That makes sense because Price has been working hard in practice, but his work has been confined to lateral movement in the crease while taking shots from players who are not Auston Matthews.

In fact, they’re not even Cole Caufield.

During an optional practice at the Leafs’ training facility Friday, Price was at one end of the ice taking shots from Ryan Poehling, Jeff Petry and rookie Jordan Harris.

There was a sign Price’s competitive nature is gearing up. After he was beaten on two consecutive shots, he angrily fired a puck into the corner. Of course, vintage Price would have smashed his stick over the crossbar.

But his preparation leaves something to be desired. There was no one in front of the net screening him. There was no one bumping into him. And no one crashing the net.

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