Canadiens' Carey Price voluntarily enters NHL's player assistance program

Jesse Fuchs and Eric Engels discuss Carey Price entering the NHL’s player assistance program and the next steps for the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will be away from the team indefinitely after voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

No further details were provided in a statement from the NHL. During a media availability later Thursday morning, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin did not go into detail, respecting Price's personal privacy, but voiced his unwavering support.

"Today, I'm not thinking about Carey Price the goaltender. I'm thinking about Carey Price the human being," Bergevin said in French.

Bergevin, who learned of Price's absence on Wednesday, said the news caught him off-guard and got emotional when asked about his relationship with Price. He commended both Price and teammate Jonathan Drouin, who took a personal leave from the team last spring, for recognizing when to seek help and spoke of how important it is for other players to see that there are resources available.

"If there's other players in the NHL who have different issues, whatever that is, I think the NHL and NHLPA are really looking at the well-being of their players and I commend them to do that. I think every general manager is very sensitive to that, and we are here in Montreal," he said. "For [Drouin] and Carey and his family ... I think we need to support them, we need to respect their privacy, and wish them the best.

"I believe better days are ahead for Carey and his family."

Price is expected to be away from the team for at least 30 days, but Bergevin said that it "could be longer." The GM indicated he is confident Price will be back with the team.

Price's wife, Angela, posted a personal message via her Instagram to express the importance of putting mental health first.

"No matter what is on the line, we hope we can communicate the importance of putting your mental health first not just by saying it, but by showing up and doing the work to get better," she wrote Thursday. "Carey's showing up for himself and our family and making the absolute best decision possible for us."

Price had been away from the team in recent days dealing with what the team called a non-COVID-illness and he was already expected to miss the start of the season as a result. The Canadiens claimed goaltender Sam Montembeault off waivers from the Panthers earlier this week and he is the leading candidate to start the season as Jake Allen's back up.

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