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Lindgren: 'I'm ready to give it my all'

Keith Kinkaid might be the frontrunner to back up Carey Price, but Charlie Lindgren is committed to offering up some stiff competition at training camp

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

BROSSARD - After a disappointing 2018-19 campaign, Charlie Lindgren reached out to Laval Rocket goaltending and video coach Marco Marciano for help.

Lindgren asked Marciano to identify some specific things he could work on over the summer in order to get his game back on track.

Marciano's reply was short and sweet, according to the 25-year-old American netminder.

"He said, 'Just focus on your mindset.' It just made me think," revealed Lindgren, following Friday afternoon's training camp practice at the Bell Sports Complex. 

The St. Cloud State University product heeded Marciano's advice and did some serious introspection over the last few months.

And he couldn't be happier with the results.

"Mentally, I feel a lot fresher. There were times the last few years when I got frustrated and it kind of forced me to almost change my game a little bit. This summer was huge for me," insisted Lindgren, ahead of his fourth season in the pros. "I just took a step back and realized how lucky I am, how blessed I am and just blessed to be here for another training camp. I just want to make the most of it."

Video: Charlie Lindgren explains the meaning behind his mask

It's clear that the Lakeville, MN has put the struggles of last season behind him. 

He dealt with hip and ankle injuries, which led to his subpar 11-20-1 record and .884 save percentage in 33 appearances with the Rocket in the AHL.

Lindgren is completely healthy now, though, and is operating at full capacity on the South Shore.

"I had my hip, which started in December. A lot of people don't know that I was struggling with an ankle injury from October to December, too. That could've started my hip injury. I didn't feel physically 100 percent at all last year," explained Lindgren. "Finally this summer, I felt normal. I feel physically really good, and mentally I feel better than I've ever been in my life. I just feel like I'm in a good position."

That's huge because Lindgren finds himself in a battle with newcomer Keith Kinkaid to secure the backup role with the Canadiens behind Carey Price.

While Kinkaid is the clear frontrunner with 151 games of NHL experience under his belt, Lindgren isn't counting himself out right now.

"I've just got to worry about myself and just try to be as good as I can be," said Lindgren, who holds an 8-8-2 record, a 2.89 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 18 career appearances with the Habs, along with two shutouts. "My mindset is I'm definitely going to give it my best shot. In my mind, there's no doubt that I can play in the NHL. I've just got to go out and prove it."

With the offseason departure of Antti Niemi, the signing of a veteran like Kinkaid didn't catch Lindgren by surprise.

He fully expected that some new competition was on the horizon come September.

"That's the NHL. You're going to be given nothing. I've known that since I started playing hockey. I've just got to go out and earn it," stressed Lindgren, before reiterating his preparedness to succeed in the NHL ranks. "Even my last game against the Maple Leafs in April, I played the best that I can play. I felt like that game was a tryout. That was a lot of pressure because I hadn't played in the NHL for over a year, and I had a lot of Grade A chances against me. I thought I held my own against a really good hockey team."

Video: TOR@MTL: Lindgren snags Hyman's backhand in close

He certainly did, posting a memorable 44-save effort versus the Canadiens' Atlantic Division rivals.

And he is adamant that in his case the best is still to come.

"Twenty-five is still fairly young for a goalie in the NHL. I'm just going to take it day by day. There's still a long way to go. I hope I'm playing hockey for another 10 to 15 years. Right now, I know I can play. There's not a doubt in my mind," concluded Lindgren. "If I go out and play a hockey game right now, I believe I can win. That's where I'm at. I feel lucky to be playing the game I love for a job, and I'm ready to give it my all."

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