The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Thursday that Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price is taking leave from the team to voluntarily enter the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
According to the Associated Press, the player assistance program was created in 1996, and it assists players and their families with "mental health, substance abuse and other matters."
Price was already expected to miss the start of the 2021-22 regular season because of a non-COVID illness and recovery from offseason knee surgery.
Angela Price, Carey Price's wife, released the following statement on Instagram regarding Carey's entrance into the program:
While addressing the media Thursday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Price will miss a minimum of 30 days, but it "could be longer."
Bergevin also said he was caught "off guard" by the news since he just learned of it Wednesday, but added: "Today I'm not thinking of Carey Price the Montreal Canadiens goalie, but Carey Price the human being."
The 34-year-old Price has been one of the NHL's top goaltenders for the past 14 seasons, and he is coming off a magical 2020-21 campaign.
Price split time with Jake Allen during the regular season, starting 25 games and going 12-7-5 with a 2.64 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and one shutout, but it was during the playoffs when he truly stepped up.
Starting 22 games, Price went 13-9 with a 2.28 GAA, .924 save percentage and one shutout as the Habs shockingly made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Despite his remarkable performance, Price was left unprotected in the expansion draft, but the Seattle Kraken did not select him, ensuring he would remain in Montreal.
During his successful NHL career, Price has appeared in 707 regular-season games, going 360-257-79 with a 2.50 GAA, .917 save percentage and 49 shutouts.
He is a seven-time All-Star and won both the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie and the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.
Price is also in elite company on the international stage, having won gold in the Olympics, World Junior Championships and World Championships for Team Canada.
With Price away from the team, Allen is in line to take on the lion's share of the work between the pipes until he returns.
The Habs are in good hands given that Allen won a Stanley Cup during his time with the St. Louis Blues and has a career 2.50 GAA and .913 save percentage in eight seasons.