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Carey Price’s crisis of confidence

A bout of low confidence can be difficult to bounce back from, but it happens to the best of us.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of talk about the state of Carey Price’s confidence lately. It’s happened before, but not to this extent. Watching Price’s interviews can be on the entertaining side with his tell-it-like-it-is attitude. While usually a man of few words, over the years we’ve witnessed him be frank, funny, amused, and even catch sight of a bit of frustration once in a while.

But his reaction in the post-game interview after a 6-5 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on November 7 was different. There was minimal eye contact, he was hanging his head a bit, and he admitted that “it’s all upstairs.” Sometimes that can be worse than any physical injury.

As most of us are not famous hockey players, let’s turn this into a real life situation. Picture, if you will:

You’re a star when it comes to presenting your company’s products to clients. I mean absolute superstar. You’ve been kicking butt and taking names for years and have the awards to show for it. When the boss wants a win, he comes to you.

But lately, something’s off. You’re not getting the clients on board like you used to. The boss even assigned a team to help you out because you’ve really been struggling as of late. You have a big presentation coming up and you’ve been practising your pitch for days.

So, presentation day finally rolls around and you’re geared up and ready to go. But your team didn’t show up to help you. You’re all alone. You start to panic a little and try to figure out how you can still do your job well while also doing the work of your teammates. The room is full of clients. It’s time.

You start your presentation. You stumble a bit and notice the “here we go again” glances around the table. You start to overthink your pitch and can’t seem to get back on track. Eventually, you catch a person nodding in agreement and you find your swagger again.

Then, your usually reliable laptop freezes and stops working. You have no help. Your team didn’t show up and the only bit of help you did have just stopped working. You try to power through, but the clients start heckling you, “Don’t you make $42,000 a year? Come on, earn your paycheque!” One client turns to your boss and says, “Get that guy who works down the street. He’s younger and cheaper.”

Your boss gets up from the table, walks over to you and tells you to go back to your desk. Bob will take over.

The point I’m making is: it doesn’t matter if you work in an office or are in the NHL. It doesn’t matter if you make $30,000 a year or $10.5 million. A blow to your confidence is tough, and the harder the blow, the harder it is to dig yourself out. If you’ve never experienced some sort of confidence crisis, share that secret with everyone. Bottle it and sell it.

For those who think Carey Price just doesn’t care anymore because he’s making the big bucks, I think it might just be the opposite. Perhaps, he cares too much.