Carey Price signed a contract this week that fitted into the salary range that most of us thought be, and, I’m sure, where Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier wanted to be within his salary cap. The contract calls for two years at an annual cap hit of 2.75 million dollars. (Two years – total of 5.5 Million)
We’ll never know what went on behind the closed doors of negotiation but the arbitrator’s decision in the case of Stanley Cup winning goaltender Antti Niemi probably played into the final contract solution. The award for the Stanley Cup winning Niemi was 2.75 million dollars; the same single season money eventually bestowed on Price. With all due respect for Niemi’s accomplishments, most NHL GM’s including Stan Bowman of the Blackhawks, would take Price ahead of Niemi at 2.75 million. And Price is locked up for two seasons.
So, good for Carey. History has already told him that, no matter how excellant his overall body of work might be, he is in for the odd rough night from the Bell Centre fans.
The Canadiens system has produced six Hall of fame goaltenders running from Georges Vezina to George Hainsworth to Bill Durnan to Jacques Plante to Ken Dryden to Patrick Roy. Every one of them has faced the wrath and impatience of the Montreal fan.
Price is going to have to face two things when he takes to the ice for his first regular season home game October 13th against Tampa Bay.
First, a high percentage of fans believe the Canadiens traded the wrong goaltender in June and they’re already prone to not let Price forget it. Secondly, those fans who hated the trade have been quick to criticize the approach taken by Price and his agent during what they think was a needless, summer-long contract negotiation. that rumour this week that he wanted three million dollars or he was going to hold out, although false, didn’t help the situation. To the fan base, Price appeared ungrateful. Winning performances in those two road games (in Toronto and Pittsburgh) to start the season would go a long way to silencing the boo-birds. .
In Montreal not even Vezina Trophy winners and Hall of Famers are safe from the fans who’s credo for 100 years has been, “What have you done for me lately?”.