OTTAWA -- Carey Price took a moment to look around the dressing room at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday while Team Canada got ready for the second part of its practice on the first day of training camp for the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
The Montreal Canadiens goaltender missed the final five months of the 2015-16 season because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, sustained Nov. 25, 2015 against the New York Rangers. He went 10-2-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in 12 games prior to the injury.
Price, who said he experienced no issues with his knee during practice, said he took a look around because he appreciates the chance to play for his home country again.
"I was thinking that when we went out there for our power play and penalty kill practice," he said. "You just kind of look around and it's just like, 'This is pretty cool to be a part of.' You always dream as a kid of being in a situation like this, to look around the ice and say, 'This is pretty cool.'"
Price, 29, helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, winning all five games he played while allowing three goals.
He said his knee felt fine about a month after last season ended, but it takes longer to have confidence that everything is 100 percent. He started skating the first week of August, a couple of weeks earlier than normal, in Kelowna, British Columbia, and he believes he took another important step Monday.
"We have a pretty good skate going on in Kelowna, but it's nothing like this," he said. "This is real fast, crisp. Everything is smooth. It's just a joy to be out there. I had a big smile on my face all day just being out there with these guys.
"I feel like I'm over that mental barrier now after getting a good workout like that in and [I'm] ready to go now."
Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong said Price wouldn't have been invited to training camp if there was any doubt about his health.
"Everyone has to be prepared to play. There's no easing into these events right now," Armstrong said. "We play two high-intensity games next week [pretournament games against Team USA Sept. 9 and Sept. 10], and everyone has to be ready. It wouldn't be fair to bring players in and let them ease into the tournament. If you're here, you have to be ready to play and you have to be ready to play from Day One. Carey was aware of that when he accepted the invitation.
"We're very comfortable Carey is ready to go and he's very comfortable he's ready to go."
Price said he likes the fact he was thrust straight into a high-intensity practice with some of the world's top players.
"We're getting right into the boiling pot here. I think it's good," he said. "You just jump right into it, just get things going. I think we have enough time here before the tournament starts to kind of get up to speed. I know everybody is just excited to just get that first game out of the way."
The next step will be the chance for Price to play in a pretournament game. Team Canada plays Team USA at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPNU, SN, TVA Sports) and at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports).
Price said he expects to play a full game when he gets the opportunity.
"I'm just anxious to get back into that first game and kind of get going and start getting your routine going again and getting a feel for the game," he said. "But [having played] over 400 games in the NHL, it shouldn't take me too long to get back into it."