MONTREAL – While packing up his gear following a season that was a few months too short for his liking, Carey Price promised he couldn't imagine himself wearing any other uniform.
Three months later and with a new general manager in place to talk it over with, Price made good on his word, signing a six-year deal with the Canadiens that will see him donning the bleu-blanc-rouge through 2017-18.
"It's an honor to be back. I got a vote of confidence from the organization," explained Price via conference call from his home in Williams Lake, BC. "They've shown a lot of confidence in me and now it's up to me to prove them right. I'm proud to wear the Canadiens jersey. I'm happy I get to play here for many more seasons. Now I can focus on my real goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
"I don't think there's any extra pressure with the new contract," added Price, who has played 139 games in the past two seasons alone. "There's pressure regardless of your contract. I'm a goalie; I'm used to pressure."
Ready to handle the heat between to pipes, @CP0031 - as he's known on Twitter - is setting the bar high for the next six years.
"The number '6' made sense for me and for the organization," explained Price of the length of his new deal. "I'll be 30 when my contract is up and that's when goaltenders hit their peak. I'm hoping when it's time to renegotiate my contract I have some good bargaining chips with a couple Stanley Cups under my belt."
Set to become a restricted free agent before signing his new contract, Price wasn't losing any sleep about his case potentially going to arbitration.
"My agent explained the situation to me," admitted Price. "And I understood. I wasn't worried about it."
On the other side of the bargaining table, Habs GM Marc Bergevin had no intention of seeing the 24-year-old All-Star suiting up anywhere but Montreal in the immediate or distant future.
"Carey Price, for me, is one of the best young goalies in the league," shared Bergevin in his Monday evening press conference. "I think if you have a young goalie with talent like his, you don't take any chances. A goalie like him is hard to find. It's a building block for success and making the playoffs."
To borrow an expression from the crease cowboy himself, who confirmed he's completely symptom-free following his late-season concussion, Price will be back in the saddle as early as next week.
"I feel good. I'm going to start on the ice next week for the first time since I was sidelined," explained Price, who is training in Kelowna with a few other NHLers including Josh Gorges this summer. "I'm really excited for the season to start."
Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis. ALSO SEE
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