BROSSARD – Back in Canada, Carey Price reflects on an eventful Olympic journey which ended in the best possible way.
“Obviously it was a pretty cool life experience,” replied the Habs netminder when asked about his recent travels.
It was an understated way to describe Canada’s gold medal run at the Sochi Winter Games, one which saw the team go undefeated and end the tournament with back-to-back shutouts against the United States and Sweden.
“It was a complete effort from everybody. No matter what position guys were put it in, everybody contributed in some way," offered Price. "Everybody out on that ice when our anthem was playing had a part in it in some way.”
Price also treasured the experience of going about his daily routine in the Olympic village alongside other world-class Canadian athletes.
“Being a part of Team Canada, not just Hockey Canada, being a part of a much broader picture; being with people from everywhere in Canada from all different kind of sports, that was my best memory,” affirmed the pride of Anahim Lake, BC. “Everybody was there with the same goal and being able to share that with so many people was so special. The women’s hockey final was a really cool game. I’m sure everybody saw the message that they left us on our board before our two final games. Just the effort that they put out and their ability to find a way to win was fun to watch.”
Though the pressure for Team Canada to go all the way could have prevented the team from performing at its best, the competitive, emotionally-charged atmosphere in Russia was actually quite helpful for Price and his mates.
“Everybody was so professional,” emphasized the first-time Olympian. “That team was the hardest working team I’ve ever seen. From the defensemen to the forwards, every player competed hard and executed well. You can tell a lot of those guys in that locker room have been in those situations before.”
Stephane Waite, who watched Carey Price allow only one goal in three elimination-round match-ups in Sochi, was naturally proud of his charge’s success.
“This is the type of experience which is going to make him a better goaltender. There’s no doubt about it,” offered the Habs’ goaltending coach. “I really liked his attitude and his body language. He was always positive in the way he carried himself, which is important when you’re counted on to make the big save no matter if you’ve faced four, 15 or 30 shots in the game.”
A teammate and friend to Price since he first broke into the NHL in the 2007-08 season, Canadiens assistant captain Josh Gorges is both relieved to have his starting goaltender back, and happy that so many hockey fans around the world had a chance to see how well he can stop the puck.
“I think a lot of people who were unsure of what Carey is capable of saw what he can do on big stage,” said Gorges. “[Having the Olympics televised coast-to-coast] helped people who don’t get to see him a lot during the NHL season really get a sense of how good he is.”
According to Waite, Price didn't need too much extra coaching before going on the ice to shut down some of the world’s best offensive players.
“We didn’t talk at all while he was gone. I told him before he left for the Olympics that I would be just a phone call away in case he needed any advice. But he didn’t need me!” revealed Waite, who also added that he will meet with head coach Michel Therrien and Price himself in order to work out a game schedule which will allow the netminder to rejoin the NHL grind as seamlessly as possible.