The Montreal Canadiens are hobbling their way into the 2021-22 season. They are already without Shea Weber this season, and have announced they will not be naming another captain in his place.
Habs coach Dominique Ducharme discussed the matter with Sportsnet. “We feel that nobody can replace Shea by themselves,” he said. “We want to put that on the whole group and have everyone rise to it. When the time comes, we’ll adjust.”
Today, they also revealed that goalie Carey Price, who underwent knee surgery in July, failed his physical Thursday and will likely miss the remainder of training camp.
Price is expected to be ready for Montreal’s season opener against Toronto on Oct. 13.
Five Canadiens failed their physicals
Price was among five players who failed their physical, joining forwards Mike Hoffman (lower body), Paul Byron (hip) and Joel Teasdale (knee), and defenseman Josh Brook (knee).
“We built a program for him to get back into playing shape,” Ducharme said. “He’s skating right now, though. He’s going to be on the ice next week with the goalie coach and athletic therapist. After that they’re going to pick it up, go harder and put him in different situations. Then he’s going to join the team practices with us and get ready for playing games. But we expect him to be ready to play on opening night.”NHL.com
Ducharme said Hoffmann could miss the start of the season.
Price, 34, had knee surgery on July 23 in New York, following the Canadiens’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. In the postseason, he was 13-9 with a 2.28 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and a shutout. He played in just 25 regular season games in 2020-21, missing time with a concussion and a lower body injury.
Hoffman had 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 52 games last season with St. Louis. The left winger signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with the Habs in the offseason. He was injured skating before arriving in Montreal but won’t require surgery.
Byron underwent hip surgery in July and is expected to be out until December.
Blueliner Joel Edmundson is day-to-day, and Brendan Gallagher has missed the outset of camp for family reasons and is expected to report later.
Price happy to be staying in Montreal
Price, 34, has 5 years remaining on a deal that has a hefty $10.5 million cap hit per season. So when he asked the Canadiens to let him waive his no trade clause to be exposed to Seattle it was a bit of a gamble.
He wanted to protect the team from losing valuable backup Jake Allen as it was rumored that Ron Francis was eyeing him. Plus with his salary and injury, he figured the Kraken wouldn’t consider it.
That wasn’t the case as reports started to fly that Seattle was seriously discussing the possibility.
“At the time, when we decided that was the course to take, we didn’t have much concern about moving. Then all the buzz around the draft makes you question that,” Price said. “We knew if it were to happen and we went to Seattle, we would have been close to our family. But we’re thankful to be back.. we’re going to be a Montreal Canadien for the rest of our career.”
Carey’s wife Angela actually detailed the entire situation on her blog and admitted there was some panic. Ultimately, they stayed in Montreal. “Our heart, my heart is with the Canadiens organization,” she said.
–Field Level Media contributed to this report