The memory of the Montreal Canadiens being eliminated is still fresh in Carey Price’s mind and despite a strong showing from rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski, it would be understandable if Price was privately wondering if he could have saved Montreal had Chris Kreider not crashed into him during Game 1.
It has to be an especially bitter pill for Price to swallow because he was confident that he could have returned had Montreal defeated the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.
None of that detracts from the fact that this was an incredibly positive campaign for Price.
“This team played so well in front of me all season,” Price said, per NHL.com. “I was really fortunate to be selected and be able to represent my country [at the Olympics] and I had an awesome time. It was a great opportunity to do that. And the guys in this locker room during this playoff run, it was really fun to play with these guys.
“This is the tightest group we’ve ever had. It’s sad to have it come to an end right now, but we have to look forward to next year.”
Going into this season, Price had already assembled some strong campaigns, but his success had been largely limited to the regular season. In 2013-14, he proved that he was capable of standing tall in big games.
Price posted a 0.59 GAA and .972 save percentage in five contests to help Canada capture the gold in the 2014 Winter Games. He was also one of the main reasons Montreal made it to the Eastern Conference Final with a 2.35 GAA and .919 save percentage in 12 contests.
It’s fair to say that both Price and Montreal defied expectations in the playoffs and have consequently set the bar higher going forward. Price certainly wants to meet those heightened standards and will be using this tough defeat as extra motivation going into his summer training program.
“You need to find a way to get that little bit extra,” Price said.
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.
One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.
On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.
The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.
“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”
The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”
“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:
Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.
Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.
Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.
Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.