Nov 8: Price is now back with the team, though there is still no timeline on his return to game action. The veteran goaltender was examined by trainers at the practice facility yesterday according to John Lu of TSN, who also notes that his first interaction with teammates is expected to be Tuesday.
Nov 2: The Montreal Canadiens are floundering at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, winning just two of their first ten games. They’ve been working without Carey Price, who last month announced that he was entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. The minimum 30-day period for the program is up at the end of the week, and today Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme told reporters including Eric Engels of Sportsnet that they expect their star goaltender back soon.
There’s no exact date for Price’s return, but they could certainly use him. The team has been going with Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault in his absence, a tandem that has combined for a .899 save percentage through ten games. Montembeault in particular has struggled, allowing eight goals in his two appearances.
No team in the league could lose their highest-paid player without struggling, but in Montreal’s case, the absence of Price has only been magnified because of the departure of several other key players from last year’s Stanley Cup runner-up. Shea Weber, the team’s captain, is unlikely to ever play again. Phillip Danault, the team’s former top center, is now in Los Angeles. A Stanley Cup winner in Joel Edmundson has been on the shelf since the start of the year. Even the absence of depth players like Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi has really hurt Montreal’s lineup, despite the attempt to replace them with names like Mike Hoffman and Christian Dvorak.
Hopefully, Price is ready to return to the team in the coming days and can help them dig out of this early-season hole. Even more, hopefully he has received the help he needed during the month away.