Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Xmas Card From Groulx:

Roland Melanson Isn't Bashful in Assessment of Price

It's a rare thing to see a full on media attack on a colleague of the extent that Roland Melanson unleashed today. According to RDS and other sources, Carey Price has done nothing but decline since the goaltending coach was let go. He blames the goaltending coach, and seems to think he is totally familiar with all his methods.

Perhaps he thought his comments to a New Brunswick paper would be contained to the province. He can't sure;y be as naive as the hockey playing population of Belarus, can he?



Now to the comment. I'm all for candour, but let's pause here.

Melanson claims that Pierre Groulx wanted Carey to be his friend and insinuates he didn't coach him properly. While we'd all be relieved if Carey's recent slump were so wonderfully fixable, I struggle to understand how Roland Melanson (who was busy enough coaching goalies himself) would even have the faintest idea of what happens at a Canadiens practice. Let's assume that Therrien or another buddy must have told him. At best, it is second hand and coloured by bitterness that wouldn't have been in a coach's answer in early March.

Secondly, let's get something straight here. Melanson in Montreal oversaw far worse deterioration in goaltenders than a few games of slump. For all his wisdom, he had nothing in his seeming bag of wisdom to cure what ailed Jocelyn Thibault, to halt Theodore's spectacular decline, to right Cristobal Huet in time to ward off a dispatch. Nor was he particularly skilled in managing the very goalie he now seems so eager to coach in 2009.

Whatever truth there is in the comments, I only hope that this is not forgotten. Because, while Pierre Groulx may have had mixed results, he can be credited with prying above average performances out of Carey Price at times, sometimes for long stretches. A success really when one parks the notion that Price should be beating every record in the book.

Furthermore, hiring Melanson back would not be a watershed moment for the franchise. We know what he can provide, and presiding over decline (he the pot calling Groulx, the kettle, black) is what he has proven so able at.

Let's hope the search for a goaltending coach exhibits a little more imagination than last year's search for head coach did at this time, and a return to known mediocrities isn't pursued as the only option for ease and comfort's sake.

And Carey thought he was out of Antichambre cross hairs. Back in the hobbit hole, I think.

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