Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Sabres netminder Ryan Miller will not be between the pipes tonight versus the Canadiens, which is unfortunate for the Habs, being that he's coming off a 7-6 loss to the Islanders, where he faced a mere 26 shots. As a Habs fan, I have an unfounded and completely ludicrous vendetta against the American goalie. The last game I went to a game was the November 27th 2010 3-1 win over the Sabres, and I joined the crowd in taunting Miller relentlessly. No matter how focused the goaltender, it has to be extremely difficult to play your best when 20,000+ people are mocking you, and waiting for you to make a mistake. Unfortunately, Montreal is a city where the same can be true for our own goaltenders.
While he may be coming off his 6th shutout of the season, last season, Carey Price faced much mockery and an overall lack of confidence that was widespread across the island of Montreal and the surrounding area. Every armchair GM was on the Jaroslav Halak bandwagon, and Price wasn't given much of a chance. When Halak headed to St-Louis in the summer, there were eruptions of debates on every radio station, in every bar and around every dinner table. While some of us were capable of understanding the concept of a salary cap, many others were not. Fans cried out for Pierre Gauthier to "find a way to keep both". I'm sure he would have loved to do so as well, however that was simply not an option; not if we wanted to keep players like Plekanec on the roster.

The decision to keep Price over Halak is one that I feel has already paid off. I think the main reason people are [still] getting their knickers in a knot is because they feel we did not "get enough" in return for Halak (particularly due to the unimpressive play by Lars Eller). I feel that while it may not sound like a great reason, this is a factor in why Eller isn't in Hamilton at the moment, where he could benefit from further AHL experience. It doesn't mean that he won't develop into a good player, but perhaps now is not the time (see Pacioretty for a fabulous example of what a little extra time with the Bulldogs can do for you!).

All that being said, I'd like Habs fans to keep in mind that being an NHL goaltender is one of the most high profile and pressure filled positions on the team roster. Last year, the lynching mob was chasing Price, this year there's women lined up on the streets on their knees (read into that what you will). While I have aligned myself with naysayers and antagonists in the past, I think that there's a respect aspect to the hockey code that is the responsibility of the fans as well. Perhaps we could all afford to show a little more respect to not only the opposing team, but to our own as well.

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