With Charlie Hodge gone in the expansion draft, Vachon split the teams goaltending duties with Worsley. Vachon caught fire mid season as he managed to allow an incredible 15 goals in 21 games. The "Junior B goalie" won 23 games for the Habs and shared the Vezina, but he was only able to see action in two playoff games as Worsley backstopped the Canadiens to another Stanley Cup.
With Roy breaking out, the days of the platoon in Montreal were over and the clock began ticking on Hayward's Canadiens career. Hayward put up another solid season with a 7th place ranking, but with his desire to be a starter, he was no longer in the Canadiens future plans.
2007 was a monster year for Carey Price. World Junior MVP, CHL goaltender of the year and the Jack Butterfield award as AHL playoff MVP. With those accomplishments on his resume the Canadiens decided to fast track Price and it paid dividends immediately.
Although inconsistent, Price managed to match Huet's play and forced the Canadiens to deal the veteran. With Huet out of the picture Price finished 14-4 and lead the Canadiens to their first regular season conference title since 1989. He posted 2 shutouts in the first round of the playoffs and became just the 4th 20 year old goaltender to win a playoff round. But Price suffered a meltdown in the second round against the Flyers, tarnishing what had been an unbelievable 17 months.
What to do for an encore? How about an inconsistent season in which he finished the playoffs stapled to the bench unable to help defend the Stanley Cup. After an easy first round victory over the Bruins he lost the starters job after a brutal effort against the Nordiques. Roy's disappointment at being benched lead him to pout over what he felt was a betrayal by Jean Perron. His work ethic suffered and when the Canadiens fought their way back into the Flyers series trailing 3-2, Perron rolled the dice with his 1986 meal ticket. Roy was not ready and tanked badly as the Flyers pumped 4 goals by him on route to a 6-3 victory and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Immaturity and inconsistency marked his game until his breakout season in 1989.
The 2002 season looked like another lost one in Montreal as Saku Koivu was diagnosed with cancer during the pre-season. Things looked bleak without the Canadiens captain.
Playing a conservative defensive system backed by the 25 year old, Theodore took the fans on a joy ride that almost culminated in a Semi-Final matchup against the hated Maple Leafs. Theodore had a career season and bolstered by the return of Koivu, lead the Canadiens to their first post season appearance in 3 years. Theodore was rewarded the MVP and Vezina trophies, but his best work was done in the playoffs.
In the first round of the 2002 playoffs versus the top seeded Bruins, Theodore and the Canadiens were outshot 211-141 (79-31 in Game 5 and 6) yet won the series in 6 games. In the second round of the playoffs against the Hurricanes, Theodore had the Canadiens on the brink of a 3-1 lead against the Canes while being outshot 158-70 in the first 4 games. The walls finally came tumbling in after blowing a 3-0 third period lead in Game 4, but his season ended when he was yanked during an 8-2 loss against the Hurricanes in Montreal to a standing ovation.
A holdout and new contract was followed by 6 years of sucking and the question of whether 2002 was a fluke.
The 1991 season was the only season during the Pat Burns era in which Roy failed to win the Vezina trophy. Roy finished 6th overall in goaltending efficiency, but once again failed to live up to the legacy of 1986. Late in game 7 against the Bruins, Roy coughed up this beauty to Cam Neely to seal the Habs fate in Beantown again. The 2nd goal in a 2-1 game seven loss helped his critics pile on in attempt to discredit Roy's playoff legacy, one which he did not recover until his Conn Smythe performance of 1993.
Thibault registered a top 10 finish in goaltending efficiency and paired with his top five finish as a 20 year old the previous season, looked to be on his way to a strong career. Not a bad Canadiens debut with all the pressure from replacing Roy and playing under a coaching system lead by Mario Tremblay, Yvon Cournoyer and Steve Shutt.
Thibault couldn't handle the media and fan pressure (Carey Price 2009 anyone?) and when he finally recovered from being rushed and began to establish himself at 28, his career was derailed by knee and hip issues. Thibault will always be linked negatively in Montreal, but for 40 games in 1996 he offered the promise of a franchise goaltender for the unrelenting faithful.
When the media links Carey Price to a name like Jim Carey, it is absurd, Jocelyn Thibault is surprisingly ignored, but a much better parallel for what can go wrong when a goalie is rushed.
When crunching these numbers I was shocked to see Theodore's 2000 season finish ahead of his 2002 MVP campaign. His winning percentage and SV% is inferior, but his GAA was better and he registered 5 shutouts in 30 games! One shutout in every 6 starts behind Brisebois, Weinrich, Dykhuis, Rivet, Ulanov and Lachance?
That is impressive.
Exhibit number one why statistics LIE.
Bunny Larocque's career record: 160-89-45 - .620 career winning percentage
Patrick Roy's career record: 551-315-131 - .618 career winning percentage
Don't tell anybody from the mass media, they may use those numbers to convince the public that Larocque is a Hall of Famer.
Chris Osgood - .632 career winning percentage. Just sayin'.
Nice headband Brian, don't NHL players have veto over the pictures on their hockey card?
The 1987 season was a strong one for Hayward, coming from the Winnipeg Jets in the deal for Steve Penney, the expected backup became the starter during the 1987 playoff run helping the Canadiens get off the mat against the Nordiques in the 2nd round. Trailing 2-0 heading to Le Colisee, Hayward and the Canadiens rallied winning 4 of the next 5 and a trip to the Conference Finals.
In a bizarre decision by Jean Perron, coming off a victory in Philadelphia, Hayward was lifted for Roy trailing 3-2 to the Flyers and never regained the starters job again.