By Sie Nicole
Thank the hockey gods for Carey Price.
Price, of the Montreal Canadiens, is slated to start in goal for Team Canada, having last done so at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. There, he held down the crease with a save percentage of .971, winning both a gold medal and the Best Goaltender Award. The concern with Price is that he missed a significant amount of last season recovering from an MCL sprain in his knee. He’s been cleared for play, though, and feels ready to come back. As the 2014-15 winner of the Veniza Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Hart Trophy, and Lou Marsh Trophy, it goes without saying that he’ll be welcomed back with open arms.
But it wouldn’t be Team Canada if they didn’t have a solid backup plan and boy, do they have one.
Braden Holtby is coming off a career season with the Washington Capitals. Holtby’s goaltending helped bring Washington a nearly record-setting President’s Trophy (they ended one point shy of tying the club’s highest number of points in a season). He did manage to set Washington’s record for wins in a single season by winning 48 games last year. In total, he holds eight records for goaltending on the Capitals. His save percentage of .922 jumped to .942 during their 2016 playoff run, earning him the Vezina Trophy for outstanding goaltending. Holtby very well could hold his own as Team Canada’s starting goaltender, but he’s made it clear that it’s Price’s job.
Should extenuating circumstances occur, Team Canada even has an excellent Plan C.
Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. Crawford’s regular season numbers are comparable to Holtby’s, with his save percentage at .924 and goals against average at 2.37. In 2015, he shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Carey Price. That same year, he was part of the Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks team, making him the only Team Canada goalie with a Stanley Cup under his belt. Not too shabby for a second backup.
Team Canada’s goalies suit up for the first time at 7 pm on Friday September 9th at Nationwide Arena in Columbus in a pre-tournament game against Team USA.