Friday, May 08, 2009

Carey Price: Thoroughbred In The Gates?

At his press conference, Bob Gainey was asked why he kept turning to Carey Price, despite the fact that the reporter, his wife, and a multitude of fans thought an alternative approach was called for.

Bob, finding a chance to wriggle out of the question, decided to make jokes about the reporter's wife. Laughter ensued and lost in the analysis was his response.

His response, after his joke, was that Carey Price is, and I quote, "a thoroughbred". The other part of the answer was that Bob made this decision more than a year ago when he decided to trade Cristobal Huet.

It seems that one decision carries a lot of weight in this organisation as Gainey is prepared to stick by it regardless of what fans think, regardless of wins and losses and regardless of other players' careers being trampled in the process.

This is all well and good and maybe Bob Gainey is right.

But here at Lions in Winter, we are not as easy to please as most, nor do we just roll over in the face of a good old debate. We think (and you'll know that if you're a regular reader) that there is certainly a reasonable margin of doubt as to what Gainey has to say about his protege is accurate, and we're going to put forward our case for consideration.

Since this is a big issue and we have plenty of time before the next game, I have decided to portion out this argument into segments.

The first question I want to deal with is whether Carey Price is or isn't a thoroughbred at all. I have scoured some stats to come up with my side of the argument and I expected to meet some resistance in the comments (which I welcome).

The second topic I want to address is the way that Carey has been handled by the organization; and, moreover, how drafting Carey Price in 2005 has affected how every other player in the organization is handled.

Finally, the third segment deals with the practicalities of dealing with the seemingly inevitable – that is having Carey price as our starting goalie for the next 5 years. Here things like veteran back-ups, shoring up the defence and strategy adjustments are presented.

[I'll keep this post at the top of the blog until all sections are complete and update the links when available. Hope you enjoy.]

As an aside, I thought with all the attention on the young man, there would be some calls for us to cease and desist as there usually are. In anticipation of this I offer:

Is Lions in Winter out to get Carey Price?

The simple answer is no.

The minute a player steps onto the ice for a competitive game in the uniform we love, we support that player. We support this team to win.

It is the very same with Carey Price. When Carey starts a game we very much hope for a shutout each time out. We cheer his saves and wish him on.

It has to be said that we created a bit of a monster with the dome when we set it up – particularly the goalies. Unlike other blogs, we have a requirement to address the goaltending in a specific section 86 times a season – which means that goalies seem to be garnering a whole lot of attention. Such is the position, we say. You need a goalie for every game; that one player is on the ice for 60 minutes; so it seems natural to us that he get a lot of attention.

We also made a choice early on (despite comments that thought we were being ridiculous): to use the dome position to put in the back-up when we felt the goalie had a bad game. So when Carey Price lets in 2 bad goals in a loss and we put Halak in the dome, it simply means Carey Price had a bad game in our estimation and the other guy (whoever it is) gets the mention. This goalie selection for the dome has already been the focal point for so many good comments and stimulated the best discussions, that it would be a shame to get rid of it – even at the risk of seeming entrenched on positions at times.

Outside the game reports, Carey has had a lot of the spotlight, but in our defence it was not brought on by us alone. All I've ever wanted is to open the discourse on the seemingly closed book about Price being can't miss in this league. That's not to say I don't think he's the closest thing to can't miss that we currently have, or have had in a decade. And it is the golden ticket issued to Price that we take most issue with, not his worthiness for the Sainte Flanelle.

All that said, this latest piece is what we call an elephant in the room – we just feel someone needed to talk about it. I invite you to join in as you will.

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