Friday, April 2, 2010

Pre-game Primer: Who would you put in nets: Halak or Price?

UPDATE - It's official, Jacques Martin will be starting Halak tonight. So what do you all think? Is that the right choice?


All of the talk since the Canadiens 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, on Wednesday night, has been about Carey Price being booed when he was announced as the game's third star. And rightfully so.

Montreal is a city where the rabid fans tend to go off the deep end at both ends of the emotional scale: Anger and happiness. This is a city where people want a winning team so badly that they often take any positive sign to mean that the team will win the cup and any negative sign to mean that they will miss the playoffs.

This year the Habs have essentially been a .500 hockey team and as such, there have been a lot of ups and downs for the fans.

That being said, when a 22 year old kid, playing in his third year in the NHL, stands on his head during the third period of a losing effort and gets booed, you know that people are thinking with their hearts and not their heads.

The consensus from the Habs' dressing room over the last two days has been that while the fans have the right to boo if they see something that they don't like, booing the only guy who actually showed up for the team in the third period makes no sense.

Right or wrong, I've got to say that it is nice and a good thing to see Price's teammates all sticking up for him. They let him down on many occasions this season by simply being unable to put the puck in the net.

Wouldn't it be great to watch Price play with a two or three goal lead for a change?

So all of this discussion over the last few days, all of the players coming to Price's defense and all of them saying that they let him down begs the question of who should be in nets tonight versus the Flyers?

As the Habs prepare to play arguably their most important game of the season—a "4-point" game against the Flyers—should Price or Halak be in nets?

It's easy to say that Halak should be in the net since he tends to give the Habs the best chance of winning this year. That being said, as Denis Casavant pointed out on the Team 990 this morning, if Price truly wasn't to blame, and if the players really do feel bad for him, then give them a chance to redeem themselves.

Give the players who came to Price's defense a chance to play their butts off and give him that two or three goal lead. Let them make it up to him. Wouldn't that make sense given that the Habs are playing two games in 48 hours?

If Coach Martin puts Halak in nets, isn't that saying that while Price isn't to blame, he feels that Halak will give them a better chance of winning?

If Price is in nets, then isn't that saying that the coach truly believes that the last loss wasn't Price's fault and that he did play an excellent game—which he did?

As has been the case all season long, it is hard to predict what Coach Martin will decide to do, but with two of the most important points of the season on the line, he'd better make the right choice.

From where I sit, I don't think he can go wrong with either selection. Halak has shown that he is solid and gives the Habs a chance to win every night. But with Price in the net, there is the additional motivation for him and his teammates to win.

Tune in later to see what the good old coach decides.

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Hi there Number31 and thanks for your comment!

With back-to-back games I am not sure I would have gone with Halak tonight either. I don't necessarily think it is the end of the world but I think Coach Martin might have missed a good opportunity to build Carey's confidence while allowing Halak to take on the tougher opponenet in Buffalo tomorrow.

Who knows really. I guess the proof will be in the pudding.

So now that Halak is starting tonight, does he start again tomorrow? Is it Price tomorrow? No clue, with this coach.

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