Why is Carey Price so awesome? Let me count the ways.
The return date of the Montreal Canadiens MVP extended farther and farther into the future, until it was finally announced that we had already seen his last appearance in the 2015-16 season. Let's cheer ourselves up by taking a look at how this masked magician has us under his spell.
There's a reason why we grimace when Carey Price isn't starting in net for the Montreal Canadiens. And why it felt like a punch in the gut when he went down with injury — twice — this season. We witnessed the Canadiens spiral out of control without their unofficial captain, and now the fans need to wait until fall to see him manning the crease in a Canadiens jersey.
So, to help lift our spirits, and remind us just how great he is (both on and off the ice), I present you with the top 10 reasons why Carey Price is awesome!
Believe it or not, Price was not always viewed as one of the best players in the world. Once upon a time, not so long ago, he was the most scrutinized player in the NHL and was called "the next great disappointment" (gasp!).
In 2010, when the Canadiens decided to put their faith in him and trade Jaroslav Halak, he wasn't given much leeway before the fans and media turned on him. He handled the criticism with honesty and integrity, and, eventually, the haters began to change their tune.
In a tournament that featured one of the longest shutout streaks of his career, Price allowed just three goals in five games, and played a huge part in helping Team Canada bring home the gold during the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
He's a photo-bomber. When Price noticed a nine-year old fan (Justin B.) trying to sneak a selfie during a time out, he leaned in to help the kid out. This small gesture prompted Justin to write a letter to his idol stating, "a hero is someone who you not only admire for their outstanding achievements, but also for their kindness. You, Mr. Price, do both."
Not even a dancing astronaut can throw him off his game. During the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against the Tampa Bay Lighting last year, the Astronaut Guy tried his best to distract the goalie. Price laughed all the way to a 6-2 victory.
His charitable heart and loyalty to his First Nations heritage. In 2014, Price launched two breakfast club programs in his hometown of Anahim Lake, BC.
The following year, an elementary student was chosen to fly to Montreal to meet Price. After getting the opportunity to shoot a few pucks at his idol, Trent presented Price with handmade cards from the students of Anahim Lake's school. Visibly choked up, Price turned to him and said, "Thanks buddy, that means a lot to me."
Price made history at the 2015 NHL Awards by being the only goaltender to ever win four awards in one season, capturing the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player to his team, the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender, the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as selected by his peers, and shared the M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender allowing the fewest regular-season goals, with the Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford.
Even with all of the awards coming his way, he took time to participate in a poll on who should be the MVP.
After a series-clinching shutout over the Ottawa Senators last year, Price proved that he can handle a prank when instead of walking into a dressing room full of celebrating Habs, he walked into an eerily quiet one.
The Revenge Hit: When Chris Kreider, of the New York Rangers, slid skates-first into Price during the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, it felt like time stood still. When it was announced that Price had been injured and would be unable to finish his playoff run, Kreider became a marked man.
That is, until Price surprised everyone in October, 2015, when he dropped Kreider behind the net with a hit that was celebrated as hard as if the Canadiens had just won the Stanley Cup (almost).
Warning: The following clip is like a tin of Pringles — once you pop, you just can't stop.
He's a record breaker. Price backstopped his team to the best single-season record in 26 years in 2014-15, and while he was at it, broke the club record with 43 wins in a season, beating previous record-holders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden. Then, just to clinch it, won another game to take it up a notch to 44.
And obviously, dude's got some mad skills on the ice. You don't become an historic four-award winner without proving you've got what it takes.
Though it may seem like it sometimes, Price is not actually magic, and the Habs won't miraculously win every game once he's ready to get back between the pipes in October. But there is no doubt that Carey Price's presence is extremely important to the game, the locker room, and the fans.