By JD Lagrange – The world came crashing down on the Montreal Canadiens when team General Manager Kent Hughes announced that their franchise player, Carey Price, would likely be shut down for the entire 2022-23 season. As the team and fans are trying to foresee what a future without their star goaltender will look like, no one is more devastated than Price himself.
What fans and media don’t see when a player is on the long term injury reserve is the work that they put behind the scene to return to play. Yes, there is a period where they do have to sit around and relax, to allow the injury to heal, it is taking its toll on the mind of athletes accustomed to training hard to stay in top shape. They are where they are because they are competitive and want to play and win. And they work their butts off to do just that.
“At this point in time, the news in terms of Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement through the rehab process all last season. Obviously, it continued to create problems for him. This summer, he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not, and at this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season,” stated Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes. “Quite frankly, I don’t know that there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process.”
So when they’re sidelined, they want to get back on the ice. They want to get back training and get back in game shape. These guys are proud. Very few are happy to be sitting at home at such a young age and do nothing. Most love their job and miss the dressing room atmosphere, the competition, the adrenaline flowing through their body. And no one is more competitive than Price. This news is, I’m sure, devastating to him… as it was for his good friend Shea Weber.
Price worked hard to return last season, to give his surgically repaired knee a test. He managed to play five games at the end of last season but the swelling returned. He had an injection earlier this summer but it didn’t help.
“We’ll probably have more to add after Carey does his physical during training camp,” mentioned Hughes. “At that point in time, in all probability, we will have another media availability with Carey and myself and one or more of the doctors.”
This is not the first time that Price is sidelined long term and neither times, the Canadiens faired well.
- In the 2014 NHL Playoffs, we all remember when New York Rangers’ forward Chris Kreider slid into Price, who missed the rest of the series with an injury. As a result, the Rangers eliminated the Canadiens in six games.
- Back in 2015, Price only played 12 games early in the season before being shut down for the year. He was coming off his season when he won every NHL Awards available… After his injury that season, the team sunk deep with a record of 21-34-4, worst in the NHL during that time span.
- Last season, prior to Price returning, the Canadiens had a 20-43-11 record.
Those two regular seasons put together, that’s a combined record of 41-77-15, a dismal .328 points percentage!
For a second season in a row, the Canadiens will have to learn to win without their best player in the line-up. And missing a second season in a row, the odds of Price returning to his old form, he who just turned 35 a few days ago, are not in his favour. It is very much possible that he will have to follow the path that his good friend and former captain, Shea Weber, has taken…