Goalie Tour of Montreal Canadiens’ Centennial Exhibit in Hockey Hall of Fame

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first game played by the Montreal Canadiens, just one month after the 50th anniversary of Canadiens’ goalie Jacques Plante first wearing a goalie mask.  I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto where they had set up a beautiful tribute to the Habs’ centennial.  My attention, of course, was centered on the goalies featured in the exhibit.  In case you didn’t get a chance to visit the HHOF before the exhibit ended you can at least view the important parts here.

What a great way to enter the Habs Centennial exhibit! If you watched the Habs during the 1970's the only image more lasting than Ken Drydens's famous pose is that of the Cup being lifted again and again. And then again and again and again and again. What's the opening bid for this statue when the exhibit ends?

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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.

That Didn’t Take Long… 33 to Hang in Montreal (from the rafters, not the noose)

Last March I wrote that Patrick Roy’s number 33 would eventually hang above the Bell Center in Montreal in recognition of his performance in Montreal.  It took the Canadiens 28 years to so honor Ken Dryden so I hypothesized that fans’ memories of Roy’s bitter departure from the team in 1995 would eventually fade and his importance in bringing two Stanley Cups to Montreal would result in a jersey ceremony in the next 20 years.  I was off by only 19.5 years.

The Canadiens announced this week that Roy’s jersey number will be retired this November prior to a game against the Bruins.  Expect to see “33” painted behind each net and the Habs players to be wearing Roy jerseys during the introduction.  Apparently we can also expect to see a public kiss-and-make-up between Roy and former Canadiens’ president Ron Corey.  This reconciliation has obviously taken place in private otherwise the ceremony would never be happening but it would be fitting to have Corey congratulate Roy from his favored seat immediately behind the Habs’ bench.

Roy’s jersey will be the 15th to be retired in Montreal and the third goalie; Jacque Plante’s # 1 and Ken Dryden’s # 29 are the others.

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