Carey Price is coming back this season.
At least that’s his intention.
“Pretty confident. As far as things are progressing, things are looking pretty good,” said the Montreal Canadiens goaltender.
There was a report last month from La Presse that the Canadiens and Price were going to shut it down this season – especially after Montreal tumbled from the top of its division to the draft lottery during his absence – but that that team hadn’t announced it for “marketing purposes.”
It was bleak for Price in Februrary. Price said there was concern that his rehab had “plateaued.” But he said it turned the corner in the last couple of weeks, and believes he’ll get back on the ice for Montreal before the end of the season.
Even in the face of many still asking if it’s worth Price coming back.
“Butterfly, stretching out … it’s goaltending. It’s not the easiest position to play. That’s why we wanted to make sure we were 100 percent,” he said.
His sights are also set on the World Cup of Hockey, as Price was named to Team Canada on Wednesday, along with Corey Crawford and Braden Holtby, whom Price put over as the best goalie in hockey while he’s on the sidelines.
“Obviously I wanted to be named to the team. It’s an honor to be able to represent your country,” Price said.
So despite missing every game since Nov. 25, Price is targeting a return soon. What, exactly, was the injury? Price said it was more like “injuries.”
He felt like he was 100 percent when he returned in November, having missed three weeks with a lower-body injury. He didn’t “reinjure” himself, said Price, but had a “different type of injury.” He mentality was to rehab rather than have surgery. “My mentality was to come back sooner. Six weeks? That’s not that long,” he said.
Alas, his rehab was complicated and prolonged. But there’s no hindsight for Price, because he says surgery wasn’t an option.
“No, it wasn’t. The nature of my position, it was just bad for goaltenders. It’s the only way to explain it. It’s never been an option to get surgery, so that’s that. Time was going to be the only option to let [the injury] fully heal, and it’s taken longer than expected,” he said.
There had been reports that it was an MCL injury in his right knee.
“Timelines are given at the start of an injury, and that’s based on previous injuries. I don’t think it’s been diagnosed within this organization before. Maybe they haven’t seen that before,” said Price. “The nature of my position just made it really a difficult process to make it happen quickly.”
Whatever the ailment, Price says he’s comfortable getting some reps in for the Canadiens and then representing his country next September.
“It’s not a matter of protecting me. I’m going to play regardless. I’d just like to do it sooner than later.”
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