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Price will 'be ready' for World Cup of Hockey

Canadiens goalie eyes September return, may play again before regular season ends

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Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price said Friday he is unsure if he will play in a game before this regular season ends but he will be ready to play for Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.

"If it happens, great. If it doesn't happen, I'll be ready in September regardless," Price told Sportsnet after practicing with Montreal for a second straight day. "I'm going to keep pushing forward.

"I'm also trying to get my game back too. I haven't faced shots in three months."

Price, who has a lower-body injury, told reporter Arash Madani, "I'm still moving out there hesitantly," and, "I don't want to wind up putting myself in a position where I'm scrambling and open myself up to anything."

Price hasn't played since Nov. 25. He stepped on a puck before a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 29, returned to the lineup Nov. 22 against the New York Islanders, but was injured again during the second period of a 5-1 win against the New York Rangers.

He was 10-2-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .934 save percentage after winning the Hart and Vezina trophies last season.

"It's been hard mentally. This has been the most trying year of my career. I feel more tired now than I do when I play hockey," Price said. "Watching, I don't know how fans do it to be honest. It's hard to sit and watch and not be able to do anything about it. It's the hardest part about this process.

"I think I've learned a lot of things in the aspect of preparing myself for a long season. I've changed a few things like my diet plans and my preparation for practices. As you get older (Price turns 29 on Aug. 16), you have to do more things like that. And I think I can carry that into next year and it will be beneficial."

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Thursday there is a chance Price will play in a game this season. Montreal has four games remaining before its season ends April 9.

"He has been working extremely hard on the ice and in the gym," Therrien said. "We hope he can come back. If he's working that hard it's not to get ready for September. But he's got to make sure he's 100 percent and we'll let Carey decide what he's going to do."

Price said he would be available to play in the eight-team World Cup tournament that begins Sept. 17.

"Absolutely," he said. "It's a long-ways off. I know I'll be prepared for that."

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