MONTREAL – Another day, another full house at the Bell Centre. A crowd of 21,000-plus filled the stands to cheer on their Habs at the annual “Canadiens Fan Practice”.
“It was pretty crazy out there but it was a lot of fun,” said Carey Price
, who was getting his feet wet at the event. “It’s something really different. There’s no pressure on you; everyone’s just out there to have a good time.
Before their hockey heroes hit the ice, a couple of lucky teams from the Canadiens’ LRF Program got some tips from Tom Kostopoulos and Matt D’Agostini who, judging by the cheers when he was announced, has quickly become a fan favorite since joining the club just over a week ago.
Then, it was time for the rest of the guys the fans had come to see. Split into two squads, Red versus White, the Habs treated the crowd to some target shooting, a shootout and some 4-on-4 action. Guillaume Latendresse wrapped up the targets for the Reds, hitting all four on just seven shots.
Three players with three chances each stepped up for the shootout. Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev delighted the fans with some highlight-reel moves, with Kostitsyn earning at least one 10 from judges Patrice Brisebois and Christopher Higgins.
Finally, it was time to play a little shinny. The two sides traded goals back and forth throughout each of the abbreviated periods. Ultimately, it was the Whites - boasting a lineup that included Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and backstopped by Jaroslav Halak - who skated away the winners.
Known for goofing around during postgame celebrations, Price and Josh Gorges
were at it again on Sunday afternoon. In the final moments of the final frame of 4-on-4 action, the netminder and defenseman swapped positions.
“He let in a couple of soft goals. The guys on the bench decided it was time for him to get pulled. I was the only other alternative to back in there,” explained Gorges, who made a nifty glove save on Koivu, despite his minimal goaltending experience.
“He [Gorges] said I wasn’t doing a good enough job so he figured he’d go in there and try and do a better job. I think he was terrible,” deadpanned Price.
Enjoying his time away from the crease, Price went all out, even seeking out Georges Laraque.
“I asked him to go but he wouldn’t go with me. That’s probably a good thing,” he laughed.Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com