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Carey Price: Shea Weber will be accepted by fans

Goalie praises new Canadiens defenseman, copes with trade of P.K. Subban

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

KELOWNA, British Columbia -- If there is one thing Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has been asked about more this summer than the health of his right knee, it's how much he will miss former teammate P.K. Subban, who was traded to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29.

Price was asked about Subban several times by young goalies at an all-day fundraiser for the Eli Wilson Goaltending Sponsorship Fund on Saturday.

"It's not like P.K. is dead, I'll still see him," Price said, joking with the campers.

Still, Price admits it wasn't easy seeing one of his best friends on the Canadiens being involved in the blockbuster trade of the summer. Fortunately, Price and Weber skate together during offseason training sessions in Kelowna, and that helped ease the sting. 

"I know what Shea is all about," Price told after taking part in two 90-minute on-ice sessions and declaring himself all the way back from the sprained MCL in his right knee he sustained on Nov. 25. "He is a leader on and off the ice and he's going to fit into our system perfectly. There's not a team in the NHL that wouldn't want Shea Weber."

The trade of the two defensemen for one another has been heavily criticized by some Canadiens fans. Part of it is that the hugely popular Subban, 27, is four years younger than Weber. Another component is that most shot-based metrics say Subban does a far better job of driving offense and puck possession. In each of the past three seasons, Subban has had a higher shot-attempts percentage (SAT%) than Weber. Last season, Subban had a 52.51 percentage; Weber's was 51.33.

Weber, however, does bring the toughness, physical play and intimidation Canadiens coach Michel Therrien covets. Weber also has scored at least 20 goals three times in his NHL career, including last season, when he had 20 goals and 51 points in 78 games. Subban has yet to reach 20 goals in his six seasons. He had six goals and 51 points in 68 games last season.

"They play different styles of games and I think for the direction the teams are going, the fits are going to make sense," Price said. "I just think it's going to take a while for the acceptance because P.K. was so well loved by the fans, and for good reason."

Price, who played behind Weber while winning a gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and will be his teammate again for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey 2016, knows what a weapon Weber's shot from the point can be. He told the campers that he sometimes does not even see some of the shots Weber takes during their informal summer skates.

"I think once you start seeing the qualities of Shea on the ice, and his personality off the ice and the type of guy he is, he'll be accepted as well," Price said.

Video: Carey Price shows off his form at goalie camp

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