Carey Prices’ return has been one of the most talked-about subjects of the season in Montreal. His return on Friday night provided the Montreal Canadiens’ faithful and their franchise goaltender with one of the most emotional and uplifting moments of the season.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Price on Canadiens fans chanting his name. “It was heartwarming, and it made me feel, I guess, wanted. It was definitely emotional, but I was able to stifle that and stay focused. I wanted to play well.”
Price was defending the Montreal Canadiens’ net for the first time since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, over 282 days ago. Price’s journey back to the ice was a long and bumpy one, but he maintained that his goal was always to come back and help his teammates as soon as he felt ready.
“It’s been a trying season for myself on a personal level and for the team.” said Price about the last nine months. “To come back and feel somewhat normal and having my family here tonight, seeing them in warmups. It was a lot of fun for me.”
Welcome back, Carey Price pic.twitter.com/pcrdxJ7lcH
— Montreal Hockey Now (@MTLhockeynow) April 15, 2022
A Return To Routine
For Price, simply getting back into the routine of preparing for an NHL game meant everything to him. He continued to work with the Montreal Canadiens’ training staff until he felt he was as ready as possible to help the team in the final moments of the season and savoured every second of his return on Friday night.
“Coming to the rink and preparing. The whole day was a little bit surreal,” said Price on his crazy day. “I’ve been doing a program all season long and coming to the rink at game time, but to come here for 4:30 and going through the whole ritual and process was a lot of fun for me.”
Price didn’t let the day get ahead of him, focusing more on the more minor details of preparing for a game and appreciating the opportunity to get back into the ritual of his pregame preparation.
“Coming to the rink and preparing. The whole day was a little bit surreal. I’ve been doing a program all season long and coming to the rink at game time, but to come here for 4:30 and going through the whole ritual and process was a lot of fun for me.” said Price on being able to jump back into the routine and make it feel like a typical day at the office.
The whole experience of being able to sit in the dressing room with his teammates and get psyched for a game helped Carey feel at home once again. The atmosphere in the room, in the Bell Centre and on the ice when the Montreal Canadiens came out for their pregame skate was electric and really helped Price soak in all that he had been missing while out with injury.
“Being able to sit there in your stall before the game and have a few laughs and the preparation and the focus and the competitive nature of the game and everything that goes with it,” said Price on what he missed the most since he’s been away. “The buzz of the crowd, making a save. hearing the chants, all of that you miss.”
Being Part Of the Solution For the Montreal Canadiens
During the game, everyone had eyes for only Carey Price, studying his every movement and looking to see whether or not the Montreal Canadiens goaltender was moving as naturally and as gracefully as he once did. Price did not disappoint, looking good in his net and pushing up quite nicely to execute some good saves. He also felt a little extra motivation from the crowd, who showered Price with praise after every save.
“Going into the game, I felt ready and prepared, both mentally and physically, and the reception was great,” said Price about his day leading up to his return.
After the game, Price said he felt like he moved well out there and didn’t point to any discomfort, instead highlighting the need to pick up on plays a little quicker.
“I felt pretty good overall,” said Price, regarding how comfortable he felt in his movements on the ice. “There’s some reads in the game that I felt I wasn’t picking up as I usually would; picking up forechecks and such is something I haven’t done a whole lot of yet. We haven’t been practicing a whole lot as a team. In general, it felt pretty good.”
Although Carey Price‘s return came in a losing effort to the New York Islanders, the biggest story was not the score, but the reunion between the veteran goaltender and the fanbase that he has proudly represented for close to 15 years. He felt 100% ready to return and was prepared to to to help give his team a boost and prove that he could be part of the solution moving forward.
“I missed it a lot,” said Carey Price on his love for the game. “Any athlete will tell you. When you’re sitting on the sidelines injured, you’re a part of the team, and the guys are supporting you, but you don’t feel really part of the process. I think any athlete will tell you that you really miss being part of that. It’s not easy sitting there and not being part of the solution.”
Friday night’s return for Carey Price was easily one of the best moments in a tough season for the Montreal Canadiens and the fanbase. The Bell Centre was rocking from start to finish and every shot, save and missed penalty drew a reaction that dwarfed some of the loudest crowd pops this season. The Bell Centre crowd ensured that Price knew he was supported and appreciated, and the Montreal Canadiens goaltender heard them loud and clear, which made it a night he won’t soon forget.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 16, 2022