Sep 19, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT
“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.
“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.
May 4, 2015, 10:28 PM EDT
It was his first shutout of the 2015 playoffs.
May 4, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT
It’s part of the leadup to the Detroit vs. Colorado outdoor game.
May 4, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT
Andre Burakovsky got his first career playoff point.
May 4, 2015, 8:23 PM EDT
“Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”
May 4, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT
All three have won the Stanley Cup.
May 4, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT
Her husband faces domestic violence charges.
May 4, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT
The series is tied at 1-1.
May 4, 2015, 5:42 PM EDT
And they’ll gladly keep taking man advantage opportunities, too.
May 4, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
“Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”
May 4, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT
Big news from the Devils.
May 4, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
And Glen Sather isn’t sure he’ll ever permit it, either.
May 4, 2015, 3:10 PM EDT
“I have to get to the inside; that’s the biggest thing.”
May 4, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
The Ducks have been deadly on the power play, unlike during the regular season.
May 4, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
Youth-laden squad continues to impress.
May 4, 2015, 1:12 PM EDT
“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us.”
May 4, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Virtanen was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft.
May 4, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT
Jets’ AHL team will play at the MTS Centre next season.
May 4, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
He’s hoping to “find a way to get a bigger role.”
May 4, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
“Prust has engaged himself in something that’s going to take him into an area where he doesn’t want to be part of.”
May 4, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT
So says Bruce Boudreau.
- Holtby outduels Lundqvist as Caps take series lead 0
- WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Capitals 3
- Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’ 49
- End of an era in New Jersey as Shero replaces Lamoriello as GM 24
- Once again, Rick Nash isn’t scoring in the playoffs 22
- Video: U.S. stays unbeaten at Worlds with win over defending champs Russia 9
- Andersen shuts out Flames as Ducks stay perfect in playoffs 6
- Wild can’t contain ‘Hawks star forwards in Game 2 43
- Prust blasts referee Watson after getting tossed from Game 2 28
- Stamkos, power play comes alive as Lightning take 2-0 series lead vs. Habs 29
- Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay (116)
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- Lightning’s Bishop silences Red Wings in hard fought Game 7 (81)
- ‘You can’t win,’ ex-NHL ref Fraser says of Prust incident (77)
- Babcock won’t discuss future yet, but sees challenges ahead for Wings (76)