Canadiens claim Niemi as Price updates injury status
Montreal Canadiens claimed veteran goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers on Tuesday, as the club continues to operate without first choice pair Carey Price and Al Montoya.
Price was injured during the warmup for Montreal’s game in Minnesota on Nov. 2 and has not featured since, with the superstar puck stopper sitting out practice on Tuesday and Wednesday as he continues to recover.
While the injury was originally labelled as ‘minor,’ Price admitted his progress had ‘stagnated’ when speaking to the media on Tuesday, though the 30-year-old added he does not believe he is far away from a return to the ice and re-iterated the injury is not related to the knee sprain that forced him to miss most of the 2015-16 season.
Carey Price says it won't be much longer but progress on injury has stagnated. Asked if he would play a playoff game tonight: "Absolutely"
— ?rpon Basu (@ArponBasu) November 14, 2017
Price also praised Charlie Lindgren’s recent form for the Canadiens, adding that the play of the 23-year-old has afforded him the extra time to recover properly.
Lindgren has been outstanding in his four starts for the Canadiens so far this season, recording three wins with a .964 save percentage to help Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge move back towards a playoff spot.
The decision to claim Niemi, who is already on his third NHL team this season but does have history with Montreal goalie coach Stephane Waite after winning a Stanley Cup together in Chicago, likely points to a lengthy recovery period for Canadiens backup Montoya rather than Price himself.
Montreal announced on Saturday that Montoya was out indefinitely due to a concussion, one week after he took a hard shot off the mask leaving the club’s goaltending depth chart decidedly thin in the short term.
Caution: you may feel this impact from your living room.
Montoya gets hammered in the face by this heavy Byfuglien drive. pic.twitter.com/vSGokFiYVU
— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) November 5, 2017
The addition of Niemi, who struggled in both Pittsburgh and Florida through the opening month of the season, does give the Canadiens a veteran hand to support Lindgren, who may now lay claim to the backup role for the rest of the year, and Price, should the Team Canada goaltender need additional recovery time or a lighter workload whilst working his way back to full fitness.