Loss to Montreal shows how important Carter Hart is
In a predictable game of disappointment Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers lost 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens, a game that demonstrated the critical importance of the currently sidelined Carter Hart.
To be clear, the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t lose Thursday to the goalie Alex Lyon. Although the Montreal Canadiens managed to pump four pucks after replacing Carter Hart, the team just weren’t good enough overall to warrant anything other than a solid loss.
But in a roundabout way, the game illustrated how this team of Flyers will sink or swim without Hart. And that holds true not only for the rest of this season, but potentially for the next decade, more or less.
More Philadelphia Flyers
For a warning, look no further than across the ice on Thursday night for the opposing goalie. Carey Award. Price has been the NHL’s top goaltender for much of the past decade. In his prime, he displayed otherworldly numbers, culminating in his 2014-15 season which saw him win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.
Yet despite having all-world talent between the posts, the Montreal Canadiens managed to make it through the first round of the playoffs just twice during that span. And Price didn’t even manage to coach his club to the Cup final once. He might eventually make his way to the Hall of Fame, but his best years have essentially been wasted.
We can all complain about the Flyers endless goalie problems (which Hart hopefully solved), but it could actually be worse to have the right guy in place and still not win anything, with Carey Price being just one of many. examples we have seen.
While Price was excellent last night repelling 40 Flyers’ shots, he’s now 32 with a massive cap of $ 10.5 million. This sort of number absolutely drains a team’s finances and effectively makes a player un-tradable when they’ve experienced the kind of decline Price has experienced. Yes, he looked good last night, but his numbers are way lower than last year’s semi-rebound after a downright poor 2017-18.
It looks like Montreal is now stuck in limbo with its well-paid goalie. There will still be evenings like Thursday, but the regularity is no longer there. In the end, it is the management of Montreal that must be blamed for granting him such a contract when he do not surround him with the necessary talent to really challenge for a championship. It certainly wasn’t Price’s fault.
Beware of flyers.
Carter Hart will be back shortly, with the next week of all-star break and time off, meaning he will only be missing a handful of games. And although he hasn’t been a world batsman this year, he at least has the potential to deliver a spectacular performance on any given night that could give the Flyers a chance to steal a point or two even when they do. play like they did on Thursday. .
I don’t disrespect Alex Lyon, but he won’t be blaming the team anytime soon. Add to that the fact that Brian Elliott’s use needs to be closely watched, and Hart’s return becomes even more crucial.
Whether 2019-20’s decisive seal is a “hit” or “fail” completely depends on Hart returning early enough from his injury and playing good enough to bring the Flyers back to the playoffs. Once there, all bets are off. But they’ll have an early start time if Hart is too short on time or not good enough on the stretch.
Carey Price’s career path shows us that even the best goalies only get a limited number of cracks to accomplish something special. We can only hope that Hart reaches the kind of high Price has reached. But one day in the future, Hart will become Price. Older, worse, and maybe paid for past performance instead of current value.
The difference is that there is still plenty of time for Carter Hart and the Flyers to get it right. But this time will begin as soon as he takes the fold of the Flyers for his next match. The clock is still ticking, even if you don’t notice it.
Hart needs to do his best, and the Flyers need to live up to their end of the bargain by putting together a team that will compete and ultimately win the Stanley Cup. Otherwise, excellent statistics will ultimately only be a facade.
When we look back on Hart’s career over many years, it could have played out in a number of ways. And if we compare him to Carey Price, it’ll be fantastic. But the most important questions are “could he take his team to heights that Price never could?” And “Did Flyers management make sure to maximize their best years?” “