Will Carey Price be exhibit B – or C, D, E or F – when it comes to the debate about sending NHL players to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea?
The Montreal Canadiens netminder and Team Canada star is out for at least the next few games with what the Habs are calling a lower-body injury. Coach Michel Therrien said Price aggravated the injury in Sochi and declared him day-to-day.
According to the Canadian Press, Price left practice on Wednesday after moving laterally to make a save during a power play drill.
The Canadiens are in a dogfight with Toronto and Tampa Bay for one of three guaranteed playoff berths in the Atlantic Division. Entering tonight’s action, they were one point behind the Lightning and tied with the Maple Leafs with a game in hand. Backup Peter Budaj will take the reins, while Dustin Tokarski was recalled from the AHL to backfill.
If Price was indeed injured in Russia – something Canadian coach Mike Babcock says he was unaware of – he joins the Islanders John Tavares, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, Florida’s Aleksander Barkov, Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin, Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin and possibly Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler as pivotal players to get hurt in Sochi, or aggravate old injuries.
As the evidence mounts, it will serve to solidify the argument being made by some NHL executives that there’s too much risk in sending its best assets to the Olympics with very little tangible reward. For the owners. For the players, the reward is enduring memories and possibly a medal.
The cries from the “no-go” faction will get even louder if Price is out for an extended period of time and it impacts Montreal’s stretch drive.