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Carey Price getting closer to rejoining Canadiens

Carey Price Canadiens

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 05: Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game Four of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 05, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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[UPDATE: Ducharme said that Price will return to the Canadiens on Monday.]

Carey Price seems to be getting closer to making his return to the Montreal Canadiens.

Head coach Dominique Ducharme announced on Tuesday that he expects Price to rejoin the team after completing 30 days in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program on Friday.

There is still no exact time frame on when Price will actually suit up for the Canadiens, but that time does appear to be getting closer.

Price voluntarily entered the program on October 7 and had to spend a minimum of 30 days away from the team. Friday will be the 30th day since he entered it.

He was initially sidelined throughout training camp after undergoing knee surgery during the offseason. He was also left unprotected in the expansion draft but was not selected by the Seattle Kraken.

In his absence Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault have taken over the goaltending duties in Montreal.

Price’s absence has been just one of the many issues for a Montreal team that enters play on Tuesday off to one of the worst starts (2-8-0) in franchise history. Several of the players responsible for the stunning run to the Stanley Cup Final are not available to the Canadiens this season, including Shea Weber (out for the season), Phillip Danault (free agency departure to Los Angeles), and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (restricted free agency departure to Carolina).

Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, two young players the Canadiens were expected to count on to carry a significant part of the offense this season, are also off to tough starts having combined for zero goals in 10 games. Caufield was sent to the American Hockey League on Monday.

When Price is at his best he can still be one of the league’s top goalies, something he showed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past season. Without his play the Canadiens probably would not have gotten anywhere near the Stanley Cup Final.