By Bill Beacon
THE CANADIAN PRESS
BROSSARD, Que. _ There was a sigh of relief at the Montreal Canadiens practice rink when goalie Carey Price skated out and began his usual game day routine on Monday morning.
Price finished the game, but there was fear that the league leader in every major NHL goaltending statistic may have suffered an injury only two weeks ahead of the playoffs.
Shortly after the game, Subban sent out a tweet that read: “The answer is ”yes“ I am happy that my home boy ”Carey Cash, bCP0031 Money“ is ok!”
And Price looked his usual self during the skate.
That had Subban smiling.
“I knew if there was a problem, he probably wouldn’t have finished the game,” the defenceman said. “It was a scary moment for everybody.”
Price was playing a puck near his net when Subban suddenly lost his footing and crashed into the goaltender’s pads.
Subban said a trainer told him a skate needed sharpening before he went on the ice, but decided to take one more shift and use the break before the overtime to get it done. Then he slipped and nearly took out the team’s most important player.
“Lo and behold, I’m just gliding back and. . . I looked at the replay and it doesn’t even look like I lost my edge,” he said. “It was worse than the Kreider hit, I think.
“I’m happy he’s OK. Once I knew it, I was relieved. I thought I’d get a lot more blow back for that and I didn’t. So, let’s say I slept well on Saturday night.”
Price was injured during the Eastern Conference final last spring when the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider crashed into him.
Stellar play by Price is the main reason the Canadiens led their conference with six games left in the regular season. He will be counted on heavily in the post-season.
Another key player is Subban’s defence partner, veteran defenceman Andrei Markov, who was voted by the media who cover the Canadiens as the team’s candidate for the Masterton Trophy for dedication, perseverance and sportsmanship.
The 36-year-old Markov, not a big fan of media interviews, said with his usual deadpan humour: “It’s probably even more special because it comes from you (reporters).”
“He deserves it,” said Subban. “We know what he’s gone through in his career.
“He’s helped me as a defence partner for a while now, but he’s helped all the young guys with his leadership. Not so much talking, but walking the walk, on and off the ice.”
Markov, a sixth round draft pick by Montreal in 1998, is closing in on 850 NHL games and 500 points despite a series of career-threatening knee surgeries. The Russian played only 65 games in a three-season stretch between 2009 and 2012
He isn’t as quick as he once was, but Markov makes up for it with strong positional play and intelligence. And his partner Subban, has plenty of speed for both.
“A lot of times we don’t talk, we just read off each other,” said Subban. “When I play with Andrei I feel like I’m playing shinny on my backyard rink sometimes.
“We have a structure, but within it, there’s a lot of creativity.”
Defenceman Tom Gilbert skated but remains out of action with a fractured jaw. He was to miss a third game when the Canadiens faced the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.