Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will be back soon, but his injury is taking “longer than expected” to heal.
The 30-year-old hasn’t played since November 2 and he hasn’t practiced since then, either.
Price clarified some things on Tuesday, the same day that the Canadiens snagged goalie Antti Niemi from the waiver wire.
“[Fans] don’t have to be concerned,” Price said. “It’s just taken a little bit longer than expected just because of the nature of my position, so I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent and can do my job to the best of my ability when I come back so I’m going to make sure to take my time with it and it won’t be very long.”
Price also said that the injury occurred prior to warmup on November 2. He played through the loss to the Minnesota Wild and went to bed thinking all was well, but that was clearly not the case. If that doesn’t sound like the brightest thing in the world to do, you’re not wrong.
“I was not aware he got hurt in the warmup,” general manager Marc Bergevin said. “I found out after the fact. I didn’t know until the next day.”
This injury is characterized as a lower body injury and the Canadiens have been adamant in stating that this injury isn’t related to the 2015-2016 lower body injury that kept Price out of all but a dozen games that season.
Price is 3-7-1 this season, with a .877 save percentage and a 3.77 goals against average. Even the most casual of observers would note that something appears off in his game and maybe this recovery period will straighten things out.
Now, you could read into the signing of Niemi if you wanted to.
You could sense that the Canadiens aren’t too comfortable with the Price situation after all and aren’t really sure what “it won’t be very long” means, which is only natural given his history with injuries. And you could subsequently posit that Niemi is the insurance policy in case “it won’t be very long” turns into “it’ll be two months or longer.”
Montreal is already dealing with a concussion to Al Montoya and are working with rookies Charlie Lindgren Zach Fucale, but that’s probably not a long-term solution.
Niemi, by the way, is 0-4-0 on the season with a 6.74 goals against average and a .822 save percentage. He’s been batted around between the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins already, so maybe the Canadiens will grant him the opportunity to settle down – especially if Price is out for a while.
Which, if we’re being honest, is a distinct possibility.