price waiteDon’t count on seeing Carey Price in the Canadiens nets this weekend in the games against Ottawa and Buffalo. Next week against Colorado may even be a stretch.

The “lower body” injury which is presumed to be a groin issue has bothered him since before the Olympics is still a problem.  He’s missed eight games already.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was in Toronto Thursday for a World Junior Hockey news conference.  He told reporters that as long as Price is not 100 percent he will not be taking part in team practices.

According to Bergevin,  “(Price) already had this injury, which did not prevent him from performing (at Sochi). It got worse after the Olympics. We are managing the situation as best as we can.

Bringing him directly off injured reserve into a game without practice time would be asking for more trouble. After two and a half weeks away from hard practice, his conditioning is going to be an major issue along with the possiblity of re-injuring the groin if he’s not 100 percent.

With Price presumably out of the picture for the weekend games, the Canadiens coaching staff has some hard decisions to make.  Peter Budaj has started seven of the eight games since the break and is really struggling.  He has given up 23 goals for a 3.51 goals against average and horrible .868 save percentage.  Dustin Tokarski was a 4-3 shootout winner in Anaheim in his only start as Budaj’s backup.  Surely, he can’t be any worse.  The other option is to bring up newly acquired Devan Dubnyk from Hamilton, who has over 170 games of NHL experience.

Without Price the Canadiens have won only 3 of eight games since the break and have fallen out of the top three Atlantic Division comfort zone and now rest in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, occupying the first of two wild card spots.  . They have 15 games remaining.