Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price back soon – he’s training again

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price back soon – he’s training again

Main pic: Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price tosses a puck to the crowd following their 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings during overtime in NHL hockey action on April 9, 2015 in Montreal. Price resumed practising with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after he suffered a lower body injury.It was not immediately clear when he would be ready to play in a game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson. 

MONTREAL — Goaltender Carey Price is glad to be back at practice, even if he doesn’t know yet when he’ll be ready to play for the Montreal Canadiens.

Price took part in a full practice on Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a lower body injury in Edmonton on Oct. 29.

His teammates saluted the return of last season’s Hart and Vezina Trophy winner by tapping their sticks on the ice during the warmup.

“Whenever you’re away you always feel secluded and not part of it, no matter how much the guys try to cheer you up,” said Price. “I’m definitely glad to be participating.”

Price gave no details of the injury, but confirmed it happened at some point in the Edmonton game, when Montreal blew a third-period lead and lost 4-3.

He will need to get his timing back and get back into game shape before he can play in a game. When that will be, even he isn’t sure.

It won’t be Thursday night when the Arizona Coyotes visit the Bell Centre, when backup Mike Condon will start, and almost certainly not Friday against the Islanders in New York.

Coach Michel Therrien said Price will decide when he’s ready.

“It’s too early to say,” said Therrien. “He felt good. We’re happy about that.”

It has helped that Condon has been excellent in relief, going 5-1-2 in eight starts since Price was injured. The 25-year-old rookie is 7-1-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average this season.

“He really allowed me to take my time and get well,” Price said of Condon. “He played very valiantly over the last couple of weeks.

“The team played very well. That was a very good sign. I’ve been saying it all along: this is isn’t just about me.”

Many people, both fans and hockey pundits, felt the Canadiens would crumble without their star goaltender. Instead, they rallied around Condon, who was solid before allowing seven goals in his last two outings.

“It was an opportunity to prove ourselves,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “We knew a lot of the talk was that the reason for our success was Carey.

“He’s definitely a big reason for that because he’s our best player, but we had a lot to prove to the league and to people that, without Carey, we can play against the top teams. We’ve done a good job of it so far but I think the last couple of games we didn’t play for 60 minutes.”

The Canadiens are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night in which they came back from a 3-0 deficit.

During the game, Therrien benched Alexander Semin after a weak penalty in the third period and moved Torrey Mitchell to right wing with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. Semin will sit out the Arizona game, with Mitchell keeping his spot on the second line.

“There’s not too much of an adjustment,” said Mitchell, who is normally a centre but who played some right wing earlier in his career. “I’m sure I’ll still take some faceoffs and I’ll end up the low guy in the defensive zone.”

Semin looks to be in Therrien’s doghouse, but the coach said “we’re going to keep working on things to try to get his game better.”

Defenceman Alexei Emelin, who has missed two games with a lower body injury, will be out for at least three more games, Therrien said.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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