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Canadiens' Price increases workload

Goaltender works on lateral moves and stickhandling with training staff

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price showed little discomfort during his daily skating session Friday and added the new wrinkle of working on lateral movement in the goal crease. 

Price, who won the Hart and Vezina trophies last season, has been out since Nov. 25 because of a lower-body injury. 

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after practice there was no new information to relay on Price's recovery. 

"I understand [asking] a question about Carey, but he's not right now at the next stage, so I don't have an update to give you because I don't have [one]," he said. "When he's going to come to the next stage of his rehab, I will let you know and I will be more than happy to let you know. But right now, it's about the same." 
Price skated for nearly an hour Friday with a member of the Canadiens training staff. He worked on lateral movement in the crease wearing his blocker and glove and holding a goalie stick. He then moved behind the net to retrieve pucks and clear them around the boards. Price also worked on other puckhandling drills with his blocker and glove on, as well as shooting and skating drills with a regular stick and gloves. 

Price has skated nearly every day since Jan. 11 without his goaltending equipment, but created a bit of an uproar in Montreal on Wednesday when he broke his stick in frustration and grimaced in apparent pain while doing skating cross-overs. 

Therrien had no information on Price's apparent pain Wednesday, either. 

"I was not there," he explained. "And I don't watch TV." 

The video from Wednesday led to many calls that Price be shut down for the season, especially in light of the fact the Canadiens' 5-20-1 record in their past 26 games has made it unlikely they will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, a reality Therrien admitted following a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. 

The Canadiens are six points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Prior to Price's injury, the Canadiens were first in the Atlantic Division. 

The initial belief was Price would need six weeks to recover from his lower-body injury, then it was announced he would not return until after the All-Star Break. But on Jan. 21, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he expected Price to need another three to four weeks to recover. 

"It's been slower than we expected," Bergevin said last month. "Injuries … everybody's body is different, heal quicker, slower. His position is very demanding for his injury. So it has gone slower. ... We don't have a time frame. We hope to have him back. But he's not here. We have to move forward without Carey." 

If Price were to return at the three-week mark, it would be Feb. 12 against the Buffalo Sabres. If it's four weeks, it would be Feb. 19 at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Neither of those dates seem very likely, because Price is not yet skating with his equipment on. 

Since Price left the lineup the Canadiens have gone 7-20-2; their 16 points in that span are seven points fewer than any team in the League.

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