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Price says gesture was deliberate, Gainey blasts Bolts GM Lawton

NHL.com @NHL

BROSSARD, Que. - Carey Price said he knew what he doing when he raised his arms to the Bell Centre crowd in defiance of their booing, but he doesn't want to leave the Montreal Canadiens.

"I made that particular gesture to remind people that booing doesn't always help," the goaltender said Thursday, a day after the Canadiens were eliminated from the NHL playoffs in a four-game sweep by the Boston Bruins.

With Boston leading 4-1 late in the second period, the booing crowd gave a mock cheer to Price when the 21-year-old stopped an easy dump-in from the red line and he responded by raising his arms to them.

It was the same gesture used in December, 1995 by former goaltending great Patrick Roy on the night he demanded a trade from the Canadiens.

"It was a way of expressing myself," he said "They wanted to express themselves and I thought I would too.

"It seems since the Calder Cup and the world juniors there have been high expectations on me. I'd like to meet them, but sometimes I'm not able to. Sometimes I think I'm put on too high a pedestal and get thrown under the bus too much."

However, he added that he wants to stay in Montreal, which he said was great place to play "when things go well."

The quick playoff exit ended a disappointing 100th anniversary season for the Canadiens, who were seen as Stanley Cup contenders after finishing first in the eastern conference in 2007-08.

They had a strong first half, but it all unravelled with injuries, controversy and a coaching change after the all-star game Jan. 25 in Montreal and they ended up barely making the playoffs in eighth place.

Coach and general manager Bob Gainey said injuries were a factor, but he also named Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton, who he said disrupted his team by letting the names of players involved in trade talks for star centre Vincent Lecavalier become public.

"The second half of our season was when things started to go off course and I felt the first place was when we had discussions with Tampa Bay," said Gainey. "We had an agreement with them.

"I got a call in January from them with a list of names that they wanted to talk about and those players ended up in public because they used those names to take them to other teams to see if they could create a different trade for Vincent Lecavalier. I think it was disgraceful that Josh Gorges, Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins have to read that stuff."

Gainey, who replaced Guy Carbonneau behind the bench on March 9, would prefer not to remain as coach, but said it would take two or three weeks to make a decision on the job.

He said he hopes to stay on as general manager, a position he has held since 2003, but that will be up to the team owners and executive.

With all or part of the club up for sale by owner George Gillett, all positions are in question.

Gainey's main off-season job will be to make decisions on 10 unrestricted and four restricted free agents. Those free to go on the open market include captain Saku Koivu, star wingers Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay, centre Robert Lang and defenceman Mike Komisarek.

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