2010 Winter Olympics Goalie Preview – Canada

Steve Yzerman recently attended the World Championships in Switzerland to scout for the 2010 Olympics.  With that in mind, and after some surprise performances in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the time has come to begin the goalie watch for the Games.  The Canadian home ice advantage, the use of an NHL-sized ice surface and the league’s unwillingness to commit to the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia are laying the groundwork for what could be the best hockey tournament of all time.  So it’s only fitting to expect the best display of goaltending.  Most countries will hold summer camps and then evaluate the first half of next season before will making their final decisions but we say let the armchair quarterbacking begin!  The top contenders for the gold medal will each need to make some potentially difficult decisions so Tenders Lounge will dedicate separate posts to the medal contenders.  First up, the home team Canadians.

Not only are does Team Canada face the pressure of being the host country but they also need to remove the bitter taste from a 7th place finish at the 2006 Torino games.

Luongo and Brodeur were expected to reprise their roles from Torino.  Will anyone push them out of the picture?

Luongo and Brodeur were expected to reprise their roles from Torino. Will anyone push them out of the picture?

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Carey Price says “Thank You” to Habs Fans (who all happen to suck)

Tim Thomas offers some words of encouragement to Carey Price after Price suffered the wrath of Canadiens' fans in game four.

Tim Thomas offers some words of encouragement to Carey Price after Price suffered the wrath of Canadiens' fans in game four.

Montrealers like to think of themselves as sophisticated sports fans, especially when it comes to hockey.  In truth they are ignorant, arrogant and obnoxious hockey snobs who view the Stanley Cup as their birthright.  Nevermind the fact they chased the Expos out of town by ignoring them, or the fact their CFL franchise died twice before moving to a minor league stadium, leaving the city with just one major league team to obsess over.  They were at their moronic best in mocking Carey Price as the Canadiens were swept by the Bruins.

Watch for the split screen toward the end of the video comparing Price’s actions with those of Patrick Roy in 1995.

The comparisons to Roy’s antics when he was left in net to face an onslaught by the Detroit Red Wings were easy and immediate.  Will Montreal fans boo Price out of town the same way they did with Roy?  Or will both the fans and the goalie shake it off and forget about it?  Price will likely shake it off but I can’t imagine the Montreal media will let him forget about it as they will be seeking scapegoats for why the 100th Anniversary season went awry.  Coach and GM Bob Gainey defended his goalie immediately after the game but Habs fans have long memories.

No hockey player ever wants a long summer simply because it means he had a short season, but this summer might not be long enough for Price to escape the wrath of Montreal’s fans and media.  Price has one year left on his contract before becoming a Restricted Free Agent.  Assuming Gainey is taking the long view and that Price can shake this off there should be no need for either side to be considering a change of scenery.  But if the Canadiens’ greatest goalie in team history can be run out of town then anything is possible.

With apologies to Patrick for rubbing salt into a wound long since closed, this video shows the low-lights of his last game in Montreal, concluding with his verbal attack on then-president Ronald Corey.

Cool, Calm, Carey Price

Carey Price has thrived in the Montreal spotlight.

Carey Price has thrived in the Montreal spotlight.

Great article on Carey Price by Sean Gordon of The Globe and Mail.  I’ve pasted the entire article below and added some photos of Price or you can get it directly from The Globe here.  What’s most interesting about Price is how cool and calm he is about his success (hence the title of the article!).  He clearly is an example of someone for whom losing is just part of his mindset but when it happens he accepts it as part of his profession and looks for a way to avoid having it happen again.  It’s a long article but is a reminder of the type of coverage that sets newspaper reporting apart from blogging.

Will Price and Sydney Crosby end up Olympic teammates?

Will Price and Sydney Crosby end up Olympic teammates?

MONTREAL — It’s said Ron Hextall used to lock himself in a room before big games to shriek at the top of his lungs.

Jeff Hackett would darkly warn teammates of the bloody consequences of fiddling with his goaltending gear.

To say nothing of the deeply bizarre Gilles Gratton, who claimed to be the reincarnation of a Spanish conquistador and once pulled himself from a game because the stars were improperly aligned.

Let’s face it: Those who don the tools of ignorance and willingly stand in the way of large men with sticks and airborne bits of vulcanized rubber are necessarily a little odd.

But in the case of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, he of the Zen-like placidity and heavy-lidded languor, the weirdest thing is he’s not very weird at all.

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Save of the Year?

Or is it this:

I think you have to give it to Tim Thomas since A) his came in the regular season and B) it undoubtedly preserved a shutout for him.  You could even add bonus points for doing it on the road and causing so much grief to the Devils fans who were out of their seats celebrating what they thought was the go-ahead goal.

Habs Target Women (or at least one woman)

When Carey Price needs a rest the Montreal Canadiens turn to Jaroslav Halak (although the way Halak has been playing the Habs might find a reason to rest Price more often).  When Price is too sick to practice they turn to Canadian Olympic goalie Kim St. Pierre.  I hope she made some of them hang their head in shame for “not being able to score on a girl”.

Price Headed to Vancouver?

You’ve probably seen it but if not (or even if you have you should watch it again) here’s the type of save that will earn Carey Price consideration for the Canadian Olympic team in 2010.

Habs Turn to Halak in Game Four

When I first read that Jaroslav Halak was starting game four in place of Carey Price my first reaction was to pat myself on the shoulder for one of my first posts in which I predicted Halak would be the first backup goalie to make a big impression in relief. (I’m not counting Chris Osgood taking over the Wings’ crease because he’s really a co-number-one, not a real backup).

Lucky for me I kept my fingers off the keyboard as Martin Biron (the true goaltending story of this year’s playoffs) won another game for his Flyers.  Only in the lonely world of a blogger can one take solace in at least suggesting that Carey Price might not be able to carry the load but I guess that’s all I have right now.  What do you think, can Habs’ goalie coach Rolie Melanson help Price bounce back and get the Habs back into this series or are we looking at a Keystone State conference final?