Friday, March 13, 2009

Expect the unexpected

I figured it would take a major letdown on the part of Carey Price for him to take a seat on the bench, and he certainly hasn't had that.

I suppose some could argue he should have had the the overtime winner by Kyle Okposo on Thursday night, and maybe even the Islanders first goal. But considering the saves he did make in that game, it would be a completely unfair argument to make.

So when Bob Gainey announced that Jaroslav Halak would be starting in goal Saturday night with the mighty New Jersey Devils in town seeking to get their goalie a share of the NHL's all-time wins record, it was a decision that was curious, to say the least.

I guess the lesson here is to assume nothing with Gainey making the day-to-day decisions, because I actually was under the impression Guy Carbonneau's refusal to stick with Price through thick and thin was one of the reasons he was fired. I was apparently wrong, because if there was one time to stick with Price, I would think Saturday night would be it.

Halak is being placed into a difficult position, one that I'm not sure is entirely fair to him, or to Price for that matter. With the way the Habs have been playing of late, a goalie's going to need to be sharp to face the Devils and Halak hasn't played a game in two weeks. By the same token, Price looked to be getting into a real groove over the past few games and now has to sit and watch it.

I just don't get it.


Arjun said...

My theory: Bob hates hockey. And Patrice Brisebois. Not that I usually put those two ideas into one sentence. But I put them into two sentences. But still hockey does not equal Brisebois. Though I like the idea that Brisebois will get a ceremony while everyone in the building will be thinking about Brodeur.

V said...

I doubt playing/not playing Price was the main reason Guy was fired.

I don't think it's reasonable for Price to play 82 games a season. Or even 70. Maybe 50, but that's about as high as I'd go.

This brings us back to a question that I don't think Guy dealt with very well. When do you sit the main goalie? When Price was playing really well early on in the season, Halak didn't get very many starts. Combined with the fact that Halak often lost even when he played well, I think Price got too many games. And his injuries may have been a result of playing too much, and were probably at least a factor.

So if you accept the fact that both goalies share the job, and you decide it's not fair for one goalie to get the easy/hard/important/dull games, it's not a big deal to switch them around somewhat randomly.

And the fact of the matter is, playing reasonably well, Price hasn't single-handedly won the last couple of games. Just before this stretch, Halak did. So let's see what's happened: Price was given a stretch of easy/hard games to get his groove back, and Halak put in against the tough to defeat Devils. Halak had to be pulled against them last time. I'd say this move shows Gainey's confidence in BOTH goalies. Halak can improve on his performance, and Price can let it not bother him.

We'll see what the result is in a while, I suppose!