The netminder missed eight games from October 30 to November 19 due to an unrelated injury, then returned against the New York Islanders on November 20, appearing in just one more game before the fateful injury that changed the nature of Montreal’s season.
The Canadiens were mum about the exact nature of Price’s injury, but they revealed the specifics on Wednesday after officially shutting him down for the rest of the season.
“For us, what is the most important thing is the safety of our players,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “Not all teams choose to keep injuries secret but most teams do. For example, one of the best players in the league is hurt right now: Evgeni Malkin. Does somebody know where he hurts?”
Apparently, the Habs approached Price to see if he wanted to end the speculation around his injury but he declined.
The initial expectation was that his recovery would take a “minimum of six weeks,” but that clearly wasn’t the case and his MCL didn’t respond as expected.
Price has injured his MCL before. Back in 2014, he collided with New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider. Price said he felt the effects of that injury three months after the fact.
The goalie began to skate on his own in January and skated in full equipment by February. By March, he was taking shots from other injured teammates. Last week, he finally joined a full team practice.
But after a record-setting start to the season, it was not to be. Price didn’t return and will miss a total of 70 games in the 2015-2016 season when it’s all said and done. He’s also ruled out the world championship in Russia in May, but he says he’ll be ready for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey this September.
“It was definitely, probably the most challenging year of my career,” Price said. “When you’re not playing and you’re not a part of the process, it’s tough to come into the room and tell guys things. When you’re injured, you’re a part of the team but you don’t feel a part of the team.”