BOO BIRDS AT THE BELL


In the moments following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre, the home-town fans did not take kindly to goalie Carey Price being named the games’ third star.

That Price was arguably Montreal’s best player on the ice that night (which, admittedly, wasn’t saying much) didn’t prevent the Bell Centre faithful from lustily booing Price when he was asked to take a bow for his performance.

First of all, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  If you’ve paid $120 a seat to get into the Bell Centre to watch the Montreal Canadiens play hockey,  you can do whatever you want while you’re in the building. Within legal limits, of course.  If that means booing an opposing player every time he touches the puck (particularly when it’s an ex-Hab),  go right ahead.  If that means booing your team’s goaltender following a third-star performance, go right ahead.

You earned that right when you bought your ticket.

Having said that, I tend to think that Habs’ fans were reacting to Montreal’s performance, as a team, when they let Price have it at the end of the Carolina game.  After all, this is a Canadiens’ s team that has lost five of six.  I don’t think it would have made a difference WHO was named the games’ third star.  As long as that star was a member of the Habs, the fans would have let that player know just exactly how they feel about the club’s play of late.

I mean, seriously.  Let’s look at the game against the Hurricanes; a team going nowhere, fast.  Down 2-1, the Canadiens came up with one of the most lethargic third periods I have seen this club produce all season long.  And the fact that it came at a time when every single point is crucial in their playoff run, was mind-numbing.  There was absolutely none of the sense of urgency we saw in the opening 10 minutes, when the Habs outshot the “Caines 12-2 (but managed to put only one puck past Cam Ward).  It was simply stunning to see the Canadiens sleepwalk through the final 20 minutes of that game; a fact that was not lost on Habs’ fans.

I mean, seriously.  Do you really think that Carey Price was what was wrong with the Montreal Canadiens on this particular night?  Do you really think this is a game the Habs would have won, had they gone with Jaroslav Halak?  Last time I checked, if you score only one goal in a hockey game, you’re going to have to win that game 1-0.  And the Canadiens aren’t going to win very many hockey games by a score of 1-0, regardless of who is in goal.

Then again, we’re used to seeing the Canadiens shoot blanks during this recent skid.  In their last six games they’ve scored a grand total of 11 goals: and four of them came in the win against the Florida Panthers. 

Listen.  There is little to be impressed with when it comes to Price’s record of 13-20-5.  I know that.  You know that.  And Carey Price knows that.  I think we can also agree that without Halak and his record of  24-12-3, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation about the Canadiens and their quest for a playoff spot.

But Price wasn’t the problem against Carolina. The CANADIENS were the problem against Carolina.  And please, don’t bore me with your conspiracy theories that the Canadiens play harder when Halak is in goal.  Because if that is indeed the case,  there is something seriously wrong here.

The only thing seriously wrong with the Canadiens right now, is the fact that they’ve lost five of their last six games and are running out of real estate when it comes to finally nailing down a playoff spot.

If you’re looking for a reason to boo this hockey team, that would be a good place to start.

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year sports broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw My radio stops include TSN 690 Montreal, CJAD Montreal, CKNW Vancouver, and CKEY Toronto. I also ran the Canadian Press sports desk (radio). My travels as a network reporter have taken me to four Olympics, most recently Vancouver 2010. I'm currently an Applied Assistant Professor within the School of Communication at the University of Hartford.
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