MONTREAL – They may have been adversaries on Tuesday night, but Carey Price
and Cristobal Huet were anything but that in their season as teammates.
One was a rookie, the other a veteran on the path to unrestricted free agency. Before Huet was dealt to the Capitals at last year’s trade deadline, the French netminder had already armed his young protégé with the tools to succeed at the NHL level. After vanquishing his former teacher, the student hadn’t forgotten the wisdom he’d gained from Huet.
“Huey was a real mentor for me while he was here,” recalled Price. “It was a sad day for me when he was traded last year. We became really good friends and I have the utmost respect for that guy. He was someone I could really look up to.”
Having pretty much made the jump directly from junior to the NHL aside from his playoff title run with the Bulldogs in the spring of 2007, Price benefited greatly from Huet’s knowledge of the in and outs of the big show.
“It was like losing an older brother,” said Price. “He was always right there for me when I needed him, for advice or anything I needed. He taught me how to stay calm because he had that type of personality. He was a wall for us and I always admired what he could do.”
While the former Habs goalie tandem didn’t quite get the chance to properly catch up, they did have a random encounter on the busy streets of Montreal earlier in the afternoon.
“We crossed each other on the street after our pre-game meals,” said Price. “We didn’t exactly have the chance to say much because the light turned green pretty quickly. I really wanted to win this one. I had been looking forward to this game for a long time.”
No kidding. With 28 saves and his third win in four games, Price made his mentor proud on his way to securing seven of possible eight points over that span.
All too familiar with what a goalie can mean to an NHL team come springtime, Bob Gainey will rest a little easier tonight after again seen the Carey Price
of old beginning to emerge.
“It’s always good for a team to have a goalie who gives off an aura of confidence and stability,” said Gainey. “Carey made some big saves for us and he did the job for us tonight. He was strong around his net as well, which helps our all around team game and his teammates fed off that.”
Now where could Price have picked that up from? Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comRead also:Fly on the Wall: March 31 The Numbers Game: March 31