Price on leave from Canadiens, enters player assistance program

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The NHL and NHLPA announced that Carey Price will be away from the Montreal Canadiens after voluntarily entering the player assistance program.

The league’s announcement noted no further comment, and didn’t provide additional details about Price’s decision. There’s no specific timetable for Price’s return to the Canadiens.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin. “To be up front with you, news came to me yesterday. Yeah, it caught me off-guard, yes.”

On Wednesday, Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme announced that Price wouldn’t be able to practice with the team before the beginning of the 2021-22 season.

Price underwent knee surgery during the offseason. The Canadiens raised eyebrows when Price wasn’t protected from the Kraken’s expansion draft. While Price is on leave, the Canadiens’ goalie duo is likely to be Jake Allen – Sam Montembault.

The Canadiens aren’t certain if Shea Weber will play again, and also expect to start the season without Joel Edmundson.

Angela Price shared this post on Instagram following the announcement:

“If there’s other players in the NHL who have different issues, whatever that is, I think the NHL and NHLPA are really looking at the well-being of their players and I commend them to do that,” said Bergevin. “I think every general manager is very sensitive to that, and we are here in Montreal,” he said. “For [Drouin] and Carey and his family … I think we need to support them, we need to respect their privacy, and wish them the best.

“I believe better days are ahead for Carey and his family.”

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.