By JD Lagrange – With the recent news from Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes about the possibility of Carey Price missing the entire season, the debate on social media has been focussing on his career… particularly where he ranks in his era and if his jersey should be hanging in the rafters at the Bell Centre or not. While he’s far from retired, we all have to face the reality that maybe, Price may not be able to come back playing.
“At this point in time, the news in terms of Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement through the rehab process all last season. Obviously, it continued to create problems for him. This summer, he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not, and at this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season,” stated Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes. “Quite frankly, I don’t know that there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process.”
If you stop and think about it, it’s a very interesting topic. Most of the people saying that #31 should not be hanging in the rafters at the Bell Centre use, as justification, that Price has never won a Stanley Cup. They’re not wrong, but the question remains if, in order to be recognized amongst the greats who wore the uniform, a Cup win is a must or not.
Back in the old days, there were much fewer teams so the odds of winning the prestigious trophy were much higher than they are today, with 32 teams. And if you go way back, the draft rules were different back then. Also, the implementation of a hard salary cap has all but killed the dynasty era. Teams are forced to unload players that they would have kept prior to the cap era, making it more difficult to keep teams together for an extended period of time.
|NAME||SEASONS||# OF FULL SEASONS||# OF TEAMS AVG||CAP YRS|
|Jacques Plante||53-54 to 62-63||10||6||0|
|Ken Dryden||71-72 to 1978-79||7||16.9||0|
|Patrick Roy||85-86 to 94-95||10||21.7||0|
|Carey Price||07-08 to 21-22||15||30.4||15|
By having more teams and lowering the odds of winning a Cup, does it diminish the quality of the player or his impact on the team and in the league? Ask yourself this: Had Ken Dryden not won a Cup, would he be less of a goaltender? The answer is clearly no.
Record without Price
This is not the first time that Price is sidelined long term and neither times, the Canadiens faired well.
- In the 2014 NHL Playoffs, we all remember when New York Rangers’ forward Chris Kreider slid into Price, who missed the rest of the series with an injury. As a result, the Rangers eliminated the Canadiens in six games.
- Back in 2015, Price only played 12 games early in the season before being shut down for the year. He was coming off his season when he won every NHL Awards available… After his injury that season, the team sunk deep with a record of 21-34-4, worst in the NHL during that time span.
- Last season, prior to Price returning, the Canadiens had a 20-43-11 record.
Those two regular seasons put together, that’s a combined record of 41-77-15, a dismal .328 points percentage! Yet, it’s the same team playing in front of the other goaltenders…
A few people pulled out some statistiques showing the type of offensive support (or lack of thereof) Price has encountered during his career. Without looking at numbers, we know that the Canadiens have been lacking star power up front for many, many years. The numbers simply support that theory.
So we’ve established that Price hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, a team accomplishment. Based on the individual awards that he has received over his career, one would think that he should at least get some consideration. Look at this report card:
- Molson Cup for 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019
- NHL All-Star Game for 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
- NHL All-Rookie Team
- NHL YoungStars Game at NHL All-Star Game
- William M. Jennings Trophy
- Vezina Trophy (best goaltender)
- Ted Lindsay Award (most valuable player, voted by NHL Players Association)
- Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player, voted by Professional Hockey Writer’s Association)
- NHL First All-Star Team (voted by Professional Hockey Writer’s Association)
- Lou Marsh Trophy (Canada’s Top Athlete voted by a panel of journalists)
- Lionel Conacher Award (selected by sports writers of the Canadian Press)
While it is not in the NHL, he still accomplished the following representing the Montreal Canadiens:
- Olympic gold medal in Men’s Hockey at 2014 Sochi Olympics
- Best Goaltender at 2014 Sochi Olympics (voted by IIHF)
Further, on just about every annual NHLPA players’ poll, he is voted the NHL’s best goaltender and the toughest to face. This is coming from his peers, those who have to face him game in, game out.
No goaltender in the Canadiens’ long history has won more wins in a Habs uniform (361) than Carey Price. He surpassed Jacques Plante, who is in second position with 314 wins and we can all agree that Price never benefited from having the teams that Plante had in front of him… nowhere close. No goaltender has lasted as long as the Canadiens’ netminder either, as Price has played 712 regular season’s games protecting the Habs’ goal. Now talk about longevity in hockey’s most stressful position: goalie of the Montreal Canadiens!
Also, Stanley Cups aside, he compares favourably to another great Hall of Fame Canadiens’ goaltender that everybody knows… even in the Playoffs!
So if the question is to know if Price deserves to have his number 31 retired, even if he doesn’t play another game in a Habs’ uniform, even if he has not won the ultimate team goal, the Stanley Cup, the answer should be a resounding YES.
Carey Price’s jersey should and will, one day, be hanging in the rafters at the Bell Centre. It’s not like he hasn’t done his share to help his team bring the Holy Grail back to Montreal, where it belongs. Because others around him were unable to contribute and help him win the Stanley Cup doesn’t make him less of a player.
I strongly encourage you to read the other articles listed below on Carey Price.