Canadiens’ Carey Price unresolved over NHL return to play plan


MONTREAL – There was a conflict in almost everything Carey Price said during her 31-minute conference call with journalists for the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, and it was understandable.

The franchise goalkeeper wants to play this summer but has reservations about it, and he should. He is delighted with the opportunity he and the Canadians have offered to the NHL and NHLPA – to participate in a 24-team Stanley Cup tournament – but he does not know if that brings them closer to victory or not of a top-10. choosing in this year’s project would do it, and he was right to talk about “catch-22”.

And although Price thinks preparation would be the key to taking advantage of the chaos that comes with a fresh start and jumping straight into the playoffs, he doesn’t rush to mobilize in Montreal – even if he trains in an establishment , in Washington State, where he has not been able to line up since March.

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He doesn’t frantically make arrangements – even if he had to be back in Canada by Friday to comply with the quarantine law 14 days before the training camp opens on July 10 – because, as for the 33-year-olds, too many questions remain unanswered at this stage.

“I have about as much optimism and pessimism [the 2020 season can be completed]Said Price. “This is a very unusual situation; I want to be able to play for a Stanley Cup, but I want to be able to continue living as normal. Many cases did not go well, for many people, very well. I have family members of my friends who died from COVID-19, that’s nothing to complain about. It’s a very serious situation and I don’t think everyone has all the answers, that’s why I feel that. ”

He is not alone. Not even close.

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world, then tell listeners what they have heard and what they think.

Of course, many players and leaders in the NHL are very concerned that enough can be done to create as much of a risk-free environment as possible in the roughly three months it will take to award the Cup. Some, such as the Canadiens ’center Phillip Danault, expressed unease in April about being away from their families for an extended period of time.

Others, such as Canadiens coach Claude Julien, have expressed concern that they are 60 years old and in a high risk category.

“You are probably thinking about the different options you have, whether it be with a mask, how far you are going to deal with your team and your players (which means being behind),” said Julien. athletic this week. “I know it can be a challenge behind the bench more than anywhere else, but I think I have to be ready to adapt and have options when the time comes, depending on where we are with COVID and our hockey situation .

“It also means withdrawing if I feel a real danger,” added Julien. “My family and my life are more important than my job at this point.”

When asked how he would feel if one of his teammates – or other members of the organization – refused to participate in the NHL and NHLPA return-to-play model, he said that ‘he would only have respect for them. And he added that he had already decided that if he played, his wife Angela (currently pregnant with the couple’s third child) and their two daughters would stay at home, whether or not they were allowed to be with him in a city hub.

Still, Price is constrained by the possibility of playing meaningful games beyond the first week of April for the first time in three years, even though he could not invoke any legitimate internal reason as to why Canadians could do it. what no one outside their organization thinks they can do.

“This is very important to me,” said Price. “I think I have been fortunate to have had great success over the past decade and more, and having another opportunity at a team price is an exciting opportunity. ”

But to suggest that he believes this is an opportunity that Canadians will take advantage of may stretch the truth.

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Consider that when we asked Price why he thought the Canadiens could be contenders for this year’s Cup, he pointed out the chaos of the situation and said “anything can happen …” even though we qualified in our question that we were curious of reason apart from this cliché.

“I know we are a pretty underrated team,” said Price. “We are a very strident team. We’ve proven that we can get really exciting, and that’s what it is all about in the playoffs. ”


The problem is, when you think about the Canadiens streak this season, warming up isn’t exactly what immediately comes to mind.

No, what immediately comes to mind are two streaks of eight winless games and four losses in four games against a Detroit Red Wings team that won only 13 other times.

And, Canadians have failed to prove that they can get really hot. After starting 4-4-2, they won three straight games from October 26 to 31 and only repeated this feat three more times. They never had a longer winning streak at any time from October 3 to March 3. 11.

So the idea that they can get hot enough to win a three to five game round against a Pittsburgh Penguins team charged with two of the best players in the world at Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – and a supporting cast real stars – before going through the traditional playoff format to win the Cup, based on what they showed during the regular season, is convoluted at best.

Lead writer Ryan Dixon and NHL editor Rory Boylen still give him 110%, but never trust podcasting clichés. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a diverse group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

If that was something to remember, maybe Price would be more eager to return to Montreal immediately.

The fact is, many players in the league – players from legitimate contenders, players who have returned home after it was clear that the NHL break would be long – have already returned to their hometowns. Lots of others, who have not yet returned, are finalizing travel and joining arrangements with their teammates – especially since the NHL announced earlier this week that informal skates taking place in Phase 2 can now include as many as 12 players at a time.

Right now, Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin and Charles Hudon, who live in the Montreal area all year round, are the only players to have played a game with the Canadiens this season who are currently training away from their training center on the south shore. .

Rules of apprehension. As it should be for Price and everyone else in the organization.


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