Rabid Habs

The Forum: Carey Price Is The Most Valuable Hab Since?

Habs' Carey Price

Carey Price has put the Habs on his back this season and is operating on another level entirely at the moment. There’s no doubt this is Carey’s team and they’ll go as far as he takes them. He’s currently leading the Vezina conversation and is even pressing the issue when it comes to the Hart.

Considering his importance to the team, it’s safe to say the 2014-2015 version of Carey Price is most valuable single player to the Habs since ____________.

Kyle (@kyleroussel) – Would it be cheap to say Jose Theodore, the last goalie to win the Vezina and Hart in the same year? Theo was as spectacular in that one season as Price is today. I think it’s been easy/convenient for us to forget that given how Theo’s time in Montreal came to a screeching halt for quality of play and perceived character issues. I also think that Theo had a very short window of dominance, which might make some people want to look further back to Roy, but the comparisons are just too similar for me to overlook Theo’s contributions before Propecia and biker gang allegations derailed everything. Certainly, I can’t think of a regular skater who meant as much to the team’s bottom line in the standings in one single season as Theo did about a dozen years ago.

Zach (@ZachVanasse) – I’m tempted to say since the last goalie who won the Hart and Vezina for Montreal: Jose Theodore in 2001-2002.

That season saw Jose Theodore drag a bad team that had no right to make the playoffs into the playoffs.

What we have with Carey is quite different. Grantland’s Sean McIndoe (aka Down Goes Brown) put it succinctly: The Habs are a good-but-not-great team being dragged into contention by Hart-caliber goaltending from Carey Price.

The point being, Carey Price isn’t just taking a team into the playoffs, he’s turned the Habs into legit Stanley Cup contenders, pretty much entirely based on his play alone.

Which to me sounds more like 1993 or 1986, when ol’ what’s his name played it cool and calm between the pipes for the good guys.

Steph (@stephdarwish) -If this question was (or will) be posed at the end of a Stanley Cup championship, then I will say the answer is Patrick Roy.

But until that time, Price is the most valuable player to the Habs since Theodore.

Though, I also feel like Theodore’s value was so short lived, truly only that one great season, that I don’t know if in the future it will be fair to even try and compare Price to Theodore. Over the last 2 seasons Price has become everything we thought he could be, and I see nothing preventing him from continuing.

I’d like to also throw out Vincent Damphousse into the mix. Yes, Roy was the hero of 92-93, but it was a hell of a season for Damphousse and an excellent playoffs.

John (@LWOScjcasselman) – In my opinion, no position in professional sports is as critical to a team’s success then that of the goaltender. Good goaltending masks deficiencies and covers flaws throughout a lineup. Although the Montreal Canadiens – version 2014-15 – are an improved club, Carey Price is the player most responsible for the Habs success.

I am hesitant to make historical comparisons with goaltenders who have won Cups (Roy in ’86 and ’93). Perhaps this could be revisited in mid-June, however, as the question is presented today, I believe it most fitting to draw a parallel between Price today and Theodore in 2001-02. Again, in Montreal, success is determined not by what a player accomplishes in the regular season, but what he does in the postseason. I do believe Price can and will win a Stanley Cup.

So, on the premise that goaltending is the most pivotal position and that the playoffs are the greatest measure of a player’s historical significance in Montreal, then I conclude that Price is of greatest importance since Halak’s playoff charge.

Price and Halak, forever linked.

Sean (@TheONeillFactor) – Alexei Vyacheslavovich Kovalev was born in a desolate Soviet backwater named Tolyatti in the Spring of 1973, a mere four months before Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev began a series of historic bilateral peace talks. It is undetermined what role, if any, the birth of the Hockey Christ Child played in the detente.

By 1991, Kovalev’s on-ice prowress was such that the New York Rangers made him the first Russian born-player to be drafted in the first round of the NHL entry draft – a mere six months later, the USSR dissolved. Scholars have yet to disprove my notion that Kovalev’s stickhandling skills were largely responsible for the Evil Empire’s demise. As a Ranger, Kovalev played a key role in bringing the Stanley Cup to Manhattan for the first time in 54 years, a move that may have foreshadowed the stock market boom of the mid- to-late 1990s. After leaving New York, Kovalev traveled to Western Pennsylvania, where he combined with Mario Lemieux to form the closest thing anyone in the NHL has ever seen to Lennon and McCartney. Kovalev nobly left Pittsburgh in the Spring of 2003, knowing that his departure would help pave the way for the Malkin and Crosby-led puck rennaissance in the Steel City.

It is in Montreal, however, that hockey’s Forrest Gump truly found his calling. The most artistic player of his generation thrilled hockey’s most passionate fans, eliciting oohs and ahhhs with his speed and skill. Kovalev also made unique contributions to the field of language, always an issue in Quebec, by helping to redefine the term “enigmatic.”

Ultimately, however, the most valuable Hab of the pre-Carey Price era did not belong to one city, but to all of hockey-kind. Not even Montreal could contain the immensity of his talent nor the abundance of his gifts – so off he went, like a hockey Johnny Appleseed, to spread the gospel of sublime stickhandling and blistering one-timers to the undeserving masses in Ottawa and Sunrise, Florida. Is there a difference between walking on water in its liquid form and skating on water in its solid form? With Alexei Vyacheslavovich Kovalev, I am not so sure.

Also, he did this.

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