Although Brian Gionta chose to deny that the argument took place, it appeared to me that it was generally acknowledged that some words were exchanged between the two. Whether or not the entire team took sides in the argument, as was reported, is an entirely different matter.
I'm not going to on and on about the incident or what was said about it, particularly Markov's view that reporters should be trying to help the team out because they're going through a rough patch. He knows very well it doesn't work like that, and the team gets all the support it needs when things are going well. Why? Because it's a reflection of their play. The media will be critical when you play poorly. It's obvious, I know, but I feel it needs mentioning because a lot of people tend to think the media is all negative all the time. That's simply not true.
But my beef with what happened in Brossard today has nothing to so with what Markov said, or that Josh Gorges is concerned that news like that is being leaked out of the room, or Max Lapierre comparing it to a fight between brothers that is settled at the dinner table.
No, it has to do with the fact that Carey Price wasn't around to talk about it. He's been in this city long enough to know that this would be what all the media would be talking about, and it would have spared his teammates from having to do it on his behalf if he'd simply come out and spent five or 10 minutes answering questions about it.
Listen, I'm not going to begin thinking that the average fan really cares about the players' and the organization's media policies, because I could write a dissertation on the topic but I won't because I don't think it's of interest.
But what might be of interest is my beef with Price, because it might be symptomatic of a more global mishandling of a young talent.
Price's media exposure has probably been the most micro-managed PR initiative I have ever seen in nearly 10 years of covering the team. His age and the position he plays made it so. I remember once during his first playoffs he was answering questions following a loss, and after four or five a Habs PR person stepped in and said, "OK kid, you're done."
That never happens. As it turns out, there were tons of reporters that didn't get a chance to talk to him that day. A similar veil of media protection has surrounded Price ever since. He rarely talks to reporters at home after a loss any more, which is a standard requirement of any starting goalie in the league.
Today was another example of where both Price and the team's PR knew very well this would be a story, and it would have been good of Price to come out and face the music, especially after orchestrating that hug with Markov following practice. Instead, it was his teammates that had to entertain the media on Price's behalf, answering questions about him. I can tell you from experience that players find that incredibly annoying, especially when that player could just as easily come out and answer the questions himself.
I'll admit that I can't say for sure whether Price's lack of availability these days comes from Price himself or from the PR staff of the team. But either way, I'm wondering whether or not this might be another symptom of the supposed sense of entitlement a lot of people seem to think Price has. If he's permitted to blow off media responsibilities while pretty much every other player has to do it, what else is Price allowed to get away with? Is this another example of the organization coddling him?
I'm just asking the question, while fully admitting that I don't know the answer. But to me, that answer should be of interest to the typical fan, even if media access to a certain player isn't.
Having said that, how many of you can honestly say you wouldn't have liked to have heard Price's opinion on the incident today?