Let's back up a moment. Bob Gainey, the coach and general manager of the Montreal Canadians, was asked yesterday to reflect on what can be accurately characterized as a disappointing and puzzling centenary season for the Habs in the wake of the team's first round sweep out of the playoffs at the hands of the Bruins. Specific focus has been placed on Gainey's decision to stick with young young goaltender Carey Price:
What we have here, class, is a fairly standard, not particularly creative, sexist comment. Not earth-shattering, just stupid and annoying.
Veteran radio reporter Peter Ray noted his wife couldn't figure out why the general manager/head coach continued to use Price, whose losing streak reached seven games by the time the Bruins eliminated the Canadiens Wednesday night.
"Carey Price is a thoroughbred. Maybe your wife doesn't recognize it," replied Gainey, who went on to say: "I don't bake bread very well, either; we all have our areas of expertise."
So, from the perspective of a person who knows more about sports than she does about baking bread, I thought I might provide a theory.
Bob Gainey saw an opportunity. An opportunity to share the blame for the dismal end to the Habs season. Carey Price had lost six straight games. The Habs were down 3-0 in their series to the Bruins, and nobody was holding out much hope for a comeback. I honestly don't think that Bob Gainey looked at the decision of whether to leave Price in or take him out as a strategic one. I think he was looking for a way to cover his ass.
If Bob Gainey leaves Price in for Game 4 and the Habs win, Gainey stands to garner some praise for his willingness to stand behind his young "thoroughbread." If Bob Gainey leaves Price in for Game 4 and the Habs lose, Gainey has someone else to help shoulder the blame. If Price doesn't stand up (and he didn't), then Gainey can blather on some crap about teachable moments and the young goaltender's need for experience and his ability to bounce back at his young age, and in doing so, he can deflect all the attention away from how badly he dropped the ball this season.
I'm not suggesting that Gainey was setting Price up to fail; I'm suggesting that Gainey thought more about how he was going to explain the decision than he did the decision itself.
It's ok though, Bob. Coaching is hard. Maybe you just didn't recognize that. We all have our areas of expertise.