Canadiens’ Price set ‘to take it step by step’ with injury

MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has a long way to go when it comes to playing again.

There are some important steps along the way.

Due to a persistent knee injury, the 35-year-old Price is on long-term injured reserve, and there is no timetable for his return. Price said Monday that he is focused on his daily life and not the end of his potential 15-year career in the NHL.

“We will take it step by step. I have no plans to retire at the moment,” he said. “Right now, my goal is just to be pain-free day to day. I still have some trouble getting up and down stairs, and it’s hard to get my kids up and down stairs.

“So my first priority is just to get my body to a place where I can be pain-free in my daily life and go from there.”

Price helped Montreal reach the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals — a surprising run that began with wins over two Canadian teams and then the Vegas Golden Knights — and then faced several setbacks in their return to the playoffs. He had knee surgery and sought help from the NHLPA/NHL player assistance program last year for substance abuse.

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He won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in June, which is awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.

Price appeared in just five games last season as the Canadiens were eliminated as Stanley Cup finalists. He then had a second opinion on his knee injury in Pittsburgh and the recommendation was another surgery.

The veteran goalkeeper said he “didn’t like” the idea and called the process “absurd”.

“The operation is called OATS,” Price said. “Basically, they take a shot of cartilage and bone from the lower part of your knee and into the area where the cartilage is damaged. It’s very serious and the success rate is over 50%, and from a pessimistic perspective it’s, ‘Well, there’s a 50% chance it won’t work or a 30% chance or whatever.’

“It’s something, unless I had a serious need to live my life, I might think at that moment, but now I’m looking after my young children and playing with them every day is the most important thing for me. something important.”

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For now, Price continues to rehabilitate the injury — a long, tedious process that has so far been unsuccessful.

“That was the real frustrating part, but I’ve talked to a few people who have been injured like that and it took a year for them to start feeling normal,” Price said. “So I’m still holding out hope. There’s a possibility of another injection, but we’ll have to see. We just have to try to solve the problem, but that surgery is a bit sad for me.”

There are no more places named Price at the Bell Centre. It’s a remarkable change for Montreal veterans like Brendan Gallagher, who has experienced the highs and lows of the team’s recent history with Price.

“It’s different to look down and it’s different not having him here. He’s really been part of this team, this organization for so many years,” Gallagher said. “It’s different, but I’m just lucky that the years I spent with him, and he made me look good on many nights. I would never say it to his face, but I owe him a thing or two.”

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Price considers himself to be in a “grey area” when it comes to being part of the team. He was introduced as a non-playing Canadian in a standing ovation at the Bell Center on October 12 during the season opener. The fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL draft said he is still trying to find a balance between staying close to the team. as an injured player and respecting the space of his teammates.

“Any wounded man will tell you it’s a wonderful place to be,” Price said. “You feel like you’re part of the team, but you don’t feel like you’re part of the team.

“I don’t want to be there every day and use my resources every day. These guys come here and work hard every day. They see the coaches every day and I don’t want to hinder their development. I’m going to be a part of that process here this season. , so I feel like I’m on my way.

Montreal is 3-3 and has allowed 18 goals this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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