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Sabres Notebook: Habs remain hopeful Price will be back

There’s no update.

That’s what Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said when asked about reports that Carey Price was done for the year.

On Friday, the Montreal newspaper La Presse reported that Price has a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and would miss the rest of the season. The goaltender has been sidelined with the lower body injury he suffered Nov. 25 against the New York Rangers. He was expected to be back in January, but Price only recently started skating.

Therrien said he was confident that Price would return this season.

“There’s going to be a lot of speculation,” Therrien said after the Canadiens had a morning skate at First Niagara Center on Friday. “People will speculate about ‘what I hear from different people.’ But that’s our market.

“We know what’s going on with Carey. It takes more time obviously than we were expecting. He’s working extremely hard and he’s putting in a lot of hours to make sure that he’s going to make that comeback. The fact that he’s working extremely hard, it’s not to make sure he’s going to look good this summer at the beach. He wants to come back and play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

The speculation also included reports that the club would not confirm the extent of Price’s injury out of concern for his marketing value as the Habs are struggling to stay relevant in the playoff race.

Price went 10-2-0 in 12 games at the start of the season with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

One of the best goalies currently in the game, he has a career 2.43 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

“He’s probably more frustrated than anybody,” said Sabres forward Josh Gorges, who played with Price in Montreal from 2007 to 2014. “From knowing him as well as I’ve gotten to know him, he’s a competitor. He wants to be the guy that’s the difference maker every night. He wants to shoulder that load for his team. So I’m sure he’s probably more frustrated that he hasn’t been able to be out there helping his team than anybody.

“I haven’t spoken to him about any of that stuff. Try to let him be. He doesn’t need another guy in his ear, but I know it’s probably been hard on him.”

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Defenseman Jake McCabe stayed in the Sabres lineup Friday after the NHL rescinded the automatic one-game suspension for receiving an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the game. McCabe took the penalty Thursday in Philadelphia, immediately going after Radko Gudas, who leveled Daniel Catenacci with a hit to the head. NHL rules state that an instigator penalty in the final five minutes includes an automatic one-game suspension pending league review. The league reviewed and McCabe’s suspension was rescinded.

“When you look around this room, I think anyone would do the same thing I did in that situation,” McCabe said. “We have a tight group here and we’ve got each other’s back.”

On the flip side, NHL Player Safety did not have a hearing for Gudas regarding the hit on Catenacci. “It’s the league’s decision,” McCabe said.

“I haven’t looked at the replay again,” coach Dan Bylsma said before Friday’s game. “I have it in my brain pretty good but the way I see it, Dan has got a guy right on him and engaged with that guy and Gudas steps up into that hit without any possibility other than to hit his head first. That’s the way I saw it in my mind’s eye last night in the game. I know the league looks at every one of them. I don’t know if they have or have not made a ruling or decided on it.”

As far as Catenacci, he was placed on injured reserve Friday afternoon. Bylsma said he was doing OK on Friday.

“Obviously, he was woozy going off the ice last night,” the coach said. “I’m sure you saw him stumble by our bench but he’s doing OK today. He’s still dealing with the side effects of the hit but he’s doing OK today.”

Phil Varone was recalled from Rochester, where he was leading the team with 12 goals in 38 games.

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The Sabres will hold a game-used goalie pad auction on auction.NHL.com through 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. Proceeds benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. Up for bid are game-used pads from Jhonas Enroth, Anders Lindback and Matt Hackett, among others.

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A carbon monoxide detector giveaway will take place in the main atrium of First Niagara Center from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday. The giveaway, a partnership between the Buffalo Sabres Green Team and the Amanda Hansen Foundation, is designed for families who do not have a carbon monoxide detector in their homes. Recipients will be asked to fill out a brief survey.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

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