Carey Price’s recovery now ‘slower than expected’

HC at Noon panel believes the Montreal Canadiens should trade for Eric Staal to get them into a playoff spot and would be a good fit for the organization.

The plummeting Montreal Canadiens were dealt another dose of bad new Thursday.

Goaltender Carey Price, the NHL’s reigning MVP, could miss another three weeks or a month as he recovers from his lower-body injury.

In late November, Price was given a six-week recovery timeline. Now, Habs fans are looking at a late-February or early-March return, though no exact date has been given.

General manager Marc Bergevin met with reporters and admitted that Price’s recover has been “slower than expected” but said there has been no setback. Price’s injury is especially demanding because he plays net.

“We have to find a way to win without Carey Price. That’s a fact,” Bergevin said. “I thought we’d dip, yeah, but not this bad.”

Price’s unspecified injury did not require surgery and he has been skating by himself. The health issue stems from an incident on Oct. 29 in Edmonton, where Price stepped on a puck during warm-up.

After rushing to its best start in franchise history, Montreal has dropped five straight games and fallen out of the playoff picture.

When Price last played, the club was in first place overall. The Habs now sit sixth in the Atlantic Division and 16th overall.

Price started the season with a seven-game winning streak, but the Edmonton injury cost him the next 22 days of game action. The star netminder returned on Nov. 20 and posted three more W’s.

The 28-year-old was removed from his Nov. 25 victory over the New York Rangers after re-aggravating the injury.

“It was not the reason he got injured, that he came back too quick,” Bergevin said. “We looked into it really deeply after, and that was not the case.”

Price (10-2-0) has recorded two shutouts and holds a sparkling save percentage of .934.

The tandem of rookie Mike Condon and newly acquired Ben Scrivens has been tasked with holding down the fort in his absence.

Condon (12-12-4) has seen his save percentage drop to .907 over the course of the Habs’ eight-week slide, while Scrivens has dropped all three of his starts with Montreal and has a save percentage of .882.

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