Thursday, 25 April 2013

Carey Price, Serge Savard and Dan Cloutier

Serge Savard was a guest on the TSN Radio Montreal show "Off The Cuff" with host Chris Nilan on Wednesday, and the two Canadien warriors discussed the current state of the Habs.  They touched on various hot topics, such as the Canadiens' lack of size, and Carey Price's play of late.

Mr. Savard is in a delicate situation in that he has links to the current management team, having helped Geoff Molson find and hire the current General Manager Marc Bergevin.  Regardless, he's also plain-spoken man and was relatively critical of Carey, explaining that he thought early on he would be a great goaltender and a superstar, but that "he's not showing it right now."  He also compared Carey to Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, and explained that while the latter had some bad nights, he doesn't remember him ever not trying, not battling during a game.

Ouch.  This is going to register on the Richter scale.  It's okay for fans to say stuff like this, but pretty controversial coming from Serge Savard, and an example of trying to douse the fire with gasoline.  And his reference to a goalie fighting and trying hard instantly made me think of another goalie.

Being on the West Coast, I've been exposed to Canucks hockey to an almost toxic level, and went through the Dan Cloutier years.  This was the seasons when they had maybe the best line in hockey with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, with journeyman Brendan Morrison as the centre (the thought of which is almost enough to send me on a tangent about Vancouver GM's having two-thirds of a Hall of Fame line and being incapable/unwilling to get the final piece, and think of what the Sedin twins could have accomplished had they had the big tough scoring winger everyone has been crying about for years, but I won't), and a big piece on defence with Ed Jovanovski.

In goal, however, was Dan Cloutier.  Now Dan wasn't the biggest, the best or most talented goalie, we were always told, but he was a 'battler' who 'wore his heart on his sleeve', he was emotional and gave his team a lift when they needed it, the announcers would harp.

Except when things like this happened (approx. 45 second mark).  Which led to this famous shot, which we believed to be photo-shopped, possibly the first use of it bringing together a goalie and a beachball, and was widely circulated in the prehistoric internet days of dial-up modems.

So maybe Mr. Savard has a point about Carey, and maybe he can work on his intensity, maybe it's not all that it could be when the going gets tough, but I've had my fill of goalies who battle hard, and wasn't the big plus with Carey that he shows no emotion and that he's cool under fire?

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