Patrick Roy once said that in Montreal hockey is a religion, and that you’re either a sinner or a saint and that there was no in between.
Carey Price knows the pressure that comes with being the star goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, much like Roy did. He has dealt with some highs as well as lows.
After a few days off, Price was back in the Canadiens goal, backstopping the team to a much-needed 3-1 victory on Tuesday. He spoke to the media after the game. Less than 18 hours later, he was back in front of the media to talk about the dismissal of his longtime goaltending coach Stephane Waite.
Marc Bergevin said that he didn’t consult with his players prior to the decision to let Waite go. However, it’s obvious that if Carey Price was playing better, Waite would still be in his role. Given the long relationship the two have had, it can’t be easy for Price to deal with the personal aspect of that.
Waite is not the first coach to be let go recently, but unlike Claude Julien and Kirk Muller, Waite’s fate didn’t rest with 20 players. It rests with Jake Allen and Price. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the role.
No one knows that Carey Price needs to play better more than Price himself. Never confuse his nonchalance or perceived indifference with lack of concern, lack of passion, or dismissiveness. He obviously is not happy with his play and expects more from himself. Having to go in front of the media to discuss a decision you didn’t make, but ultimately bear some responsibility for is not an easy thing to do for any person, regardless if you’re playing for the Montreal Canadiens or not.
In that media availability, Price was understandably stuck in between looking forward to a change while showing respect for everything Waite has done for him.
Much like the other players on the team when Dominique Ducharme took over, Price has nowhere to hide. If Bergevin told his players they had to be better when he hired Ducharme, it was doubly so for Price when Sean Burke replaced Waite.
The challenge has been laid down, and now it simply comes down to what happens on the ice. After all, the solution is easy enough. If Price doesn’t want to have to answer questions about his play, he can simply let his play do the talking.