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.
Mar 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
Has the Wild’s savior goalie done enough to make him a Vezina Trophy finalist?
Mar 30, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
Joins Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr on the shelf.
Mar 30, 2015, 11:23 AM EDT
Bruins in a much better spot after a successful weekend. (Not so for the Sens.)
Mar 30, 2015, 10:59 AM EDT
Vermont goalie Brody Hoffman and Minnesota State blueliner Zach Palmquist come aboard.
Mar 30, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT
Tampa Bay is chasing Montreal in the race for the Atlantic Division title.
Mar 30, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT
John Gibson stood tall versus New Jersey on Sunday.
Mar 30, 2015, 8:33 AM EDT
Both have plenty they still want to accomplish in their final regular season games.
Mar 30, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT
Monday’s collection of links.
Mar 30, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT
Perron and Crosby scored in the shootout for the win.
Mar 29, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT
Chicago moves into third in the Central Division.
Mar 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT
He left the broadcast for stitches, but did return.
Mar 29, 2015, 10:02 PM EDT
New York snapped a seven-game home losing streak.
Mar 29, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT
Pastrnak scored the OT winner.
Mar 29, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT
Ottawa has lost three straight.
Mar 29, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT
Michael Ferland’s first NHL goal was the winner.
Mar 29, 2015, 6:51 PM EDT
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Mar 29, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT
Jimmy Howard is on in relief.
Mar 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT
Washington scored four unanswered to beat New York 5-2.
Mar 29, 2015, 4:54 PM EDT
Buffalo has the best odds of drafting him.
Mar 29, 2015, 4:17 PM EDT
Will he get one next season?
- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 2
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 6
- NHL on NBCSN: Stakes high for Kings, ‘Hawks tonight 14
- Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’ 12
- Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head 13
- Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds 6
- Letang concussed, Penguins will dress five defensemen 18
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks desperate for wins, Penguins seek definitive end to slump 7
- Video: Bolts lose Garrison, Paquette in loss to Wings 4
- Bruins ruin Lundqvist’s return 28