Canadiens goaltender Carey Price replied to my text message on Nov. 14, in answer to a query about his whereabouts:
“I’m in B.C., not coming back.”
What Price neglected to mention, obviously, is that he indeed plans to return to Montreal if and when the National Hockey League lockout comes to an end.
For going on a month, the 25-year-old has been either at his off-season home in Kelowna, B.C., or in Washington state’s metropolitan Tri-Cities area, about a six-hour drive south.
It was with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans that Price played four years of major-junior hockey, graduating in 2007 to a Calder Cup- and MVP-winning playoff run with the American league’s Hamilton Bulldogs and, that autumn, stepping up to their parent Canadiens.
It was in the Pasco, Wash., home of Dennis and Jill Williams, his four-season billet family, that Price signed his first professional contract with the Canadiens organization on April 9, 2007, a three-year NHL entry-level deal that paid him $2,805,000.
And it is here with the Americans that Price, who this past July 2 signed a six-year, $39-million Habs contract, is practising once again, skating with a team whose jersey he wore from age 16 to 19.
“These guys are pretty fun to skate with, and it’s giving me a bit more motivation,” Price said Saturday from Washington, where he’s spending some quality time with his fiancée, Angela, and her family.
“It’s not like I was here such a long time ago, either. I still know the general manager (Bob Tory) very well, and the head coach (Jim Hiller) was my assistant coach my rookie year here.”
The rest... just like Maryanne.
It's good to have hookups.