Carey Price is set to make his Olympic debut Thursday night in Sochi as Team Canada starts their Olympic journey against Norway.
Coach Mike Babcock said that Price and Roberto Luongo will split the first two games against Norway and Austria. Both games are not expected to be big tests for the Canadians, so most likely barring an awful performance by either one, the decision on who will start against Finland will come down to who Babcock feels is the better goaltender.
I don’t think it’s insignificant that Price is starting the opener. Considering neither team is very good, Babcock could have chosen Luongo to start the opener since he led Canada to the gold medal in 2010. By choosing Price, I think that gives him the upper hand to be the main guy going forward.
Any person who has watched the Montreal Canadiens will tell you that Price has been much better than the team’s record or Price’s statistics show. He has clearly been the best player on the team this season and has been a lot better than Luongo this season. Not that it matters, Price and the Canadiens have beaten Luongo and the Canucks in both meetings this season.
Ironically, Price’s Olympic debut will not be with teammate P.K. Subban. Subban is expected to be the eighth defenceman against Norway and will likely see his first game action against Austria. Subban was not practicing on the power play, which is a pretty significant sign that they don’t see him participating.
Subban’s role on this team will likely grow once they see what he can bring on the ice. There are a lot of misconceptions about his defensive game and his trouble adjusting to the big ice. Subban has played on the big ice in junior in Belleville and, like Price, his contributions to the Canadiens cannot be measured unless you watch the games on a regular basis.