Carey Price, Not All Leaders Wear Letters

(Photo by Getty Images)


by Shannon Penfound, Staff Writer and Event Coordinator, All Habs Hockey Magazine

WINNIPEG, MB. — The Montreal Canadiens made some big changes in the locker room last summer. With familiar faces opting to continue their careers elsewhere, many fans wondered how the team would face the challenges of a new season without a captain.

Marc Bergevin and the coaching staff opted for a non-traditional approach, naming four alternate captains this season. Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, and P.K. Subban currently share the responsibilities and pressures that come with donning a letter. But sometimes, the real leaders on the ice are the ones with no letter sewn onto their jersey.

Despite the current numbers in the standings, it’s been a tough season for the Habs. I think most fans would agree that the main reason the team currently sits at third place in the Eastern Conference is because of a certain powerhouse between the pipes. Goaltender Carey Price has had a stellar showing thus far this season, boasting a .931 save percentage (SV%) and 2.06 goals against average (GAA) as of February 7th. In addition to his stats, us fans also understand the positive effect that Price has on his teammates and the organization as a whole.

 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Leadership is defined as, ‘the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal1.’ There are many personal qualities that help to create a good leader within a group.

1. Confidence: It is quite evident that Price does not lack confidence, whether in his own ability, or that of his teammates. I consistently believe that Price tends to be the most collected member on the Canadiens’ bench, as very little ever seems to aggravate him. In a recent post-game interview following a win over the New York Rangers, Price had this to say,

“I’m just worried about my job, worried about stopping the next shot. You cant be worried about what anybody else is doing out there2.”

2. Accountability: ‘Character’ is a term that Bergevin loves to toss around when discussing the calibre of his players. Price is a player who tends to go above and beyond what is required of him, both on and off the ice. For example, when he was injured during last season’s playoffs, Price put in extra time for rehab and training in order to return to the ice as quickly as possible. Aside from that, Price was an excellent mentor to Dustin Tokarski, who stepped in to take his place. Price has been named the recipient of the Molson Cup for four months running this season. And earlier this season, Price also received the Jean Beliveau trophy in honour of his community involvement.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

3. Patience: It could be argued that a goaltender sees both the best and the worst of his team. From his position, Price is able to watch the offensive talent in full swing, yet also experience the defensive breakdowns first hand. Throughout the season, Price has shown great patience. This is not just in reference to his technical ability where we see his talent in waiting out the opponent and tracking the puck, but also within a sometimes flawed team dynamic. Offensively, the Habs have struggled. Fans have witnessed multiple line adjustments throughout the year with mixed results. Even through the games where the Habs have been painfully out-shot and out-played, Price displays great patience with both the team and the coaching staff, giving them credit when fans may not think it is due,

“We are all making contributions. It’s a team sport and guys are all doing their part right now. We have a perfect harmony going3.”

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Carey Price is an exceptional leader for the Montreal Canadiens. Bergevin and Michel Therrien constantly praise their star goaltender, and even went so far to say that if allowed by the league, Price would wear the ‘C’ on his jersey. Some have even suggested that the Habs should name Price captain anyway.

Due to his instrumental performance this season, helping the team secure victories in quite a few unmatched games, there is little doubt that the Habs will make the playoffs. Most fans would agree that Price has stepped up and become the backbone for this team in a variety of ways. From mentoring and instilling confidence in the other players, to his award-worthy community involvement, Carey Price is a leader in the truest sense of the word. And by hell, are we lucky to have him.


  1. Northhouse, P.G. (2001). Leadership: Theory and Practice (2nd). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. Montreal Canadiens. (January 29, 2015). RAW: Carey Price. Retrieved from
  3. Montreal Canadiens. (January 31, 2015). RAW: Carey Price. Retrieved from


  1. In my opinion the Habs must name a Captain it is the right thing to do period.
    Leader-ship is something that must be defined by an individual not by two or three individuals a Captain is one player who takes the reigns & goes with it, it is that simple.
    Logic dictates here when you think about it leader-ship is a quality that not every player excels @ in my opinion & it is a quality that is rare in many cases.
    Carey Price would make an excellent Captain yes but a goalie is not the ideal candidate here as he is stuck in the net & not able to voice his logic & wisdom on the bench to get his team-mates attention.
    Max Pacioretty is an ideal candidate as he leads by example & puts forth a true effort every game in & game out.
    Character is what a team needs through-out the dressing room but true leader-ship must be defined by a single player who will exemplify his words by his actions & leads by example on & off the ice.
    Habs needs a Captain in the worst way & the two losses against the Coyotes & the Sabres exemplified this more than ever.
    Go Habs Go !!!

    • It’s a good point Mark. It’s clear to anyone around the team that Carey Price is the leader on and off the ice. His is probably the most respected voice in the room. Price is able to control the pace of the game by freezing the puck or quickly moving the puck up the wing. He has a calming effect on his team. I’m not opposed to making him captain but it’s not an ideal situation. That said, the alternates could easily play the role of communicating with the officials.

      Unfortunately I think that the Canadiens have set up a situation in which both Pacioretty and Subban have an expectation that they are next captain. No matter what happens next there will be disappointment. I believe that Tomas Plekanec would be a good choice for captain until one of the others is ready. I’m confident that Plekanec wouldn’t change his game nor his demeanor if he was wearing the C unlike the other two under consideration.

  2. Hi Mark,

    How do you feel about PK or Plekanec? Or are they better as alternates in your opinion? I also think Brendan Gallagher is a player to keep an eye on with respect to leadership. He is a young gun on the team, but has really developed as a player over the past season. Thoughts?


    • Shannon as far as answering your question about Plekanec or PK well Pk would be well ok but I think Pleky would be better as far leader-ship .
      PK is young an enthusiastic but Pleky holds more experience & has a better way of relating to the younger players in my opinion in a hockey sense.
      Young Gallagher well he is one of my favs as far hockey personalities on the Habs for sure.
      Gallagher is the prime example of a hard worker he never quits go go go every shift now how can anyone criticise a player with this kind of gusto.
      Management has to make a decision come next season in my opinion as periods in this seasons line-up shows confusion & lack of direction.
      Look @ the Coyotes & Sabres games for instance a lack of direction appeared as the Habs seemed dazed & confused @ times through-out the game.
      Paccy is my choice for Captain unless Gallagher in thrown into the mix then Gallagher is my prime selection with-out a doubt.
      Something tells me Habs management will not consider Gallagher due to his age and in-experience.
      I thoroughly enjoy my correspondence with you Shannon TY for your input & expertise.

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