BROSSARD – Receiving new set of equipment is an exciting occasion for any hockey player. Things are no different for Sochi-bound Carey Price.
At Monday morning’s practice at the Bell Sports Complex, Price donned his Team Canada-themed CCM equipment for the first time. While his leg pads remained dominantly white, the usual red and dark blue accents were replaced with red and black ones. The same change was made in the color scheme of his catching glove and his blocker.
“It feels good [to wear the Team Canada color], it makes things a bit more real, I guess,” offered the Canadiens netminder after practice. The son of an NHL-drafted goaltender, Price grew up watching his father Jerry create home-made goalie masks and learned from a young age how to select and maintain the tools of his trade. “It was my first time with them. I’ll use the new equipment a few times at practice just to get a worn a few times. Four or five time at practice and throwing them in the steam room will be enough to break them in.”
Hearing Price talk about his equipment is a bit like listening to Grammy winner Eric Johnson break down the fine points of what makes the Fender Stratocaster such a legendary guitar. Like the Texan-born guitarist, the Habs’ All-Star goaltender counts himself fortunate to be able to perform on the biggest of stages, which allows him access to the best gear to compliment to top-shelf talent.
“In terms of goalie gear, it’s all personal preference. I don’t know if every goalie at Sochi will have new equipment, but fortunately for us, we play in a market where equipment manufacturers are willing to give us customized equipment, so might as well sport it,” related Price, who also revealed that the custom mask he will wear during the Olympics is still being worked on.
Aside from talking about his tailored-made pads, the Team Canada member also discussed the recent announcement from Hockey Canada, which confirmed that Sidney Crosby will act as the team’s captain while Shea Weber and Jonathan Toews will be the assistants.
“All three of those guys are leaders on their respective teams. As Canadians, they are role models for our young people in the minor hockey system, so Hockey Canada couldn’t have made better selections,” the first-time Olympian offered.
Before flying to Russia in three weeks, however, Price will look to help his regular team, the Montreal Canadiens, further consolidate its playoff spot against rivals such as Toronto and Detroit.
“We need to find the same level of success we had back in November. When we had success, we had good puck support all over the ice. I stopped the puck, the defensemen cleared the puck and we scored goals. We need to get back to doing the right things,” emphasized Price, who also saw his team start the 2012-13 season very strongly before tailing off toward the end of the campaign. “We have to learn from last year’s experience and realize that we need to play as a team in order to go far.”
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.