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Who's here to stay?

Thursday, 13.09.2007 / 6:15 PM / News
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Who\'s here to stay?
No one knows what lies ahead for Carey Price like Guillaume Latendresse, who despite the spotlight beat the odds to crack the Habs’ lineup at last year’s training camp.
MONTREAL – The rookie camp might be in the books, but the main storyline heading into Canadiens training camp remains unchanged: Which Habs hopeful can soon expect to change his area code from 905 to 514?

With 25 rookies itching to relocate to Montreal earning invites to this year’s camp, phone companies may have their hands full from now until opening night in Carolina on Oct. 3.

“All teams undergo changes during the offseason and lose players either to retirement or free agency,” explained Saku Koivu. “There are some bigger skates to fill than others, but our young players will now get the chance to show what they’ve got and grab some of those open spots. I’m not worried. Our organization is loaded with young talent as we saw with our farm team winning the Calder Cup last season.”

No less than 18 members of that Bulldogs squad are attending this year’s camp. Competition for the few available spots will be fierce but Christopher Higgins believes he will know sooner than later who shouldn’t be preparing to pack their bags.

“It won’t take long to figure out who wants it the most because we’ll be able to see it in their eyes,” said Higgins. “We’ve got a bunch of exciting young players at camp this year and it will be interesting to see how things turn out.”

Only 12 months removed from making the team with all eyes glued to his every move at last year’s camp, Guillaume Latendresse is breathing a little easier these days with his spot secured and the spotlight shining elsewhere this year.

“Yeah, this year it’s someone else’s turn to get all the attention,” smiled Latendresse, who cracked the lineup as a 19-year-old last season. “The spotlight is on one guy in particular at this camp and I think you guys all know who that is.”

Already a household name while dominating water cooler chatter everywhere, Carey Price needs no introduction. The reigning AHL playoff MVP and World Junior Championship MVP is hoping to turn enough heads to make the team. If not, you won’t catch the 20-year-old netminder hanging his head wondering what might have been.

“Sure I’ll be disappointed if I don’t start the year in Montreal, which is normal since that’s my goal right now,” said Price, who almost single-handedly carried Canada to gold and the Bulldogs to their Calder Cup crown. “I’m looking forward to working hard all through camp and it will also be great to work closely with Huey again. We had a lot of fun last year and I don’t expect things to be any different this time around.”

There may be one difference: Price’s mailing address for the 2007-08 season.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com