A narrow 2-1 win over the mighty (haha) Florida Panthers has Habs fans in a good mood for the first time in over a week. And because the winning goaltender was not Cristobal Huet, but rookie Carey Price, we're probably going to need a bigger bandwagon.
Price played his first good game in about two months and got the win. In return, a sizable contingent of the fan-base is again clamouring for the exile of Cristobal Huet and the permanent installation of Price as the number one goalie. Even the Gazette's Pat Hickey is on board: in an article called Price Back on Track, he says that Price is the "logical choice" as starter, citing last night's win and Huet's recent "struggling" in net.
Well, hold the phone, there. Huet hasn't played his best in the last week or so, that's true, but the fact is, the entire team has been sucking eggs. Huet didn't lose those games to the Leafs and the Sens or the Lightning by himself, that's for sure: there has been a general lack of hustle, an absence of desire, the scoring has dried up, and the special teams have gone south. There isn't a goalie in the NHL who was going to win those games, given the way the team played.
And now, because the Habs managed to BARELY defeat a fairly unimpressive foe in an incredibly lackluster match, people want to hand the most important position on the team over to a rookie? Price hasn't exactly had the easiest adjustment to the NHL, lest we forget. Giving him the job to lose is, IMO, far too much pressure, especially if the team is going to be putting in the kind of effort they demonstrated in Florida this week, i.e., a very weak one.
So yes, the Habs emerged victorious, but it was hardly the heroic comeback the Gazette paints it to be. A more accurate account of the game can be found in the Florida Sun Sentinel, which notes that it took a questionable penalty, overtime, a lucky bounce, and eight missing Panthers regulars for the Habs to beat them by a single goal. But forget all that: Price rules!!!
Well, in other news, check out this St. John's Telegram story about Michael Ryder. The same old Ryder story, but from a hometown perspective, which is cool. I love the title: Ryder in the Storm. The author credits Ryder for working hard during his difficult year - he's put in a good effort in practices, apparently - and for dealing with the situation maturely and professionally, rather than whining and crying and generally pulling a Samsonov. That's all true, but I still can't believe the year that guy has had: 8 goals? Carbonneau left him on the top line forever before cutting his ice-time, so it's not just that. How does a guy lose his touch like that? You know he'll rebound; if he goes to San Jose, he could score about a hundred goals playing with Thornton.
Even the LA Times has heard about the O'Byrne Purse Snatching Incident. Wow, so that's what it takes to get them to write about hockey.
Watch out for those damn Maple Leafs. No, I don't mean in the playoff race that Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe, and Mats Sundin still think the Leafs are involved in, I mean in the race to the bottom of the standings and the top of the draft. Toronto media are beginning to openly advocate that the Leafs tank it for the rest of the season in order to have the best shot at landing Steve Stamkos. Don't think they're above it, either, because they're not. You'll know it's on as soon as the bodies start flying out of there, which should be in about a week.