As if there was any doubt?
To many in HabsNation, tonight’s affirmation at the 2015 NHL Awards of Carey Price was nothing more than a formality. Canadiens’ fans near and far all know how great Price is, while others know of his abilities from his gold medal performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi for Team Canada.
The night started with the presentation of the Ted Lindsay Award, which goes to the player voted most valuable by their peers. To some players, this award means more that the Hart Memorial Trophy, because the players decide the winner.
Price went up to the stage, looking sharp in a tuxedo and bowtie, and thanked everyone, from his teammates to his parents, and of course, his wife Angela. Price accepted the award with his usual humility, jokingly saying, “I’m more nervous up here than when I’m playing.”
Next up was the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender. The choice was easy. Price led the league in wins with 44, save percentage at .933 and goals against average of 1.96. Despite a great season by Devon Dubnyk, who single handedly resurrected the Minnesota Wild’s season, there’s no disputing Price’s dominance between the pipes.
Again, Price went up on stage to accept his award, except this time, his message was different. Sure, he thanked his teammates, as he always does, but instead of adding to the list of people to thank, the Canadiens’ netminder spoke about the First Nations’ Youth.
It’s well known throughout Canada that First Nations’ children struggle to succeed in life, often getting caught up in drugs and alcoholism. Tears flowed from Price’s eyes as he tried to encourage youngster to follow their dreams, and if he could make it this far in life, so could they. It was just a glimpse into the life Carey Price led in rural B.C., but one that moved everyone that was watching.
The Jennings Trophy is awarded to the team that allows the lowest goal against during the regular season. That honour was split between the Montreal Canadiens and the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Finally, it was time to award the Hart Memorial Trophy for the league’s most valuable player. Many thought because Price was a goaltender, and had the Vezina and Lindsay Trophies all but secured, that Alexander Ovechkin, who led the league win 53 goals, would be his biggest competition.
As the chart to the left shows, it wasn’t even close. Price blew away the competition, beating Ovechkin in voting by over 600 votes. John Tavares of the New York Islanders finished third.
World Junior Gold, a Calder Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs, a gold medal in 2014 and not a slew of NHL hardware. All that’s left for Care Price is to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup and his career would be complete…hopefully next season at the age of 28.