing this year as "defining" is to say that after this season, the pattern - if it continues - will no longer be excusable or easily denied. It becomes a defining characteristic of his profile. Sure, he may eventually buck the trend, but the longer it goes on the less rational it is to cling religiously to that hope.

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If Price did what Rask did last playoffs his past struggles will be erased and we'll view him as an asset in the postseason rather than a potential liability. I'd even lean this way if he even puts up two or three excellent rounds without cracking (like Lundqvist the past two years). The problem is that we've only seen that once, for only one round. If he cracks again next time, it will be hard for me, most fans, and probably his teammates, to continue having faith in him.

So I guess it's true that this will be a defining season for Price, but also true that the last few were and the next one will be defining as well.

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Again, it's damn much easier when your team score more than 2 goals. Be it playoffs or regular season.

In the past years, we were asking for a goaltending win EVERY game. Shouldn't be that way. Never.

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Again, it's damn much easier when your team score more than 2 goals. Be it playoffs or regular season.

In the past years, we were asking for a goaltending win EVERY game. Shouldn't be that way. Never.

The Kings won the Cup winning every game 2-1.

Of course we need better offense in the playoffs. We also need better goaltending. No team will get very far without either.

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Price let the team down with a poor end to the season and a poor playoff. Its on his shoulders to play better. Habs would have taken the sens out in 6 last year if Price was decent, so is this make or break? Maybe, maybe not, but it will be interesting to see how he performs to start the year.

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