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Price claims Canadiens can start well without Weber: report

Says training camp 'going to be fun' with new players but missing injured defenseman

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Carey Price is looking forward to the Montreal Canadiens season but realizes it could be difficult without defenseman Shea Weber, who's expected to be out until December.

"Obviously it's an important time of year for every team and you know which direction you're going and it's exciting for the players that are getting acquired and the teams that are acquiring them, so it's going to be fun when we get to training camp and start to see new faces and seeing how everything's going to be incorporated," the 30-year-old goalie told Sportsnet on Monday.

Weber had surgery March 13 to repair tendons in his left foot and had arthroscopic surgery June 19 to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, with an expected recovery time of six months. The Canadiens' 34th game of the season is Dec. 19, exactly six months from the surgery. 

"Shea is obviously a huge part of our team, but we are just going to have to figure out a way to start out the season well, get on track, and he'll push us over the top when he comes back," Price said.

Video: Weber expected to miss 5-6 months after knee surgery

Montreal (29-40-13) finished 14th in the Eastern Conference last season, 26 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs one season after winning the Atlantic Division and losing to the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

That led to roster changes this offseason, including acquiring forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes in a trade for forward Alex Galchenyuk. Domi had 45 points (nine goals, 36 assists) in 82 games last season and has 135 points (36 goals, 99 assists) in 222 NHL games with Arizona.

"Playing against him, I know what type of player he is and the character that he brings to a team," Price said. "He brings a lot of grit. He reminds me a lot of [Brendan Gallagher], he's got some scoring touch, so I'm excited to see how it turns out."

Price, who was 16-26-7 with an NHL career-worst 3.11 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 49 games (48 starts) last season, signed an eight-year contract extension with the Canadiens on July 2, 2017 that runs through the 2025-26 season. The 11-year veteran is Montreal's leader among goalies in games played (558) and ranks third in wins (286) behind Jacques Plante (314) and Patrick Roy (289).

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