Carey Price has been getting some flak recently for his subpar performance in the playoffs against Philadelphia. Maybe Montreal should have kept a veteran goalie around, and maybe not. However, if people are making excuses that Martin Brodeur is tired, then what about Carey Price?
In the last 2 years, at the age of 19 and 20, Carey Price has gone through a major junior regular season, the world junior championships, major junior playoffs, the end of the AHL regular season, the AHL playoffs, NHL rookie camp, NHL training camp, NHL regular season with stints in the AHL, and the NHL playoffs. He played 82 games last year and 65 games this year, for a total of 147 games in all competitions over the last two seasons.
Price has been playing hockey basically non-stop for 18 months straight, most of it spent under the glare of the spotlight (world juniors, AHL playoffs, starting goalie in Montreal, NHL playoffs). Is it peculiar that at some point he gets burnt out or hits a rough patch? The battle against physical and mental exhaustion is why it is so tough for teams to make repeated deep playoff runs, and I think that was a major reason for Price's declining level of play. We'll see next season if he continues to improve and fulfill his promise as a franchise goalie; I expect that after a summer off Price will be just fine.