Back in 2004-05, during the NHL’s last lockout, veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig returned to his old junior team, the WHL Tri-City Americans to skate with their young players, including up-and-coming netminder Carey Price.
“That was a lot of fun for me,” Price recalled in a Montreal Gazette report. So now he’s returning the favor in a way. With the NHL locked out again, Price is back with the Americans.
He originally planned to stay for a week, but as the lockout has dragged on, he’s continued to practice with Tri-City.
“I’m kind of (in) full-out practice mode now,” he said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of structure to practice.
“And these guys all really seem to enjoy scoring on me. They try a lot harder.
“On game days, I back off and let them do their own thing. But when they have a couple days between games, I’m out there with them in the morning. Some of these guys skate twice a day, again in the afternoon when they’re done with school.”
Despite the familiar environment, this is a new experience for Price. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t be training this hard in December and he obviously would have gotten plenty of playing time under his belt at this point.
Price inked a six-year, $39 million deal with the Canadiens over the summer. He’s already established himself as a workhorse and solid starter, but when this lockout ends, he’ll need to prove that he can live up to the pressure that comes with that kind of contract in a big hockey market like Montreal.