Friday, February 01, 2008

Price Keeping His Spirits Up In Hamilton

From Pierre Durocher in today's Le Journal de Montreal

Roland Melanson has worked with Carey Price in Hamilton for four days this past week and says that he isn't worried about the future star goaltender in the least.

"He's had his ups and downs, but his performance mirrors that of the Bulldogs, who have but one experienced defenseman in their ranks, J.P. Cote", Melanson said upon returning to the Canadiens in Washington yesterday.

"The starting six defenseman are very young in Hamilton with the losses of Mathieu Biron and Joel Bouchard. Last season, veteran's such as Dan Jancevski were a great help to our young goalies."

Melanson, who was working on technical points with Price without specifying which, says he is fully confident that his student will rebound. Patience is needed in evaluating his progress.

Price's statistics in Hamilton aren't impressive. He has four wins and four losses, with a 3.29 goals against average and an .878 save percentage.

"Carey has played well, despite the last two losses, scores of 4-0 and 2-0. The team in front of him has been completely flat."

"It is completely normal for a goalie of 20 years old to hit some roadbumps in his first professional season. At least Price has passed some very impressive tests early in his career, such as a World Junior Championship and a Calder Cup win. He can't always play in such an emotional context."

Melanson agrees that Price is following an established plan set out for him by the team.

"It is a gradual adaptation for him", Melanson says, "He represents part of the Canadiens future and he needs to play regularly".

In Melanson's view, Price's confidence wasn't affected by being sent to work in Hamilton.

"His morale is good. The effort is there and I like his attitude. He's hardly the type to turn to excuse when he has a bad game."

Melanson knows better than to attempt to modify Price's style and composure.

"He sometimes appears nonchalant and you can't change that", the coach admits. "It's an asset too appear calm and cool in all situations. It shouldn't be perceived as an attitude when he has a less than stellar game".

Even though he has yet to start a game with the Habs this season, Jaroslav Halak will continue to serve as Cristobal Huet's backup as the team has decided to leave Price in Hamilton another week or so.

"The Bulldogs are playing tonight and tomorrow in Manitoba and the situation will be evaluated afterwards", says Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau. "Halak is working hard in practice should his services be called upon".

Update: Price won his game tonight against the Manitoba Moose 2-1. He stopped 21 of 22 shots, and four more in the shootout for the win. The Bulldogs goal was Milroy from D'Agnostini and Manlow. D'Agnostini had six shots on goal. Milroy and Daniel Corso scored for Hamilton in the shootout. Both teams meet again on Saturday.


CheGordito said...

They've got two games this weekend. Do you think Huet will start both? I have a feeling they'll put Halak in on the 2nd day to not tire Huet out for the rest of the busy month. Or am I being unreasonable in thinking that?

Robert L said...

I'd opt for Halak against the Isles on Saturday and save Huet for the stronger team, but my guess is that Huet plays both.

Tom said...

I have to agree with Robert. The Isles have little in the way of offense so Halak would be my choice leaving the Rangers for Huet.

Robert L said...

I'd have to agree with Tom agreeing with me!

Still I sense Huet playing both and Price being called up when a rest is needed, which would be soon after if carey does well this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by Tom. I do my best to respond to all the sensible comments posted here whenever I am able. I hope you enjoy the blog.


Anonymous said...

why are we are all so reluctant o play Halak. In my opinion if Halak had started against Toronto
in the last game of last season
they would have made the playoffs. Let's not forget his brilliant play down the stretch last year leading the team to a phoyo finish, if not for him last yea's season would have been a wash.

Robert L said...

I wouldn't say the Habs are reluctant to play Halak, it's just that Huet has found such a comfortable groove that there is no need to screw with a winning formula.

You're right, Halak saved our asses down the stretch last year, I would have given him the nod in that final game. The Habs owed him that. I also would have sent him in goal to relieve Aebischer a whole lot sooner, but I'm not the coach.

Second guessing in hindsight doesn't add up to a whole lot though. What should the Habs do with Halak, how should they treat him in light of Huet being the undisputed number one goalie now, and Price as the heir apparent?

Wins are all that is important for the Canadiens today, but Halak has a value that should not be ignored.

There are 3 goalies in the Habs scheme of things right now. It's hard to be fair to all 3 scenarious in respect to the immediate future of the team.

For myself, and I understand your impatience, I'd like to see what Halak has to offer also.

Rustyguts257 said...

Play Huet against the Rangers! This is where he stalled last year - at the 20 win mark. It probably represents a milestone to him and it would be a boost to his confidence to get win number 20 under his belt and perhaps silence some of his detractors.