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Canadiens goaltender Price wins Lou Marsh Trophy

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- Carey Price does not have a trophy room. The Montreal Canadiens goaltender might want to consider getting one.

Price was named the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year Tuesday, capping a year when he won the Vezina, Hart and Jennings trophies and the Ted Lindsay Award at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in June.

"For sure it's an honor to get that recognition from the sport of hockey. But this is another level for me," Price said at Bell Centre on Tuesday. "Being compared to so many great athletes in Canada is definitely humbling. There's so many athletes that had such excellent years this year. To be the recipient of this award is very humbling."

However, Price is not ending the year on a good note. He is recovering from a lower-body injury that has limited him to 12 games this season, and he's not expected to return any sooner than mid-January.

Price said Tuesday that original prognosis has not changed, even if his recovery is going well.

"Just to get rid of the elephant in the room, I guess," Price said to laughter when asked how he was feeling. "The progress has been exactly how it should be going. I've been working hard to try and get back as soon as possible. The timeline hasn't changed, so I'll just leave it at that."

Price confirmed that he won't require surgery and that rest and treatment are all he needs to get back on the ice.

"Time heals all wounds, I believe," Price said with a smile, not entirely sure if that was the correct expression.

Price is coming off a historic 2014-15 season in which he set a franchise record with 44 wins and led the NHL with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

The Lou Marsh Trophy is selected by a panel of sports journalists from across Canada and is named after a former sports editor of the Toronto Star.

Price is the first hockey goaltender to win the coveted award.

"I was actually surprised at that because this country's had so many outstanding goaltenders, which speaks volumes of our athletic system in general," Price said. "We have so many great athletes year after year putting up such great performances, and to be able to top some of those is truly an honor."

Price is the ninth hockey player to win the trophy since it was first awarded in 1936 and is the third member of the Canadiens, joining Maurice "Rocket" Richard (1957) and Guy Lafleur (1977). The others were Bobby Orr (1970), Phil Esposito (1972), Bobby Clarke (1975), Wayne Gretzky (1982, '83, '85, '89), Mario Lemieux (1993) and Sidney Crosby (2007 and '09).

Winners of the award have traditionally come from the world of amateur sports, but Steve Nash of the NBA, Mike Weir of the PGA, Jacques Villeneuve from Formula 1 racing and Larry Walker and Joey Votto from Major League Baseball are some of the professional athletes who have also won recently.

"It definitely is truly an honor to be compared with athletes in other sports, that's what makes this unique," Price said. "To be named the top Canadian athlete is definitely something to be proud of."

When Price was going up on stage time and again in Las Vegas in June, he used one of his acceptance speeches to speak to aboriginal communities and send a message of hope. Price was raised in Anahim Lake, British Columbia, a small aboriginal community in the northern interior of the province.

While that moment sitting atop the NHL world was a big stage for Price to send that message, he hopes winning this national award can drive it home even further.

"It's definitely something to look up to, for sure," Price said. "It's something that I hope for a lot of aboriginal communities to be able to see this and say these types of things are attainable for their children. All it takes is a lot of dedication and hard work and luck."

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