Price considers photo day, hippos and a famous voyeur

 

 
 
 
 
MONTREAL, QUE.: OCTOBER 16, 2014 -- Montreal Canadiens Carey Price raises the torch during home opener ceremony prior to National Hockey League game in aganst the Boston Bruins in Montreal Thursday October 16, 2014.  (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)
 

MONTREAL, QUE.: OCTOBER 16, 2014 -- Montreal Canadiens Carey Price raises the torch during home opener ceremony prior to National Hockey League game in aganst the Boston Bruins in Montreal Thursday October 16, 2014. (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)

Photograph by: John Mahoney, Montreal Gazette

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Gone were the whiskers on Carey Price, having lost a battle to a razor Monday morning.

This was team photo day for the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, the first of two to be taken at the downtown arena this season, and Price decided to clean up for posterity.

Only four times are the Canadiens scheduled to practise at the Bell Centre in 2014-15, every other session and game-day morning skate on the ice of the team’s Bell Sports Complex training headquarters in Brossard.

Both team photos are shot in the main arena — one very early in the season for marketing purposes, special guests included in a few images in exchange for beefy contributions to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, and the “official” version that follows the trade deadline, the second portrait being the photo of the club that moves toward the playoffs.

The Canadiens are booked to hold their game-day skate at the Bell Centre this Saturday as part of the organization’s 12th annual Tim Hortons Coaching Day, and players will return for the long-standing fan practice to be held Jan. 18, ticket distribution for that free event to be announced soon.

There’s something a little different about a practice in the big arena, which provides more of a game feel just given the surroundings. Monday’s session, to prepare for Tuesday’s match against the Detroit Red Wings, was brisk with an accent on skating.

Price paused to think about the number of group shots for which he’s posed over the years, since he began in minor hockey, and came up with 25 to 30.

And then he corrected himself:

“Oh, more than that. Forty to 50. I have lots of them. I’m sure my parents probably have them lying around somewhere.”

Price figures his first was with his atom house-league squad in Williams Lake, B.C., a Tasco Supplies logo on the jersey for the local store that sponsored the uniforms.

“They’re pretty generic now,” he said of team photos. “Goalies at the end of the front row, the captain in the middle with the coaching staff, and all the ugly guys in the back.”

Of course, Price was joking about a player’s position in the photo being determined by looks.

(Wasn’t he?)

With a 4-1 record, on the heels of his 32-save, often sterling performance Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, Price was in fine spirits Monday, happy to be detoured off yet another conversation about puck-tracking and defensive schemes.

Indeed, there were important off-ice matters to be discussed, both featured on Habs TV.

First would be his new starring role with Max Pacioretty in The Duel, a segment pitting teammates against each other in a variety of offbeat endeavours.

Still, the competitive juices flow.

Price and Pacioretty face off over the 1970s tabletop game Hungry Hungry Hippos, advertised for those age 4 and up. Hitting a lever on the plastic hippo’s back, a player tries to devour more marbles than his opponent.

Even though his hippo’s lever jams a dozen seconds into their 35-second duel — “That’s not fair,” he complains mildly as Pacioretty keeps gobbling — Price wins 12 marbles to eight.

“I found a way,” he said Monday with a grin. “I gritted it out and found a way to win. You gotta will the balls into your hippo.”

You try to imagine Ken Dryden saying that. And you can’t.

Then there’s the hilarious if seriously twisted spot promoting the Canadiens’ Club 1909 global fan program, featuring a sleeping Price, a Youppi! doll under the snoring goalie’s arm, being closely watched by the wonderful actor and Habs superfan Jay Baruchel.

It’s creepy fun when Baruchel volunteers to return Price’s boxer shorts that he’s slipped into. The offer is declined.

“I think I was there for close to three hours for what, 30 seconds?” Price said of the shoot. “I said maybe a dozen words, if that. I’d like to see the outtakes. Some things weren’t probably appropriate for a family audience, but it would be funny to see them.

“If you’ve ever seen any of Jay’s movies, he’s very much the same in person as he is in character. He’s a very spontaneous, very witty guy and he really made it a lot of fun to do.”

Extracurricular activities aside, Price and new stablemate Dustin Tokarski have settled into this season, combining for a save percentage of .896 and a goals-against average of 3.24.

Both statistical categories leave much room for improvement, but the wins vastly outnumber the losses thanks to timely Canadiens scoring.

It’s been an easy adjustment for Price to share space with Tokarski, the permanent No. 2 since the Oct. 5 trade of Peter Budaj.

“You can tell by Ticker’s personality and demeanour that he’s an easy guy to get along with,” Price said of Tokarski. “Throughout my career I’ve always had great relationships with whoever I’ve worked with.

“Even in times of conflict,” he added, flicking air quotation marks around the word conflict, “I’ve always gotten along with the guy I’ve worked with. It’s a professional atmosphere. You want to have a working relationship with your partner, you want to push each other to be better.

“Ticker and I played two hours away from each other in junior. He comes from a pretty small town in Saskatchewan, I’m from a small town in northern B.C. There are some differences but we’re very similar, personality-wise.”

The perceived goaltending controversies through the years have given Price reason to smile. He and his teammates know the score inside the dressing room, which is the only place that matters.

“All that’s all generated from outside,” he said of the nonsense. “Once you get in here, you’re here to do your job. You have to leave it up to the coaching staff to decide what that job is, so you just come in and put your hard hat on and get to it.”

A timeless, unchanged tradition in Canadiens goaltending, except for a few hippopotami and a voyeur.

dstubbs@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: Dave_Stubbs

 
 
 
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MONTREAL, QUE.: OCTOBER 16, 2014 -- Montreal Canadiens Carey Price raises the torch during home opener ceremony prior to National Hockey League game in aganst the Boston Bruins in Montreal Thursday October 16, 2014.  (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)
 

MONTREAL, QUE.: OCTOBER 16, 2014 -- Montreal Canadiens Carey Price raises the torch during home opener ceremony prior to National Hockey League game in aganst the Boston Bruins in Montreal Thursday October 16, 2014. (John Mahoney / THE GAZETTE)

Photograph by: John Mahoney, Montreal Gazette

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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