Rabid Habs

Price Shoulda Been Pulled

Habs' Carey Price

I wrote a post back in November arguing that Michel Therrien made the right decision when he elected to keep Al Montoya in net despite allowing 10 goals in a 10-0 beat-down by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

At the time I argued that Carey Price should be saved for the following night and that it was best not to put Price in cold given the knee injury that kept him out most of 2015-16.

Fast forward to Thursday night in Minnesota and Price was lit up for seven goals. Unlike November’s game, I feel like the wrong decision was made to leave Price in.

First of all, pulling a goalie can send a message to the team and/or goalie that the way they are playing is not okay. Price should be treated as any other player. If a skater doesn’t perform, he is benched. If a goalie has a bad game, he should also be benched. Even the best goalies in the world get pulled from time to time.

Sometimes pulling the goalie can even result in a team coming back to win. An obvious example of that would be tonight’s contest in Philadelphia where the Flyers pulled starter Steve Mason for Michal Neuvirth in the 3rd period and Philadelphia went on to tie the game and win in a shootout. The obvious difference being Montreal was down four goals instead of just one.  Nevertheless, even if Montreal still lost, there is a chance their game might have turned around with Montoya in nets.

One reason Therrien might have kept Price in net tonight was because, as you may recall, Price looked pretty upset when he was pulled against San Jose. This argument does not hold because Therrien is the coach and he has to make decisions that might hurt a player’s feelings. Besides, Price is a professional and should be able to handle being pulled from a game.

Looking ahead, Montreal has a busy week with 5 games over the next nine days. Price will likely get the start in 3 or 4 of those games. Why not take Price out of this game and have him a bit fresher for Saturday vs. the Rangers? Price is also scheduled to play in the All-star Game at the end of the month. This means Price will not get the rest most of his teammates will enjoy that weekend. It is important to have Price fresh for the playoffs. In blowout games, he should be pulled.

The big test will be how Price responds in his next start. Unlike Montoya, Price won’t have to wait long, and I’m confident he’ll respond with a strong effort on Saturday against the New York Rangers.