Just in case you hadn’t heard yet, Avs rookie forward Mikko Rantanen recorded his first career hat trick last night against the Montreal Canadiens. I’m pretty sure you knew that already.
I had the fortunate opportunity to watch the last night’s matchup from the fourth row off the ice. We were just outside the blue line of the zone the Avalanche attacked twice. I had the chance to see many details I otherwise wouldn’t see in my normal season ticket seats. (They are on the red line in the first row of the third deck.) The biggest bonus was watching Carey Price up close and personal and how he chooses to conduct himself on the ice. There were a couple of things I wanted to write about and share, so here goes…
Example One: After a milestone goal (like a player’s first career hat trick goal) it is customary for a teammate (other than the actual goal scorer) to retrieve the historical puck for the goal scorer’s trophy case, mantel, etc. After Rantanen recorded his third tally Nathan MacKinnon went to get the puck for 96. That was nothing new. Here’s where things get good though. After the goal, Carey Price picked up the puck in his glove. Linesman Lonnie Cameron skated in and was ready to do what he does, get the puck and trade it out for a new fresh puck or get ready for the ensuing faceoff at center ice or whatever else. Carey Price looked right passed Cameron and held his glove directly out to MacKinnon so he could get the puck for his teammate. MacKinnon said something nice to Price, gave Price a stick tap on the rear, and we’re ready for more hockey. Check out the video below. This is the good hockey stuff.
Example Two: The Avalanche ended last night’s game on the penalty kill. As the last few seconds ticked off the clock the Avalanche cleared the puck all the way down the ice and the final horn sounded. I continued to watch Carey Price as the puck laid on his stick. He could have done a few things with that puck that I wouldn’t have been surprised by. One, flip it harmlessly (or angrily) down the ice (at no one in particular.) Or two, just leave the puck where it was. It had obviously been a long game for Price and the rest of his team. I didn’t really have a third option in my head, but Price unexpectedly showed me one. He picked up the puck with his blocker hand and flipped it over the glass to a young Canadiens fan who was sitting behind the net. That was a very cool (and in my opinion) the best option.
Carey Price has had some recent issues (including punching/spearing people with his blocker more than a few times), but last night he really impressed me. He showed class, professionalism, patience, leadership, and how players can be ambassadors for the game of hockey, even when things aren’t going well for them and their team. I have a huge passion for the game and I really didn’t need any more reasons to love it more going into last night’s game. I, however, left Pepsi Center feeling good about an Avalanche victory and even better about the game itself.
So thank you, Carey Price. You made an impression upon an “opposing” fan last night. Thanks for reminding me what the game, and sports, can be all about. It won’t be forgotten, for all of the very best reasons, anytime soon.
Let’s Go Avs (and Carey Price when he’s not playing the Avs)