Carey Price Won’t Return This Year
The Montreal Canadiens have finally confirmed what many have expected for the last few months; with just a couple of games left in the 2015-16 season and the post-season not in the cards for the Atlantic Division club this year, starting netminder Carey Price will not be returning to the ice for the team before the spring is over.
Price himself confirmed that he won’t see action in either of Montreal’s final two games of the year, then added that he won’t be participating in the 2016 IIHF World Championships in Russia, either.
The team reportedly made the decision last night, with the team’s head physician Vincent LaCroix, their head orthopedic surgeon Paul Martineau, GM Marc Bergevin, and Price himself all coming to the conclusion before making the announcement.
The official diagnosis was that the netminder suffered an MCL sprain to his right knee on November 25th, which resulted in an extremely lengthy recovery period for the netminder that reportedly still isn’t over. Per the team, he still hasn’t been cleared to play, although he should be able to complete his full recovery in the off-season and return to the ice before the start of next year.
This injury, per the team, is not the same one suffered by Price earlier in the 2015-16 season, when he missed a short period of time for an injury in late October during a game against the Edmonton Oilers – although neither the team nor Price would give any more details about the first injury.
For the Canadiens, this is fantastic news – especially without the pressure of potentially seeing the netminder in the World Championships, which are fast approaching. It was clearly a disappointment for fans to see their season fall off the rails as seriously as it did, but ensuring that their bona fide starter (and easily most influential roster presence) doesn’t suffer any lasting effects from an injury moving forward is far more important than trying to salvage a clearly lost year.
This presents an interesting situation for Team Canada, though, particularly at the World Championships.
Last season, Price was in the playoffs when selections were made for the IIHF tournament, so the national team went with veteran Mike Smith and up-and-coming youngster Martin Jones behind a dominant skater roster composition. This year, they could use Smith again – although he’s coming off a lengthy injury of his own, with below-average stats in his limited season appearances – but lack a ton of options beyond that.
Price would have clearly been a fantastic get with Montreal missing the post-season, but now Canada will have to consider who else is available. The hottest netminders to miss the post-season this year will likely be Cory Schneider (who is American) and either Tukka Rask (Finnish) or Petr Mrazek (Czech). Cam Talbot is an intriguing possibility, although Eric Comrie or Zach Fucale could get tapped in to stand behind one of Smith or Talbot to see what they can do; Comrie has certainly had a better year than Fucale, but the latter of the two could earn favor after winning gold in the U20 World Juniors in 2015.
For Canadiens fans, though, the bottom line is clear; while Price won’t be gracing their screens on the ice any time soon, they should be ready for a dominant comeback in the fall.