BROSSARD – Sometimes, Carey Price thinks back to the little boy he was when he dreamed, around 8 years old, of the NHL. In his childhood imagination, everything was possible even if he lived in a remote native territory at Anahim Lake. Today, barely 35 years old, his body is in agony, but he would pay the same price tomorrow morning if he had to start this fabulous but trying adventure again.
“The goalkeepers are better than ever and that’s because of the way the position is played out now. It’s a very competitive environment, everyone wants to play in the NHL. Not a young person would want to make sacrifices to be here. It’s the price to pay, I did it and I would do it again. But it will be difficult and you can’t embellish reality,” Price said Monday with obvious conviction.
For those who haven’t watched this clip, Price spoke with his gut as he rarely does in front of the media. It had been almost six months since Price had met with the journalists and we felt all his passion particularly in this response.
Without being a goalkeeper, it’s more difficult to understand the weight that this profession imposes on the physique. This reality has increased on many levels with the highly competitive caliber of modern hockey. The game is played with such speed and such high skill that the keeper has no respite.
But to give you an idea, even goalkeepers who spend their “career” in a friendly league often end up with a bad body. So don’t think Price’s physical glitches started with the Chris Kreider incident.
“It all started when I was about 8 years old…, mentioned Price, who could only laugh. It is a demanding position for the body especially when you arrive in your thirties. I also had ankle and back issues. You can’t get over it, it comes from accumulation. “
Since no, Price is not restored despite the experts consulted. On this subject, the scenario which was proposed to him hardly enchants him and one can understand it.
“The idea is to take a plug of cartilage and bone in a portion of my knee to fill the hole that exists in the damaged part of my knee. It is a rather intrusive intervention with a success rate slightly above 50%. But it also means that there is between 30 to 50% probability that it will not work. If I absolutely had to do it for a better life, I might consider it. But I watch my kids and I want to be able to play with them, that’s the most important thing,” he said.
“I’m not that keen on the idea. In my opinion, it is a risky operation for my quality of life afterwards and it worries me a bit,” added number 31.
So Price can only approach the sequel like this.
“I don’t have a plan to retire right now, we’ll have to take things one step at a time. My goal is to no longer feel pain on a daily basis. It’s still painful on the steps or carrying my children up the stairs,” the goalkeeper described.
After 712 regular games in the NHL, nearly a hundred in the playoffs, a presence in the Stanley Cup final, it’s hard not to feel bitter in a spectator role.
“It’s frustrating, no doubt. You go from playing in the final to sitting here in such a short time, I didn’t expect to find myself in this position. It was an emotional roller coaster. But I have my wife, my children and my family who support me. Also, all of the interactions with the fans over the past year have been very positive, I’m really grateful for that,” admitted the fifth pick in the 2005 draft.
In such a context, that is why the touching ovation deployed during the opening match, ten days ago, was welcome.
“A huge feeling of gratitude, it warmed my heart,” said Price, who spoke with great candor.
But the idea of having played his last game with the Canadiens has not yet caught on.
“It’s something to digest, I haven’t quite done it yet. I keep a small hope that a miracle could happen. I’ve always been more of an optimist, I certainly haven’t given up on the idea of winning a cup no matter what position it comes in. So I focus on the positive. The kids and my wife give me that. I’m very lucky and I keep that in mind,” said Price, who joked that he wouldn’t mind coming back as a winger so he could shoot some pucks at the head of some goaltenders.
True to its roots since day one
Price sounded nostalgic as he spoke of his three children and especially his eldest, Liv, who realizes more what is going on.
“Liv, especially, will miss the fact that I’m going to say hi to her during the warm-up period. It was our little ritual, he will miss it,” said Price, who could also count on Liv, his young personal assistant, on Saturday at the Alouettes game, to give him small balloons to autograph for the fans.
Price is happy to be part of his children’s daily routine and promises to stay with the Habs this year.
“I don’t want to be there every day and use medical resources while they play games. But what guys miss the most when they quit is laughing with other people. ”
There will come a day when Price can better realize the extent of his accomplishments on the ice.
“I don’t really think about the legacy I’m going to leave, I always think about what I want to accomplish next. I don’t see myself doing it before retirement. Above all, I would like people to remember me as a hard worker and a good person, ”he said.
Fans will also remember an athlete with a unique personality. Price was not the typical goaltender or hockey player. What makes him proud is to have remained true to his values to this day.
A few weeks ago, former teammates told us, for example, that they were convinced that Price would put aside his cowboy hat to adapt to the world of the NHL.
“I never wanted to forget where I come from, I’m very proud of that and I’ve always been aware of that. I was raised in a family with a lot of love and I am very proud of my loved ones,” expressed the goalkeeper.
Price considers himself privileged to have had so many great experiences in Montreal.
“I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. The NHL is better than ever and so I’m just very envious of the young people who are coming, they are very lucky to be here, ”he concluded with his competitive side.
In the coming months, Price intends to become more involved in the community through the initiatives organized by the CH.
“My situation is frustrating”