Cammalleri backs Price as Habs' No. 1 netminder Staff

7/17/2010 6:23:55 AM

The Canadiens' decision to go with Carey Price as their No. 1 netminder was an unpopular one for the Montreal faithful, but there's at least one key Montrealer who has the young goaltender's back.

Habs forward Michael Cammalleri, who was on TSN's Off The Record on Friday, told Michael Landsberg he believes the team's decision to trade playoff hero Jaroslav Halak gives Price the chance he needs to excel between the pipes.

"I'm happy for Jaro and all the success that he's going to get," said Cammalleri. "But this is a business and we're really excited about Carey getting the opportunity."

The Canadiens raised plenty of eyebrows last month when they traded Halak to the St. Louis Blues for forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. Halak carried the Canadiens down the stretch and throughout the postseason until they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Final.

Price spent most of that time as the backup goaltender, staying sharp during practice and even calling out now-former Canadien Sergei Kostitsyn for a lack of effort.

"I'm a huge Carey Price fan," added Cammalleri. "I think he's incredibly talented and I'm really proud of the situation he handled this year. I expect a lot of things from him."

And Price, a restricted free agent who has not yet re-signed, will undoubtedly be under the spotlight when training camp begins in eight weeks.

"There's a lot of pressure to play well," said Cammalleri. "To the point where it's too much for one guy to shoulder. For us, we're going to do it as a group. It's not about him, it's not about one guy. It's about sharing that responsibility win or lose."

Also gone from the club's plans are forwards Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore, as the club elected to go younger and less expensive with Eller and Dustin Boyd likely occupying the third and fourth lines to start the season. The Canadiens, who didn't make too many wholesale changes last year, have already been picked by some pundits as a team that will once again struggle to make the playoffs.

But don't tell that to Cammalleri.

"I'd say drop the puck," he told TSN. "That's the way it's always been. We can always talk, but let's drop the puck and see what happens. It doesn't really matter what you did in the past, it's what you're doing now. For our team it's obviously all about having a better year next year."