Price said that while he expects to be back soon his ailment is taking longer to heal than he had originally expected. The 30-year-old hasn’t played or practised since a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 2. Price explained Tuesday that he suffered the injury during the warm-up prior to that game, although he did not go into specifics on what the exact injury is.
“[Fans] don’t have to be concerned,” Price said. “It’s just taken a little bit longer than expected just because of the nature of my position, so I just want to make sure I’m 100 per cent and can do my job to the best of my ability when I come back so I’m going to make sure to take my time with it and it won’t be very long.”
The last time Price missed a significant chunk of time was when he played just 12 games in 2015-16 because of a knee injury. The Canadiens failed to qualify for the playoffs that year but Price’s current injury is not related to that one.
“I know that it’s not going to be a long-term process like it was last time,” he explained.
Price recently returned to the ice in full equipment to skate laps and do some light edge work in the crease but has decided to forgo skating for the time being.
“It just wasn’t getting better,” Price added. “It was getting stagnant so we just decided to give it a rest for a couple of days and reassess it in a couple days.”
Prior to getting hurt, Price had struggled mightily this season with a 3-7-1 record, 3.77 goals-against average and .877 save percentage.
“Carey’s one of the best players in the world. Right now, it’s next-man-up,” Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty told reporters.
Charlie Lindgren was recalled from the AHL’s Laval Rocket earlier this month and has supplied the Canadiens with a steady presence in net. The 23-year-old has gone 3-1-0 with a 1.24 GAA and .964 save percentage including a 38-save shutout over the Blackhawks in his season debut.
Price and the Canadiens have consistently referred to his injury as minor. The 2015 Hart and Vezina winner even said if it were the playoffs he would play, but since Lindgren has been doing so well it’s affording him more time to fully recover.
To add some depth in the crease the Canadiens claimed Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers Tuesday. Niemi is 0-4-0 with a 6.74 GAA in five appearances this season split between the Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Canadiens currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division at 8-9-1 and host the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday.