Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Is it Time to Shut Carey Price Down?

Video of Carey Price skating surfaced today, courtesy of RDS and Sportsnet, and in that video we got to see just how far from returning to action Montreal's star goalie truly is. GM Marc Bergevin's timeline, set several weeks ago, calls for a few more week's but in reality the Vezina winner looks like he's two months away from donning the pads--at best.

Seeing Price unable to cross over his right leg, and move cautiously on the ice like he did, has sensible hockey people already calling for the Habs to shut him down. It's a tough, grind-your-teeth scenario for Montreal, which wants so badly to get back to playing the type of hockey they were playing before Price was injured on November 25th against the Rangers (Price was originally injured on October 29th vs. Edmonton and missed nine games). At the time Montreal was leading the NHL with a 17-6-2 record.

In two-plus months without Price Montreal has gone 7-18-2 to fall back to sixth place in the Atlantic Division, five points out of a wild card spot and with four teams ahead of them in the race for the last playoff slot.

At this point one has to wonder: would it even be wise to subject a clearly injured goaltender to a stretch run that will be characterized more by desparation than Stanley Cup hopes? Haven't the Habs proved enough of what they're made of without Price at this point to make the decision easy for team brass? Yes, Price, even at 90 percent could help give Montreal a boost in the short-term, but if the franchise goalie's long-term health is put at risk is it really a wise choice?

At the very least, Montreal needs to prove that it can win without Price--something that it managed to do quite nicely after Price went down in October and the team went 5-2-2 in 9 games without him. If they can't get it together as a unit, the stress and workload that Price will likely encounter as a part of this team down the stretch could send him right back to the IR.

Based on the video we've been shown it seems like a no-brainer. It's February. Price hasn't competed for two months, and he STILL can't put all of his weight on the right leg? Maybe he was simply sore after a tough workout, but that seems unlikely. What's likely is that Price, for whatever reason, just isn't right yet. The Habs need to do the right thing, realize the situation is far worse than they wanted or expected, and shut him down so that he can get right for next season. Meanwhile, on the ice, Montreal needs to find a way to win. Digging out of this hole to claim a post-season spot without Price would do wonders for the moral of this squad. It might not take them far in the playoffs but it would set them up nicely for a strong 2016-2017 campaign.