The NHL and NHLPA announced that Price would be away from the team indefinitely after voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. No further detail surrounding the reason behind the 34-year-old's absence was released as Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin wanted to respect Price's privacy.
Price's teammates were made aware of the news at practice and were obviously shocked to find out. As a longtime teammate, Brendan Gallagher is glad to see him get the help he needs considering how much pressure he puts on himself to be a role model in the Montreal community and within the Indigenous community.
"There are a lot of emotions. First of all, you're kind of surprised and it's fair to say a little bit disappointed because you're surprised," Gallagher said after Thursday's game. "I consider him a very good friend. I've known him for 10-plus years, and any time I've been going through something, he's been there to help me. And I wish we were able to do the same thing for him."
Price had been working his way back from off-season surgery to repair a torn meniscus and hoping to be ready for puck drop on opening night. Instead, Montreal will be without their star player but for defenceman Jeff Petry that is secondary to what Price is dealing with.
"Our families have been close. It's tough because you can't really judge a book by its cover," Petry explained. "He's a guy that comes in every day and you think everything's okay. It's unfortunate that it got to a point and we're just wishing him the best."
Throughout his time in Montreal, Price has faced a lot of pressure as the team's starting goalie but has delivered world-class results. Gallagher believes that played a role in Price needing to step away.
"I think it's probably something that's been building and building and you know, being the goaltender in Montreal, this market isn't easy," Gallagher says. "It comes with a lot of perks as well of course, but doing what we do, nobody really understands what you're going through except your teammates and the coaching staff in that locker room. And I think those are the people that you need to lean on.
"It probably was a long time coming. It's definitely not an easy position and I don't think anyone was fit to handle it better than Pricey. But right now he needs our support. He's getting the help that he needs, and I'm really proud of him for making that decision."