— Carey Price
can't run from Patrick Roy
's shadow now. As long as he wears the bleu, blanc et rouge
of the Montreal Canadiens
, it will follow the young goalie from the dressing room to the ice at the Bell Centre.
A picture of Roy is posted over Price's stall inside the locker room, and his No. 33 now hangs over the goal that Price defends for the first and third period of home games.
"He's already looking over my shoulder," Price said. "He's looking over me in the dressing room and on the ice now."
It seems as though Price wouldn't have it any other way. To know that, all you had to do was listen to him talk following Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins
, the night the Canadiens officially welcomed Roy home again.
"I'm very honored to be able to say that I was beside Patrick when the banner went up," said Price, who along with team captain Saku Koivu
and backup goalie Jaroslav Halak
helped Roy raise his number to the rafters. "That's pretty special. I was probably more nervous for this game than a playoff game."
While clearly upset about losing the game and another point in the Northeast Division standings, the Canadiens, who now trail the first-place Bruins by seven points, were genuinely touched and thrilled like everyone else in the building to witness Roy's jersey retirement ceremony.
"It's a part of history, especially for him because he's the guy that all of us watched growing up," forward Tom Kostopoulos
told NHL.com. "We watched him win and we were able to see how competitive and how much of a champion he was. So it was fun to be here. I think it gave everyone chills down their spine to witness it and see how the crowd reacted to it."
Price said one of his favorite moments was watching Roy's entrance.
In a last-minute idea by the team's marketing department that Roy agreed to Saturday morning, he entered the front door of the Bell Centre and strolled through the concourse level, greeting stunned fans along the way. He came down the stairs in Section 101 amid a roaring, standing sellout crowd.
"That was really cool," Price said. "It was pretty special, especially for some of the fans that got to shake his hand on his way through."
Kostopoulos said his favorite part of the ceremony was when the Canadiens brought out 12 minor-hockey goalies, 10 of whom were wearing jerseys representing French-Canadian NHL goalies.
They included Martin Brodeur
, Roberto Luongo
, Jean-Sebastien Giguere
, Mathieu Garon
, Jose Theodore
, Pascal Leclaire
, Marc-Andre Fleury
, Martin Biron
, Patrick Lalime
and Felix Potvin
. Two others were wearing jerseys representing Price and Halak.
"Montreal does such a classy job with all these ceremonies," Kostopoulos said. "I thought the coolest part was all the young goalies they had. That was cool. That was a nice touch."
Price and Kostopoulos admitted that the lengthy ceremony prior to the game did change the team's physical preparation a bit, but neither said it affected the Canadiens.
"It definitely changes your preparation a little bit, but that's a special thing to be a part of," Price said. "I'm not going to blame anything on the ceremony. We were all ready to go as soon as that ceremony was over. The ceremony was unbelievable."
The Canadiens were beaten when Blake Wheeler
scored the lone shootout goal in the first round. Wheeler appeared to lose the puck at the last moment, but Price appeared as surprised as Wheeler and the puck slid past the goaltender and ended up going into the net.
"It's pretty lucky," Price said. "Sometimes that happens. The no-move move sometimes works."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org