MONTREAL Can the Montreal Canadiens make a deep playoff run? Ask that question to any rival coach, player or scout and they will respond with the identical answer: with No. 31 in net, anything is always possible. Carey Price has recovered from some midseason struggles and is back to his stellar self just as the postseason approaches. I sat down with the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner on Thursday night after the Habs clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Florida Panthers. Is this as good as you’ve felt since that strong start [the Canadiens got off to the best 10 game start in franchise history] to the season?
Price: Yeah, you know, it’s a long year, so you’re going to go through ups and downs throughout a season. You have to pace yourself. Obviously, it would be nice to be on top of your game the entire season, but what I’ve learned during my career is that timing is everything. You want to be playing well at the right time. I think we’re starting to pull our game together at the right time. 14], which always seems to happen when a new coach is brought in. What has been different since Claude Julien came on board?
Price: We’ve had a pretty positive outlook on everything. When you do make a coaching change, it obviously does shake up everybody, it makes you wonder where you stand in the lineup. I think our guys have responded really well to that. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be contenders. We’ve made it this far. We have all the assets and all the right parts to make a great run. Hockey is not No. 1. It’s a life changer, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. (Lynda Price is a former chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation in British Columbia.) She certainly sounds like an impressive person. How has she inspired you?
Price: She’s a very intelligent person, a very hard working person. She went back to law school and got her degree. Now she’s going to run for chief again in our community. Maybe that will open up more doors for her down the road. She’s a natural leader. She’s not the loudest person in the room but what she says always means something from the heart. One of your great moments was winning Olympic gold with Team Canada in Sochi. How important is it to you that NHL players get to go to the Games again?
Price:I want to represent my country. It was one of my top 10 life experiences so far. I’d love to go again. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be going, I don’t think. Do you even think about them anymore? Is the adjustment period over with?
Price: Well, it took probably a week or so to get used to having your stuff overlap a little differently. But it’s history now. From my vantage point, we’re very vulnerable. We’re looking at the puck and guys are coming barreling in. I get that you have to go to the net and score goals, but if you’re going to run over the goalie there should be some type of consequence. Obviously, the league has changed from the early ’90s, when you’d have a 6 cheap jerseys
foot 6, 250 pound guy to answer to if you ran into the goalie. That’s just my opinion. Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and probably Sergei Bobrovsky.
Price: Yes, I’ve gotten wedding invitations in the mail. (He laughs.) That’s pretty bold. It’s funny, because some of the invitations are for weddings in September. I’m a little bit busy then. So I’ve sent back the little card with a decline in it.