The Ageing Veteran Perspective
There are many question marks in the Hab’s organization this summer. One aspect of the team that no one wants to see in that category is Carey Price. Price has been far and away the brightest light in Montreal for years. Last season many began to openly wonder whether that is all in the past. It is a theme that we have seen before a few times in his career. And one that has never stretched beyond the off season.
The 2015-2016 NHL season saw Price with an injury that his underwhelming performance can be attributed to. Fans don’t like to think about the injury that ended the previous season’s playoff run in the offseason, either. Last year, however, there wasn’t an injury to pin his lack luster performance on. For stretches of the game here and there, he would appear to be the Carey Price fans know and love, but when the team needed a big save, the puck never seemed to stay out of the net. Price ended the season with a .900 save percentage – the lowest of his career. There were many aspects of the Canadiens that underperformed; however, Price’s save percentage made it all the more apparent when in previous years Price’s play would cover up many of his teammates’ mistakes.
Taking a look back over his career, when he has previously had what is considered a “poor” season, the next year he returns to form and proves why he is considered one of the best. In 2008-2009, he finished with a .905 and had many fans asking whether he was the real deal. The following season, he backed that up with .912 and .923 the season after that. When fans and the media were questioning him about his play in 2010 preason, he famously told everyone to “relax, chill out”. And his play that season made everyone do just that. That season was filled with highlights and ovations from adoring fans, screaming his name in the Bell Center.
In 2012-2013 he played a limited 39 games, but again didn’t have great numbers. In 2013-2014 he was back with .927. Following that season he was crowned the NHL’s best, finishing with .933 and taking home The Vezina, Heart, Jennings and Ted Lindsay awards.
An off year for him does happen, but given his past, we should expect nothing but greatness from him going forward this season. Whether the team as a whole bounces back is a different story, but with Carey Price shutting down the league’s top scorers and sending the fans in Montreal into a frenzy, anything is possible.