Did Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis make the right decision in not putting Carey Price in when things got out of hand in the Canadiens’ 8-4 loss to the Washington Capitals?
Was the decision to leave Samuel Montembeault in for eight goals and essentially humiliate him solely that of St. Louis?
Montreal Hockey Now Canadiens reporter and podcast co-host, Marco D’Amico gave his take on the matter in his weekly appearance on ‘Habs Breakfast’ on ‘Weekend Game Plan’ with Matthew Ross on TSN 690.
“I am of two worlds on that,” D’Amico said of the decision to protect Price but leave Montenbeault out to dry. “I think in a normal situation, Carey Price could’ve come in and maybe halfway through the third period. However, given Carey Price’s health, especially with his knee, you want to see how that knee reacted from game 1, and 24 hours is when you start to feel the effects, at that point I think they need to be careful with the asset. They need to be careful with how his body is responding coming back to play. I feel terrible for Samuel Montembeault but for the organization I can understand the decision to not put Price back in.”
A listener then asked D’Amico and Ross why Price couldn’t not just come into the game Saturday, but also start the game against the Capitals?
“Whether he plays one or both games, I think to some he looks bad no matter what and that’s been the case since 2007,” D’Amico pointed out. “I’m not worried about the perception of Carey Price but I think people need to realize how far back he came from. At his age; at his position, to come back and play is very, very difficult. We’ve had that conversation with Ben Bishop last year when he was trying to come back and he said how difficult it was in Dallas, to try and come back and get back into the pace again.”
As Bishop’s failed comeback and eventual retirement showed, surgeries don’t always work.
The effects it has on the injured part – that be it your back, knees – and it is difficult,” D’Amico said. “Obviously, as fans, who aren’t in that situation, we judge it, we’re critical, we struggle to understand it, but Carey Price having that time off, it’s not likely for him to be overworked now; I think it would be foolish to think that way.
I think at the end of the day, the fact that he’s even playing this season, is great; will probably serve the Canadiens well in making sound decisions this summer but had he played, yesterday, today, at this point, I don’t think Carey Price would’ve made the difference. The only thing that was on the line was Samuel Montembeault’s pride and I feel terrible for the guy. I saw him basically rage down the tunnel and he’s not deserving of that and I totally understand that.
Price made his first start in 282 days this past Friday and allowed two goals on 19 shots. Montreal Canadiens fans packed the Bell Centre and showered Price with love from the warmups until well after the final horn.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Price on Canadiens fans chanting his name. “It was heartwarming, and it made me feel, I guess, wanted. It was definitely emotional, but I was able to stifle that and stay focused. I wanted to play well.”