There was a lot of debate on whether or not Montreal Canadiens star goalie Carey Price should return to action this season, or if he would have been better to spend the rest of the calendar on the sideline to make sure he is crazy for the first year of his new lengthy and lucrative contract next season. With just over nine games to go, Price was in between the pipes on Wednesday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins after missing 13 games with a concussion. While some fans and experts believed it was risky for the Habs to use Price for the remainder of the season despite already being out of playoff contention, head coach Claude Julien was having none of it.
“I think we’re in the best position to make those decisions because we’re there,” Julien said to media members. “The people who are worried don’t know all the details, they don’t know everything, and they never will know everything. But at the same time, if we worry about the perception on the outside that doesn’t mean we’re going to make the right decisions on the inside. So we can’t get caught up in that stuff.”
Price suffered the concussion when he was hit in the mask by a slapshot from the Philadelphia Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere during a game back on Feb. 20. Price finished the game, which the Canadiens lost 3-2 in overtime, and played for the first time since against the Pens in a 5-3 loss.
Montreal radio host for 91.9 Sports Jean-Charles Lajoie decided to analyze Price's performance but also his post-game comments on Thursday and made a shocking revelation during his analysis (translated from French):
"There is one thing that bugs me. After the game, Price gets in front of the microphones, everything is fine, he is on top of things. He is relaxed. There is only eight games to go, we are not about to hurt ourselves here. That is fine. But all of a sudden, he is asked to comment on the Evgeni Malkin goal that was allowed despite the fact that Malkin ended up in his circle and showed Price along the way. This might be the answer of the week, even maybe the answer of the month, and maybe in a few months I will say it was the reply of the year. He basically said that he was not surprised: 'You go to the net, you get lucky'. Why did he say that? To help his cause? What is his cause? Give a lesson to others around the dressing room. To let them know that they are future ex-teammates. Telling them that if they went to the net too, you would get lucky too!?"
A subsequent explanation from the NHL stated that the play was challenged to review whether Malkin interfered with Price, and it was determined that no goaltender interference infractions occurred.
Lajoie added that Price's comments like this one are hinting that the star goaltender might get traded this summer and may not return to Montreal next season.
"After that, for me, and that's just me, these are statements that strengthen my beliefs that a trade including Carey Price will take place. Because it isn't with this kind of statement that you make friends in a dressing room. If I were the GM of this team, I would be very sensitive to this type of comments. I would think about the options. Can I put Carey Price on the trade block? What can I get in return? I am not sure he will be back in the fall."
Do you agree with Lajoie? Will Price be a member of the Canadiens next season?