Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emotional maturity still a problem for Habs Price


Carey Price got a second misconduct penalty for this immature tap from the bench to Nicklas backstrom Wednesday night. – photo: Reuters

For the last couple seasons, we’ve heard from fans and bloggers alike that Carey Price needs to mature a few more years before he begins to the excel in the Montreal Canadiens goal.

The end of the third period on Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals showed evidence of that process is clearly needed at the emotional level.

On two separate occasions, the Habs netminder took unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Both incidents are shown in the video below. It is followed with some post-game comments by Price.

The essential response from Price on the first infraction comes out this way, “It’s frustration. It’s not a good move. Let them know I’m there.”

To the next question, Price responds, “ I didn’t actually mean to hit them.”

So he admits that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I’m stumped when he said, “Let them know I’m there” ? Sounds like there was intent to at least get the puck in the Capitals vicinity.

I never made it to the pros,or anything close for that matter, as people who play with me can attest to, but one thing I’ve never done in a game playing goal is shoot a puck at an opposing player or official. That’s just plain stupid.

Slam your stick on the post, yes. Shove or poke an opposing player in your crease short of going full Hextall, hell yes. Give your team mates crap, fine. But shoot a puck like that?

Just under eight minutes later, the boy wonder gives Nicklas Backstrom a tap on the leg from the bench.

Strike two on this one as it was clearly deliberate when seen in the below video and more stated in the top photo. You can see Price’s glove hand move the stick at Backstrom around the 52 second mark.

Coaches and teammates were quick to defend Price, who will not be disciplined for either infraction by the NHL.

"He's an emotional person but he's still learning," said Canadiens coach Jacques Martin post-game. "You don't want to take away that passion, you just want to direct it the right way."

Martin continued to back his netminder following Thursday’s team meeting, “You need to have emotion, it’s really important to play with it in a game at a high level. But at the same time, you have to have controlled emotion.”

“I’ve said it all year, I love Carey’s passion,” said team mate Mike Cammalleri. “There’s nothing better than when he shows it.”

Controlled emotion or common sense? I can think of two or three NHL coaches that would not have been to generous in their assumptions.

I can also remember another incident or two, where Price’s “passion” was questioned last season.

Immaturity aside, expect to see #31 between the pipes Friday night. Price clearly wasn’t to blame for the overall end result.

The Ovechkin snow job: I never saw it at the start of the game, but the tweets I read post-game made it sound like he sprayed him with a water bottle.

Get over it, folks. He does that every game and maybe he’ll be a little more careful next time. The kid shouldn’t of been waiving the flag in front of the Capitals door anyways. Besides, he was likely the most popular kid in school today.

Habs Playoff Fact: The Canadiens have only come back from a 3-1 series deficit once in the franchise’s history.

Spacek out for Game Five: Jaroslav Spacek didn’t make the trip to Washington as he continues to battle a virus. That means the Canadiens will field the same six defenceman used in Game Four.

Hamrlik ice-time on the decline: La Presse’s Marc-Antione Godin made this notable tweet this afternoon, “Roman Hamrlik has been used less and less in the Mtl-Was series. His ice time has dropped from 23:19 to 15:27 in a four-game span.”

Interesting, given the loss of Spacek for Wednesday’s game. Then again he’s been the goat on both of the Capitals short-handed goals in the series. Personally I don’t understand using the aging rearguard on the power play to begin with.

Looking for work:  It’s a real shame that Moscow Dynamo will cease to be. The loss of the 64-year-old Russian hockey franchise would be the equivalent to an Original Six NHL team (yes even the Leafs) either folding or merging with say, Florida.

Dynamo is the second most famous club team in Russia, behind Central Red Army.

An excellent piece on the teams decline from TSN features insight from Yahoo! Sports’ Dimitri Chesnokov, who broke the story last week.

The club will release all players, coaches and staff on April 30.

One of the soon-to-be unemployed is former Habs prospect Pavel Valentenko, who bolted the Hamilton Bulldogs for the KHL. He is now NHL property of the New York Rangers following the Scott Gomez trade.


kyleroussel said...

I don't put too much stock in what Price did. Frankly I find it a little refreshing that under Jacques Martin, someone shows a little emotion.

On the other hand, he was heavily criticized for this mock gesture to the fans last playoff season, which was NOT smart.

Some might say that when you look at that event, then fast forward to this year, that there has been very little emotional maturity gained.

I don't know if I'm ready to believe that, but he's certainly not doing himself any favors.

Kevin aka "yathehabsrule" said...

I was thinking of that incident in last season's Game Two as well.

I took another look at that video, while putting this piece together, and realized Kirk Muller was following him out.

Muller even looked a little surprised.

Andrew Berkshire said...

We're so hard on our own players. The shooting the puck thing is so overblown it's unreal. You can see in the video that Price isn't even looking where he shoots the puck as he releases it. When he's pissed in games, he regularly fires the puck down the ice after a goal against. Is still think that unsportsmanlike penalty was complete BS. Talk about refs kicking a team when they're down.

Makes no sense to me that everyone is saying Ovechkin should be absolved of everything for snowing that kid for no reason, yet Price in the passion of a game, shoots a puck that hits a capital and he's immature.