OTTAWA – Carey Price will have the best seat in the house for Saturday’s skills competition.
All-Star weekend has never been kind to goaltenders. Fans tuning into the event designed to highlight the league’s top talent are more likely to see fisherman hats and sunglasses on display than solid defensive positioning or shot blocking. Price realizes he’ll probably be making Saturday’s highlight reels for the goals he allows instead of the ones he stops – and that suits the Habs netminder just fine.
“I like watching. I think it’s just gravy to be able to watch the guys do their thing out there and be able to go out and get scored on a few times – it’s not too bad,” described Price when asked if he would like to see more goalie-friendly events added to the skills competition next year. “I’m just going to go out there and try to make some big saves. You might not play as well positionally so you just go out and try to make the highlight of the night save.”
Price will spend the majority of the skills competition taking in the action from ice level as the skaters work their way through events like the hardest shot, accuracy shooting, relay race and breakaway challenge before finally getting his turn to shine in the elimination shootout event.
Having faced some of the NHL’s most skilled snipers in game situations over the past four years, the 24-year-old was able to make a few predictions ahead of Saturday’s on-ice festivities.
“I train with Webs [Shea Weber] in the summertime and I don’t want him to beat me up so I’ll go with him, but at the same time I get to see the big guy [Zdeno Chara] shoot the puck fairly regularly,” offered Price of who he thinks will take the hardest shot competition. “It’s hard to put money against the guy who has the world record.
“I wouldn’t mind trying it out but it would probably get a little ridiculous trying to follow up a 107 mph slapshot,” added Price with a laugh. “Accuracy could be kind of funny just because of the difficulty involved.”
While he won’t be as busy as Raphael Diaz, who will handle the puck handling component of the relay event for Team Chara, the three-time All-Star has made sure to pass along a little advice to the rookie Habs blue-liner.
“Carey told me I have to go get signatures from everybody,” admitted Diaz, who was a last-minute addition to the rookie roster to replace injured Devils defenseman Adam Larsson. “There are a lot of really awesome players here. It was a surprise to find out I was coming. I didn’t expect that – I’ve played 45 games and now I’m at the All-Star Game. It’s amazing. It’s like a dream. Maybe you can wake me up!”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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