The Price of the Spotlight

Hockey fans are passionate about their sport, but there may be none more passionate than a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs have a rich and epic history filled with incredible accomplishment and success, and for both of those reasons contemporary fans have lofty expectations and hair triggers for poor performance. Right or wrong, in Montreal it’s all about the team; it’s all glory when they win, and all gloom when they fail.

To play in Montreal is to perform under pressure unlike any hockey market in the NHL. I’m sure there are fans of the Maple Leafs who would argue that there is enormous pressure in the self proclaimed “center of the hockey universe” as well, but they’d be wrong. Toronto hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in over four decades, and yet they sell out game after game and remain the richest team in the league. Performance isn’t as expected of them as it is of Montreal, and failure isn’t punished as harshly by the media and the fans. A player who isn’t doing well in Montreal feels it every time he steps on the ice, opens a newspaper or turns on the television, and maybe that comes with the territory for a player lucky enough to play for the most storied and honoured team in the sport. On the other hand, you’d have to ask Carey Price if he’d agree.
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