Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The reasoning becomes muddied

So, the franchise goalie is getting another opportunity to sink the franchise. Maybe this is why it isn't wise to have your general manager behind the bench, because a GM isn't able to exclusively think of the here and now, he always has the future on his mind.

For the future of the franchise, it may in fact be a good move to start Carey Price tonight in a crucial game against a hot Atlanta Thrashers team. He did, after all, only allow one goal against them while his teammates totally messed the bed in that 2-0 loss in Atlanta, so maybe Price has this team's number.

But looked at from an objective point of view, Jaroslav Halak has been by far the better of the two goalies since New Year's and he needed to be given a vote of confidence that one bad game will not cost him his spot in front of the Canadiens net. He has to be wondering what he needs to do to get the same leniancy Price does. Unfortunately, Halak can't go back in time and get drafted fifth overall, so he appears doomed to this fate.

So what happens if Price lets in an early softie? How long does Gainey stick with his man? What do the players think of this continued reclamation project, because I would have to believe many of them feel Halak gives them their best chance to win tonight even though Price is very popular in that room.

If Price is the reason the Canadiens lose tonight, then Gainey will have once and for all proven that stepping behind the bench himself when there were qualified coaches available was a fatal error. Wouldn't the fans and media have accepted a unilingual Don Lever on an interim basis, especially if he turned the team's fortunes around? Don't you think Lever would have jumped at the chance?

I hope Price proves me wrong, that he proves all the great things everyone has said about his character and focus come shining through tonight, that this game is the one that turns around a nightmare of a season.

But something tells me I'm right.


Anonymous said...

truly disappointing decision. nk

kyleroussel said...

I agree.

Gainey carries his long-term view as a General Manager behind the bench with him, to the detriment of now. I don't necessarily think that's always a bad thing, but I think the treatment that Halak has received has been rotten.

You hit the nail on the head - what does he have to do to get the same leniency as Price? It seems as though Gainey begrudgingly turns to Halak when it's clear that Price is messed up. But if Halak drops the ball once - he's out. The worst thing that happened to Halak was getting the flu. He was on fire at the time, stopping everything fired at him. Gainey, of course HAD to go back to Price during Halak's sickness, but was intent on letting Price carry the ball until he dropped it again. Which he did.

I think at this point we can safely say that the team's slide has far less to do with the coaching than what's between the players' ears. They're rattled to the point of giving up on the season.

I'm not sure what that means (or should mean) for Gainey, but it's clear that the problems that have infested this team did so under his watch. He assembled this bunch. He said Carbo was his best move since becoming GM 5 years ago, then fired him 2 months later. He assumed coaching duties, where things have only gotten worse.

This IS his fault, but again, I don't know what that should mean for him.

Anonymous said...

Good synopsis Kyle:
Gainey has assembled this fragile ego bunch. Thankfully we did get 2 points tonight and Price looks like it is his job to lose again until we run out of games. Too bad Halak had a bad game against the Leafs he surley missed his oppourtunity (the team does play with more confidence in front of him). They still look a little shaky and Higgins, Latendresse, A Kots and Plecks are still not playing hard enough and keep on turning the puck over.