The Habs made the announcement Monday, confirming that the team’s best player has a lower body injury that will not require a surgical solution but will require time on the shelf.
“What he needs is rest and treatment,” general manager Marc Bergevin said. “It will take as long as it takes, but it’s a minimum of six weeks.”
Price has already missed nine games with the injury and seems likely to miss a minimum of 18 more. The injury was first suffered back on October 29 in Edmonton after the goalie stepped on a puck during the warm-up. He missed a significant chunk of time then, returning on November 20 to suit up against the New York Islanders. He made 33 saves for the win that night and managed to last until November 25 against the New York Rangers before he aggravated the injury and had to leave the game.
That has led to speculation that Price may have returned too quickly, which led Bergevin to respond.
“When it did happen, I was wondering if he came back too quick,” Bergevin said. “But based on our doctors, based on Carey, based on everything we have…it was not the reason that he got injured, that he came back too quick. But I understand the question, you always wonder if that was the case. We looked into it deeply after and that was not the case.”
While this is certainly not good news for the Canadiens, they’ve proven they can pick up wins without Price. He’s been out of action for a dozen games, but the club is still 18-4-3 and still on top of the NHL. Price is 10-2-0 on the season.
Montreal has no plans to pick up another netminder in Price’s absence, either, and that’s wise. They’ll go with Mike Condon, who is 8-2-3 on the year with a .916 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average. It was expected that Dustin Tokarski would back Condon up, but it looks like Bergevin has elected to go with prospect Zachary Fucale instead.
Fucale was picked up by the Habs in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, going 36th overall. The 20-year-old from Laval has a pretty strong reputation and is calm under pressure, which will come in handy in the coming weeks. He can endure a big workload and could be a starter someday, but problems with rebound control still dog him. Regardless, he’s in for a valuable learning experience.