• Full Subban/Bergevin conference call (one minute or so of CTV interrupts call at about 14 minutes)
The Canadiens have signed defenceman P.K. Subban to a two-year deal putting to an end the contract saga that has hovered over the start of the team’s season. The team made the announcement Monday evening.
The first year of the deal is worth $2 million but will be prorated for the lockout-shortened season. Subban will collect $3.75 million for the 2013-14 season.
Negotiations between the team and Subban’s agent Don Meehan started last May and resumed once the National Hockey League lockout ended but hit a stalemate.
A subdued Subban praised Bergevin Monday night for his professionalism and said the general manager’s consistency led to a resolution of the dispute. He complimented his teammates on their strong start to the season and said he was anxious to get on the ice with a great player like Andrei Markov.
“I watched all the games on TV and to say it was dfifficult would be an understatement,” Subban said from his home in Toronto.
Subban said it was particularly tough on opening night when Hall of Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Henri Richard, Serge Savard and Jean Béliveau participated in the opening ceremony. He said it served as a reminder that the Canadiens are a family and he wanted to be part of it.
“I grew up as a Canadiens fans and you all know my father is a great fan and I’m anxious to get back on the ice with my teammates,” Subban said.
“I’m always ready to play,” added Subban, whose return to the lineup is in the hands of head coach Michel Therrien.
Said Therrien at Tuesday’s morning skate in Brossard: “I’m going to meet with P.K. tomorrow and talk with him then. We’re not sure yet exactly when he’ll play.”
Subban will join his teammates Wednesday in Ottawa and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s in uniform this weekend when the Canadiens play their annual Super Bowl weekend matinees Saturday against Buffalo and Sunday against Ottawa.
Subban, 23, led the Habs in ice time last season, averaging 24:18 per game. He also had the most points – 36 – of any Canadiens defencemen last season.
The Habs face the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN 690 Radio).
At Tuesday’s morning skate the lines were set up like this: Eller-Desharnais-Cole; Prust-Galchenyuk-Gallagher; Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta; Moen-White-Armstrong (Blunden out). The defence pairings were: Markov-Emelin; Gorges-Diaz; Kaberle-Bouillon. Weber will be a healthy scratch and Price will start in goal.