First, a quick 2015-16 recap: Carey Price suffered an injury. Then, he was injured again, causing him to miss the majority of the season. Fans were devastated, and the Canadiens proceeded to fall into a downward spiral from which they never recovered.
It was an extremely difficult season, but the hope is that all of that is in the past.
A fresh start is just around the corner, but before the regular season is slated to begin, we’re kicking off hockey season with a tournament. The World Cup of Hockey is bringing us a best-on-best competition, before those same players have even begun their NHL seasons.
Ever since the World Cup was announced, there have been few positives surrounding Price being named to Team Canada.
Even after coming off an injury-riddled season, he was still named to the preliminary roster. But this time around, it was met with an overwhelming amount of disapproving head shakes instead of celebratory fist pumps.
As soon as this tournament fires up, all eyes will be on Price. For me, that’s nothing new. For Habs fans in general, it will be to analyze every movement to see if he’s actually healed enough to thrive for their team once again.
A word of advice: Stop worrying about something you have no control over. If you don’t, every game you watch from here on in will be excruciating for you.
Easier said than done, I know.
Will I clutch my armrest and hold my breath if Price looks even the least bit off? Absolutely. But will I grumble my way to my chair assuming the worst, only to watch the game through my fingers? Absolutely not. I’ll be settled in very happy to finally be watching Carey Price play hockey again.
The argument against him playing is simple. He could re-injure his knee during the tournament, therefore putting another damper on the Canadiens season before it even starts. While that is within the realm of possibility, to assume that it will happen is to adopt a defeatist attitude that accomplishes nothing.
Let’s try to put this into perspective.
He could injure himself the minute he takes his place between the pipes during the first game of the NHL season. He could also trip walking down the hall to the rink, twist his ankle, or fall down and break his arm. There exists a litany of situations where he could get injured, and to constantly fret about them is the wrong way to look at things.
Instead, why not take a little comfort in that the silence we dealt will all last season has been broken?
In April, Price admitted he was still moving hesitantly and didn’t want to wind up putting himself in a position where he was scrambling around. And he didn’t. He remained out for the rest of the season because he wasn’t ready to come back.
But now, we have the word of Price’s goalie coach, Stephane Waite, who after working with Price on the ice for three days in July stated:
"On the ice it [knee] was perfect. It is 100 percent restored. We are happy and our medical staff did a great job with him to bring him to the top. It is no longer a concern, he is ready to go.
And that was two months ago. Let’s not forget that Carey Price himself has also stated that he’s 100% ready to go for the World Cup and the regular season. Over the last few weeks, we’ve witnessed players dropping out of the competition due to injuries, but Price is not one of them.
He hasn’t played in almost a year, but he has to get back in the swing of it some time. Some think it’s too big of a risk; facing the best-of-the-best right out of the gate after coming off such a serious injury.
But we have to remember that this is the best goaltender in the world.
And the decision to play doesn’t rest solely in Price’s hands. Coach Mike Babcock’s goal is naturally to help his team bring home the gold. He’ll be watching like a hawk during practice and the exhibition games to ensure Price game ready. If there is the slightest of indicators that he is not, Babcock will go in a different direction.
It must also be remembered that Price’s main career goal is to raise the Stanley Cup. It seems highly unlikely that he would risk his season for the World Cup, knowing this. If he didn't think he was 100% healthy, he'd have pulled himself from the tournament as several other players did.
A little positivity goes a long way here, because Carey Price is back in nets. At worst, they'll hold him out and he'll continue getting ready for the season. At best, we'll get to watch the best in the world go to work again.
And then we'll know exactly what he's bringing to the Canadiens in October.