Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price returned to practice on Monday. He’s expected to join the team for their back-to-back road games on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is good news.
Charlie Lindgren is currently slated as the starter for Tuesday when the Habs face the Dallas Stars.
Price hasn’t played since November 2 and hasn’t exactly been playing well this season. He has a 3.77 goals against average and a .877 save percentage in 11 games.
Lindgren’s play has kept the Canadiens in it, as they’ve gone 4-3-1 in Price’s absence.
“It’s a first step,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said of his goalie’s return to practice. “It’s encouraging. Carey will make the trip. We’ll take things day by day.”
Price has spent time working out with goaltender coach Stephane Waite and has noted that this current injury isn’t related to the injury that kept him out of action in 2015-2016.
But at this point, there’s a lot of speculation around the 3-7-1 netminder and the 8-11-2 Habs in general.
Montreal has lost three straight and became the first team this season to fall to the hapless Arizona Coyotes. They also lost 6-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
This has fuelled considerable doubt around the franchise and rightly so, as the club has had trouble living up to the high expectations surrounding it over the past few seasons.
With just 18 points in 21 games this season and with an early playoff exit still fresh in the minds of fans from last season, very little seems to be going right in Montreal.
That could mean some changes are in order, which has already led to mild speculation that even the likes of Max Pacioretty could be in the conversation. Whether that means the Canadiens are in need of a retool up front is still up in the air, but you have to imagine that the club would do well to move beyond a “goalie-first” mentality.
In other words, injuries and uncertainty in the Carey Price department may have finally made it clear that the Habs can’t afford to be a Carey Price team.
Defenceman David Schlemko, who had hand surgery in October, was also on the ice for practice Monday. He, like Price, will join the team for the upcoming road trip.