Behind the Scene of Carey Price’s Journey – Hal Gill Remembers the Booing

It’s March 31, 2010. The Montreal Canadiens just lost a 2-1 decision and Carey Price made 25 saves. When announced to the crowd at the Bell Centre as the game’s third star, a few fans started booing him. That’s the year when Price isn’t winning often and Jaroslav Halak was becoming the second coming of Jesus Christ in Montreal at the end of the season, carrying the team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

After that game, then Canadiens’ defensemen Hal Gill was furious when meeting with reporters: “It’s about time people understand that they are not helping him. They are not helping the team.”

That’s until June 17, 2010, when Pierre Gauthier shocks almost everyone when trading Halak to the St. Louis Blues. The Canadiens had made their decision: Carey Price was the future of the organization. The follow pre-season, Price allows four goals on in shots against the Boston Bruins. Fans at the Bell Centre were just waiting to show their displeasure and poured their frustration on the young 23 year-old and it’s the next day that Price came out with his now famous “Chill out” quote.

Carey Price and Hal Gill

Habs’ defenseman Hal Gill came to Price’s rescue. As he had done the previous season, Gill, now analyst for the Nashville Predators’ games, was visibly upset.

“When Carey arrived in Montreal, he was very young. I went out with him. Whether it was him or P.K. Subban, everyone was buying them drinks, everyone was ‘taking care of them’ in town. Everyone knew him. And the next day, after buying him drinks all night, they criticized him for drinking. I found that to be unfair. He was a young man who had to grow through this.”

“Carey spent the summer working out more than ever. He completely quit drinking. He made huge sacrifices in order to become better. Then when he allowed a few goals, people started booing him. I lost it. I was furious towards the fans.”

“This young man had worked so hard to improve, everyone knew that in the dressing room. As soon as I spoke against the fans, I thought that I’d get booed and get traded. But it went well. I think that many respected the fact that I was defending a teammate.”

According to Gill, the two had since developed a tighter bond. They went out together after that famous pre-season game. Price admitted that he found the situation frustrating. The former Habs’ defender thinks that this event changed Price.

“Through it wall, he learned to be himself. Now more than ever, that’s what he’s doing. No matter the positive on negative comments, he can’t change who he is. He must do his own things. I have learned a lot about myself through that experience, and him as well, I think. He’s a good person, he does things his way, and the team respects that. I wish everyone in Montreal respect him for it too.”

Gill recalls the first time he saw Price, he was surprised by his imposing stature. Then, by his relaxed attitude.

“I thought that it was fascinating that such a ferocious competitor could be so calm at the same time. Being one of his defensemen was a privilege. He was calm and always in control. When he told you something, you knew that he was serious, but he didn’t have to yell. He was losing control from time to time by breaking his stick, but never towards his teammates.”

Finally, Gill knew all he had to know about Price when Halak took over the job of number one during the playoffs. Their post-season conversation is well known: Gill asked Price if he was looking forward to leaving. Price told him that he wanted to stay, that he wanted to be successful in Montreal.

“He went through a rough patch when Halak took over the job in the playoffs. You cannot be a better teammate than he was. He accepted his fate. He was excellent. It was a huge test for him. I loved seeing him get back up from it and I have the utmost respect for him.”

Price has now tied the great Jacques Plante with his all-time team leading 314th career win in a Habs’ uniform. With his next win, he will lead all goaltenders who have worn the Canadiens’ jersey. Eight years later, it’s impossible to doubt it, Price kept his word.

Translated from an amazing article in French by JF Tremblay in lapresse.ca, with their permission.

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Santa Habs Naughty List

This is the season where kids everywhere are hoping for presents, even making their list and sending them to the North Pole for Santa to take into consideration. While most children do get presents, some have been just too nasty and naughty to get anything but… coal. As Santa Habs is reviewing the list from smaller and bigger kids, we have been asked to help Santa by providing him some feedback on who, in spite of their demanding ways, don’t deserve presents, and supporting our justification with the reasons why. Without further ado, let’s have a look at those who will likely be receiving coal this coming Christmas.

Brendan Kelly (The Gazette)

When showbizz is your bread and butter and you try to play sports writer, you tend to take your “skills” from the likes of TMZ and that’s just what Mr. Kelly does. Just about every tweet, every article that he writes has for sole purpose criticizing and putting down the Montreal Canadiens organization and/or the team General Manager Marc Bergevin. Why you might ask? Because they dared trading his favourite player over two years ago. Silly I know, but that’s what happened. There’s nothing wrong with showing displeasure in an action but when one can’t even admit the good things this organization has done since then, it makes you wonder “What the Puck” is wrong with this individual. No presents for you, Brendan Kelly!

Alex Galchenyuk’s father 

Alex Galchenyuk is filled with mad skills but for whatever reasons, he just couldn’t put it all together in Montreal. Some like blaming the organization, primarily former coach Michel Therrien, for playing him on the wing instead of at centre but that theory flew out the window a long time ago when a second experienced coach, a Stanley Cup winner nonetheless, Claude Julien, also decided that centre wasn’t for him. After he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi (what a trade!), they thought that they had a centre in their hands… until they too moved him to the wing. But that’s not all on the player. We found out that his father had too much to do with his son’s development (or lack of thereof) as Chucky was texting with him in between period during NHL games! Dad had too much negative influence on his son and ultimately, it’s his son who’s paying the price! No presents for you, Mr. Galchenyuk!

Alexander Radulov 

Uncle Scrooge McDuck Radulov

“I love Montreal, I love the fans”, was Alexander Radulov claiming… until he was presented a contract in January but he chose to inform Bergevin that he wanted to test the UFA market in July. Then, he wanted well north of $7 million per season to continue his love of the Canadiens, which the Habs weren’t willing to pay (and rightfully so). The Canadiens were offering him the same contract that Radulov accepted from the Dallas Stars (5 years, around $31 million). So while Radulov loved Montreal, he forgot who gave him his chance to make a comeback in the NHL and he clearly loved money even more as you see, Dallas doesn’t have state tax. Shame on those who distort that story by blaming the organization. Radulov didn’t want to be hated and that’s why he lied about this whole story. He didn’t want to be seen as the Uncle Scrooge McDuck that he is. No presents for you, Mr. Radulov! 

Max Pacioretty and Allan Walsh

When you ask to be traded when you’re the team captain, after the organization supported you in your dispute with P.K. Subban, and then you deny it, it speaks of your character (or lack of thereof). When you change agents like you change underwear, it says even more. Yes, you signed at rebate in your last contract but you didn’t have a gun to your head and no, it’s not to the organization to “make it up” for you. Particularly not when you pout and put a half-ass effort out there, scoring 17 goals in a season. The Captain is supposed to be the last one jumping ship, not the one asking to get off first. Fans have no doubt that you and your crooked agent have asked for a trade. You got your money in Vegas. Enjoy. We, in Montreal, certainly enjoy Tomas Tatar, and will enjoy Nick Suzuki and whomever we will draft in the second round from that trade. No presents for you, Max Pacioretty and Allan Walsh

Marc Bergevin Haters

Yes you, who went on the warpath against Bergevin after he selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi, pretending that you knew more than the professionals hired to do that job, shame on you! Yes you, who took the same path by dissing Max Domi after the Canadiens traded for him, shipping Galchenyuk to the desert, you are no better (some being the same people). Isn’t it great when your ignorance and lack of hockey knowledge is thrown back in your face by seeing it posted everywhere? There’s a lesson to learn here: take a deep breath and do the reasonable thing… wait and see how it pans out before jumping off the Jacques-Cartier bridge! No presents for you, self-proclaimed knowledgeable hockey fans!

NHL Referees

The officiating in this league is absolutely brutal and it has been since they decided to go the the two-referees system. It is so painful for all fans around the league, not just for Habs’ fans, that every single game, someone is complaining. Enough with the incompetence as it’s time for the league to recognize their mistake and revert back to a different system instead of having incompetent people making key decision on the game. Also, linesmen, fans don’t play $200 per ticket to see you put on a show by randomly chasing players from the faceoffs’ circle. DROP THE PUCK! No presents for you, stripes!x

Now to all of those who form the vast majority of Habs’ fans, media members and people around the NHL, may Santa Habs bring you what you deserve: health, love and success in what you do. We’ll all be chanting together: Go Habs Go!