With nothing left to play for, the Montreal Canadiens have shut down injured superstar Carey Price for the remainder of the season.
It's a disappointing finish for the league's reigning MVP, who said back on March 11 that he hoped to see action in a matter of days. Instead, he'll settle for playing just 12 games (10-2-0, 2.06 GAA and .934 save percentage) in a season that left Montreal fans to wonder what might have been.
This decision, which was made jointly on Tuesday night by the player and the team's medical staff, led the Canadiens to finally come clean on the nature of the injury that sidelined Price.
"Carey sustained a medial collateral ligament injury (MCL sprain) to his right knee on November 25th, 2015 in a game against the New York Rangers," Dr. Vincent Lacroix, Montreal's head physician, said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday. "The MCL provides support to the inside of the knee and is essential for stability and knee function. Acute, isolated MCL injuries are managed without surgery. Rehabilitation treatments lead to full functional recovery. The recovery process can be long in the case of an elite netminder such as Carey, due to the high demand placed on this anatomical structure by modern goaltending techniques.
"Although Carey has made excellent progress and is very close to being able to return to competition, he has not presently been cleared to do so. He is expected to make a full recovery over the off-season. This injury was not the same as the one he suffered earlier this season (October 29th at Edmonton), nor in previous years.”
That's good news for those who are worried that a recurring structural issue had manifested itself with this latest injury, or that the delay hinted at a setback that might require surgery.
There's no word on how this might impact Price's availability for Team Canada at the World Cup tournament in September. But in an interview with NHL.com conducted last week, he expressed confidence that he'll be ready.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's a long-ways off. I know I'll be prepared for that."
The Canadiens also announced on Wednesday that defenseman P.K. Subban is done for the season. The 2013 Norris Trophy winner hasn't seen action since injuring his neck in a collision with teammate Alexei Emelin on March 10, although it's thought that a strained MCL suffered while playing against the Sharks on Feb. 29 also contributed to the decision to shut him down.
Subban, a candidate to be named to the Canadian World Cup squad, had been expected to skate for Canada at the upcoming World Championships. That plan appears to be on hold.