MONTREAL — This season has been a ride for the Montreal Canadiens. The teams sits at a 7-23-4 record, 18 points, and behind even the Ottawa Senators.
They are only ahead of the Arizona Coyotes right now.
Only six months after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup final, the Canadiens find themselves in 31st place in the overall NHL standings with a 7-23-4 record, just a one point difference ahead of Arizona.
The Canadiens are already out of the playoff race with 48 games remaining this season and interviews have started for a new general manager to replace Marc Bergevin.
There are a myriad of reasons for this fall from Stanley Cup Finalists to the second worst team in the league: arguably the Canadiens best player, and the face of the franchise for a decade now, Carey Price has not played a game this year.
“No one had indicated to me that Carey will not play this season,” head coach Dominique Ducharme said to the Montreal Gazette on January 9.
The Canadiens head coach is still not sure when that will happen as Price continues to recover from off-season surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, followed by 30 days in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program to deal with substance-use issues.
When Price rejoined his teammates in early November after leaving the player assistant program, the goaltender would go through four stages before returning to the team. The first would be getting back in shape, followed by going on the ice with to check on his conditioning and knee, followed by work with goalie coach Éric Raymond and then practising with teammates.
But Ducharme added that Price hasn’t been on skates since mid-December.