Canadian fans will get another look at their top two Olympic netminders heading into the break when Carey Price and Roberto Luongo face off Thursday night in Montreal on Sportsnet Pacific (7:30 p.m. ET).
“We’re not teammates yet,” Price told reporters when asked if it was special to go head-to-head with Luongo.
Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock has already said that Canada will likely split the first two goaltending starts, and it is widely expected that Luongo and Price will be the top two starters.
So who will separate from the other and carry the load in the net for Canada? Will they go with the proven vet or with the upside in Price? Will Thursday night’s game make a difference?
Canadian Olympic Goalies Since Roster Announcement:
Luongo – 2.71 GAA & .910 SV%
Price – 2.86 GAA & .909 SV%
Smith – 2.72 GAA & .908 SV%
To make the debate clearer, we’ll give you an extensive look at the two most prominent Canadian netminders.
Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 34 Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 217 pounds Born: Montreal, Quebec Catches: Left Drafted by: New York Islanders, No. 4 overall, 1997 NHL Draft
Current stats: 40 games, 19-14-6 record, 2.32 GAA, .919 save percentage, 3 shutouts
Olympic experience: Luongo will be making his third Olympic appearance for Canada. He played a significant role on the gold-medal winning team in Vancouver 2010 and served as a backup to Martin Brodeur in Turin 2006.
Other Team Canada experience: Luongo was named the top goaltender when he represented his country at the 1999 World Juniors. He also won gold medals at the World Championships in 2003 and 2004 and has participated in the World Cup.
Contract: 12 years/$64 million
Salary cap hit: $5.33 million
Career stats: 787 games, 367-303-59, .919 save percentage, 2.51 GAA, 65 shutouts
Notes: Luongo is the only goalie since 1947-48 to serve as a team captain. The former all-star was part of the tandem with Corey Schneider that won the William Jennings Trophy in 2010-11. Luongo is married and has two kids. He spends his off-season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is an avid golfer and poker player.
Team: Montreal Canadiens
Age: 26 Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 219 pounds Born: Anahim Lake, British Columbia Catches: Left Drafted by: Montreal Canadiens, No. 5 overall, 2005 NHL Draft
Current stats: 46 games, 24-17-5 record, 2.37 GAA, .923 save percentage, 4 shutouts
Olympic experience: This will be Price’s first time representing Canada at the Olympic Games.
Other Team Canada experience: The Vancouver native has an extensive history with Hockey Canada. He won silver medals at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in 2004 and the IIHF World U18 Championship in 2005. As well, he won gold at the World Juniors in Sweden and was named the tournament’s MVP and top goaltender after posting a 6-0 record with two shutouts.
Contract: 6 years/$39 million
Salary cap hit: $7 million
Career stats: 356 games, 169-134-44, 2.54 GAA, .916 save percentage, 23 shutouts,
Notes: The three-time all-star was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 2008. Prior to joining the Canadiens, he won the Calder Cup with the AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs where he earned the Jack Butterfield Trophy as MVP. Price got married over the summer and resides in Kelowna, B.C., in the off-season.