Montreal’s superstar netminder Carey Price hasn’t played since Nov. 25, but the nature of the injury he suffered against the New York Rangers has been kept under wraps by the Canadiens until now.
The Canadiens announced Wednesday that Price, 28, has officially been shut down for the season due to an MCL sprain, meaning any chance at returning for either of Montreal’s final two games is now out of the question. The official statement goes into complete detail about the significance of Price’s injury and makes clear why the 2014-15 Hart Trophy winner hasn’t been able to return to action.
“The MCL provides support to the inside of the knee and is essential for stability and knee function,” said Dr. Vincent Lacroix, the Canadiens’ head physician. “Acute, isolated MCL injuries are managed without surgery. Rehabilitation treatments lead to full functional recovery. The recovery process can be long in the case of an elite netminder such as Carey, due to the high demand placed on this anatomical structure by modern goaltending techniques.”
At the time Price suffered his injury, and a number of times during his recovery, he was asked whether or not his injury was a result of coming back too soon from an injury he had suffered in late-October that had caused him to miss nine games.
“I came back quickly but I don’t think me getting injured the second time necessarily has anything to do with my first injury,” Price said in March. “If you look at the tape, that could have happened to me if I was 100 percent healthy.”
Price added that he didn’t know whether the two injuries were connected, but Lacroix stated the injuries aren’t the same, nor is the MCL sprain the same as any other injury Price has suffered before.
During that same press conference, Price added he was “pretty confident” that he would be able to return, but that won’t be the case this season. He’s close to being medically cleared, according to Lacroix, and Price has made “excellent progress,” but it’s not yet at a place where Price can be cleared for game action. Lacroix did say, however, that Price is expected to make a full recovery over the course of the off-season. And with Price expected to make a full recovery, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to suit up for Team Canada at the World Cup.
Even while injured, Price was named as one of the three goaltenders for Team Canada, and it’s expected that if healthy Price would be the starting netminder. Nothing on that front has changed, according to Team Canada World Cup GM Doug Armstrong, who told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that it is fully expected Price will be at the World Cup in September.
“We named Carey with the understanding he will be 100 percent come the World Cup,” Armstrong told LeBrun, via Twitter. “Nothing has changed in that thought process.”
In the 12 games Price did play this season, he maintained his MVP form, posting a 10-2-0 record, two shutouts, 2.06 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. The Canadiens went into a tailspin without Price and since Nov. 26, the day following Price’s injury, Montreal has accumulated the fewest points in the league.