Friday, December 23, 2011

Please Stay - An Open Letter to Carey Price

Dear Carey Price,

As you celebrate Christmas with those near and dear to you over the next few days, I have no doubt you will be faced with a barrage of questions about your hockey team. "What's wrong this season?" they'll ask. "Aren't you tired of being the only one trying?"

"And what's up with all this language crap?" (feel free to refer them HERE)

But before you're faced with an inevitable, "Wouldn't it be easier to just play somewhere else?" let me make a case for you to stay.

I know you're well aware of the history of goaltenders in this city. I mean... I know you've seen this:

You made it painfully clear, in fact, responding to some jeers in your direction with a salute of your own:

We haven't always given you a fare shake. Sure, when Jaroslav Halak was with the team, there were times we wanted him to play ahead of you. But we can all admit Halak was super human that season. Winning is more than a want here; it's a need in this city. The Canadiens faithful are getting restless as we approach 20 years since the last Stanley Cup. We're ready to sacrifice almost anything or anyone for a shot at glory. The potential to be a part of that HAS to motivate you, as when you do eventually bring the 25th cup to the city, it will be a feeling that is unattainable in any other market. Ask Saku Koivu how badly he wanted not only to win, but very specifically to win it all in Montreal.

You told us to "chill out," and we did. We gave you a chance and you never looked back. This is YOUR team now. You are the only thing that keeps many fans from diving into a deep depression in the current season-gone-wrong. Whoever may be the General Manager when it comes time to negotiate a new deal with you this summer will be prepared to give you whatever you want. The keys to the city? Consider them yours.

Look, we acknowledge that the team hasn't been worthy of your dominance this season. We're sorry you've had to watch it all unfold from your crease. You deserve so much better. All we ask is that, unlike Patrick Roy in the videos above, you be willing to stick out, through thick and thin, riding the ups and downs that come with playing in the most hockey-crazed city in the world. Commit to us long term, let us know you are happy here and want to stay, and we will be able to sleep easier at night (perhaps clutching our Carey Price plush dolls).

We promise to try to go easy on you. To stand by you as best we can. To not care if you ever learn more than a few words in French. To rally behind your buddy P.K. Subban even as he struggles through a sophomore slump. To endorse your buddy Josh Gorges as he (hopefully) looks for a long-term contract this summer. Something you don't like? Tell us and we'll protest it. Heck, we'll call 911 if we have to. But the truth is, this is Montreal. We fans know the game and can be harsh critics. What we can truly promise is to be honest with you. If you continue to work hard and give your best effort, night in and night out, as you have this year, we will love you forever. And who knows... stick around long enough and play your cards right and maybe some day wayyy down the road, your #31 could even find its way up to the rafters along some of the game's all-time greats. But lose your focus, and we'll also let you know, particularly if you've got a young hotshot (read: not Peter Budaj) backing you up at the time. So I guess, what I'm saying is we promise to keep you on your toes and to push you to be at your best. Think of us like a parent who tries to push their kid to do better by seeing a 99% on an exam and asking what happened to the other 1%. But we love you; really, we do.

At this point, Carey, you're going to hear a lot of crazy shit out there. On the internet, in the media, in the streets... fans are hurting and are emotional. The mood and beat of this city, as I'm sure you've seen, tends to thrive and die with the performances of you and the boys. We're all clinging to hope that the team can come out of the holiday break with renewed energy and look at it like the start of a new season. We know the struggles aren't your doing, so please don't take any negativity or wise-cracks personally. We're all just waiting for the day when you will lead a turned-around team back to glory. Just please don't ask to leave before that day comes.

Yours Truly,

Habs Fans

No comments: