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It's time to shut down Carey Price for the season

With the season hanging in the balance, the focus has shifted to whether or not Price will be able to return in time to salvage the Canadiens.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Carey Price was injured on October 29 against the Edmonton Oilers. He returned November 20 against the Islanders, and re-aggravated the injury November 25 against Rangers. You would be hard pressed to argue against the idea that the Canadiens mismanaged his recovery.

At this point, with only a 12.5% chance to make the playoffs, the Habs would be wise to remove all pressure from their star netminder, and allow him to heal at his own pace.

Seeing Price skate around the ice gingerly, and hearing that he sought another medical opinion, it's probably safe to say that for the future of Price and the organization, it is worth taking the loss of this season on the chin and make sure Price gets the full time needed to recover.

The positive aspects of having Price back are not worth the major risk; a permanent loss of Price. Add a high draft pick, and potential trades at the deadline that could ship out players and bring in even more picks or young prospects, and it becomes clear that the best choice would be to forget about Price for the time being.

In a similar way to Magnus Nygren's concussion rehab, the best thing that happened according to Nygren was to hear he was allowed to head home, and forget about hockey completely, which allowed the subconscious mind and body to realize that rehab was the only focus. This season, he is dominating in SHL, has the second most TOI with almost 24 minutes per game, is top-ten in scoring for defenders, is the Färjestad captain, and has been selected to the national team repeatedly. This is what I think Price needs as well. He needs to shut down, recover and make sure he is ready for the next season.

For Price this will probably also mean that he would miss the World Cup, a potentially frustrating prospect, as every athlete wants to measure themselves against the best. With an Olympic gold already on his trophy shelf, a World Cup win would be a tempting proposition.

However we are talking about a franchise player, perhaps a future Hall of Famer, and a goalie who may see his number hanging from the rafters in the Bell Centre one day.

It is not worth it for the organization to take any risks at all with a player of that calibre, especially when you consider how they mismanaged his recovery earlier in the year. With the team's record with and without Price, it is clear how important he is the team, and you can not risk hurting his future.

The season is lost. It's time to start planning for the next season, and the season after. Price needs to be part of that future. Let him rest and recover. Do what is best for the player, since that is what's best for the team in the long run as well.