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Under Pressure: Carey Price

Sep 19, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT

anxiouspricegetty Getty Images

“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

The Montreal Canadiens player under the most pressure is … Carey Price.

OK, Price will probably be under the most pressure of any Montreal player every season until he’s no longer the No. 1. That comes with the territory when you’re the franchise netminder for an organization that’s been spoiled by the likes of Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden. The difference is that he’s coming off one of the worst campaigns of his young career.

Price acknowledged the scrutiny and history in an ESPN the Magazine profile.

“It’s impossible not to notice,” Price says. “I’ve gotten used to it, but every day, they’re there.”

Individual struggles amid team success

The strange thing about the Habs’ shocking 2013 Northeast Division title win is that, in many ways, the team dragged Price to the finish line instead of the other way around.

The 26-year-old’s 21-13-4 record was solid enough, yet his .905 save percentage matched his career-worst regular season mark from 2008-09, and he was weaker in the playoffs (1-2 with an .894 save percentage in Ottawa’s four-game sweep). He really fell apart late in the season, when the spotlight only grew brighter.

Montreal still overachieved by almost anyone’s expectations, but Habs fans won’t be so patient if this turns out to be more than an off-year for Price.

Be careful what you wish for

It’s tough enough to struggle in one of hockey’s most passionate markets. The fact that Price is one of the highest-paid NHL goalies with a $6.5 million cap hit only intensifies the pressure.

The 2013 season showed that Michel Therrien’s system and the assets GM Marc Bergevin stockpiled can produce at least one playoff team, even with Price off his game. The negative side is that the Habs aren’t quite the under-the-radar team they were last year, feeding an appetite among fans for a return to contender status.

For the Habs to match last year’s success or even exceed it, it’s nearly certain that they’ll need and expect more from Price.

At least he’s as used to it as any person can get.

For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.

  1. blomfeld - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    YES AND NO …

    While I personally applaud PHT for this new product entitled ‘Under Pressure’ they’d nonetheless be wise to tread ‘carefully’ when poking fun at Carey Price eh ? Regardless, I wish that they could also run a new product concurrently entitled ‘Esprit de corps’ which would feature daily articles about the ‘glorious’ members of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings ! Hang on man, is that Pulitzer I hear calling ? :)

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      I wonder what song you’ll post when they do an “Under Pressure” for your “Kings”

      • blomfeld - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        QUEEN ?

        One of the quintessential ‘avant-garde’ rock bands of the ages ! All ‘classically’ trained musicians in the field of music and fronted by a ‘talented & charismatic’ lead singer who lived life to the fullest ! Without a doubt, Queen is one of the greatest acts to have ever taken the stage !

        And your point is ?

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:35 AM

        My point is it’s ok to play good music once in a while. What did you think my point was?

      • blomfeld - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Fair enough friend. I initially detected ‘possible’ malice, however I was wrong. Yes, it’s ‘excellent’ to play great music once in a while, such as this ‘questionable’ selection of yours above (ie: hey man, people could easily misinterpret that video as a knock on the Kings for being the toughest team in the league eh?). You may have noticed that I also like to add the ‘occasional’ musical offering here at PHT with my commentary along with an ‘interesting’ sprinkling of historical and economic references. It’s very cutting edge and it keeps things ‘front & center’ where they ought to be ! :)

  2. themagicman1223 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Should be Desharnais in this segment, want to know why? Because Desharnais has 2 young players pushing for his spot who are better. Eller is going to prove again that he’s better in every facet of the game while Galchenyuk has a breakout season this year. Time to go Desharnais, p.s you should really work on your defensive positioning.

  3. themagicman1223 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Also there’s no way Price is worse than last year, we have improved our defense. Tinordi should be a good internal addition to our blue line and Murray is going to help clear the crease. Not to mention our new goalie coach Waite is really going to help Price, I just hope Therrien’s going to stop being so mule headed and play P.K on the penalty kill. In 2011-12 Subban was a mainstay on our penalty kill and we had one of the best in the leagues.

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Sep 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    This Habs team is not intimidating in the least. They had a hot half of a half season that propelled them to a division title (which they barely hung on to), then they came back to earth as the midlevel squad their talent suggests. It’s been said a million times but they no size up front, their defense is solid (but unspectacular), and their franchise goalie is beatable. I can see Boston, Detroit, Toronto, and Ottawa all finishing ahead of them in the atlantic division.

    • blomfeld - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Agreed. The Habs are going nowhere, pure and simple.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Sep 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        They could take the 4th spot if one of the others stumble. Not out of the question. Think the Bruins, Sens and Wings are most likely in the playoffs

      • blomfeld - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        Solutions … that’s possible, however the bar was left so high by Guy & friends that all of this current crap is essentially meaningless … sad as that may be :(

  5. themagicman1223 - Sep 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I wish I had a crystal ball like you guys, boy would it be sweet to predict the future.

    • thesportsjudge - Sep 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      You mean kind of like you did hours earlier?

      • themagicman1223 - Sep 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        I have no idea what you’re talking about, I have shared my opinion about Price. Last year was terrible and we have made adjustments on our defense. Price had a terrible year, he has shown he’s a better goalie than this. Saying as a fact that the habs are going nowhere is just plain stupid, his comment wasn’t shared as an opinion.

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