Puck Daddy - NHL

With a victory against the visiting San Jose Sharks this afternoon (2 p.m. ET), Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price(notes) would have an NHL-best 16 wins in an NHL-leading 25 starts. 

His GAA entering today is 2.00, bested by Tim Thomas(notes) (1.44) and Ondrej Pavelec(notes) (1.75, which is insanely good for a player that opened the season passed out in his own crease). His four shutouts tie him with Henrik Lundqvist(notes), one behind Tim Thomas. Price has a .934 save percentage, which placed him behind on the other two keepers as well; he's second in the NHL in shots faced with 724, right behind Jonas Hiller(notes) (754).

Statistically, Carey Price isn't the best goalie in the NHL this season; based on the numbers, Thomas should be clearing out shelf space for another Vezina.

Canadian Readers: Click here to watch Hockey Night in Canada on Y! Sports Canada, featuring the Sharks at Canadiens (2 p.m.), the Bruins at the Maple Leafs (7 p.m.), the Sabres at the Senators and the Blues at the Oilers (10 p.m.).

But Carey Price may be the NHL's most valuable goalie to his team, and its most valuable player to this point in the season.

Were the Hart Trophy handed out today, Sidney Crosby(notes) could stake the most serious claim to it. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain has carried his team through adversity in goal and underachievement from some players (Evgeni Malkin(notes) in particular) to lead the League in points (44) and tie Steven Stamkos(notes) in goals (21).

Crosby is the reason the Penguins are second in the East with 34 points in 26 games. Just like Price is the reason the Habs are third in the East with 34 points in 26 games, Price having started all but two of them.

The Has Beens placed the Canadiens fourth in their power rankings, writing the following:

Carey Price could very well be the first half MVP. The question always remains how he will do when playoff time comes, and his maturity throughout the season. As of right now, he has been playing stellar and not letting anything get past him.

NHL Jambalaya also sung his praises last week, examining the intricacies of his improvement:

His puck handling has gotten tiny bit better in my opinion than it was in October, he's still been very mistake prone which is obviously unacceptable but he looks to have a bit more authority a lot of the time and is making quicker decisions. I'm not sure what's behind the puck handling slump but he needs to get back to where he was because this D needs all the help it can get. I've noticed that he holds his glove hand higher then he has done in the past, which gives the shooters less room.

Last seasons struggles were inspiration, along with the constant boos from the Canadiens faithful, to make him play the way he is now.

Marcia Di Michele of Suite 101 had an emphatic endorsement of his MVP case, including how his personal life's stability has settled down his play on the ice:

This season, Price came into camp in the best shape of his life, and despite a shaky pre-season that incurred the wrath of the Montreal fans, he's been lights out so far this season, and it has certainly quelled his detractors. Habs fans best be very grateful, and also ashamed for booing Price in a exhibition game earlier this year, because without him, the Canadiens might not be in the lofty position they are now. Price is clearly focused and prepared, something that might have a little to do with a certain change in his personal life. Former teammate Georges Laraque expressed through his twitter account that Price's success can attributed to the fact that he has a live-in girlfriend, and he's given up the party life. Regardless of what really goes on behind closed doors in Price's life, one thing cannot be denied. He is playing his way into contention for the Hart trophy as the League's most valuable player.

Goaltenders don't often win the Hart; since Jacques Plante won it in 1962, it's happened three times since: Dominik Hasek(notes) twice and Jose Theodore(notes) for the Habs in 2002.

And it's impossible to imagine Price keeping up these numbers and that workload; consider that he's never started more than 49 games in a regular season.

That said: His first two months put him in the MVP conversation. Even if he's tempted fate by shaving off his stellar mustache. It had powers; we're convinced of it.

But first thing's first: The Sharks are invading the arena! (Video via Leahy)

In other Hockey Night in Canada on Y! Sports action:

• The squirm-tastic timing of the Boston Bruins' visit to the Toronto Maple Leafs (preview) should make for hockey drama. Not only is Coach Ron Wilson taking intense heat for the Leafs' rock-bottom struggles, but Bruins writers are seeing this game as a critical one ...  for the Bruins' next draft, owning the Leafs' top pick.

• The Ottawa Senators host the Buffalo Sabres, as Coach Cory Clouston sees a crisis of confidence for his team:

"It's not that they don't care, it's not that they're not trying," he said. "The easiest thing to do when a team is down is to kick them, and that's not what we're doing right now.

"We're in this together and we have to make sure we understand that. Like I've said, we've had the really good starts

"We just have to have the mental toughness to sustain that when things start to go a little bit south.

"Our confidence right now is not very good. We need a couple of things to go well for us."

• Finally, the St. Louis Blues face an Edmonton Oilers team that's looking for fourth-straight win, while the city remains in a tizzy over potential relocation to Quebec City. Yukon Jack says it'd be the end of the world!

Related Articles

Puck Daddy

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog