Price is indeed an excellent goaltender. But from the moment the Habs picked him fifth overall in the 2005 draft, Montreal management has made a crucial error when it comes to their star netminder. From Bob Gainey onward, every Canadiens general manager has built the team around Price and that, with 20-20 hindsight, has clearly been a mistake.
Gainey was the boss when they decided to draft Price rather than, for the sake of argument, Anze Kopitar, which would’ve given the club the big, strong, talented centre they’ve been trying to find for decades. But to be fair, five other teams passed on the Slovenian centre before the Los Angeles Kings nabbed him with the 11th pick that year.
The real problem wasn’t picking Price. It was proclaiming him a saviour from Day One. Gainey is the most responsible for creating the cult of Price. He defended him with the kind of ferocious approach he showed on the ice as a player. Do you remember the end of the 2009 playoffs, when Gainey’s Canadiens were swept by the Boston Bruins in the first round? In the last game, Price surrendered four goals. And when he made a routine stop on a dump-in during the second period, the crowd gave him a rough ride and he raised his arms in a mock salute to the Bell Centre faithful. It was an ugly moment.