P.K. Subban at top of Habs’ to-do list

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Now that there has been a tentative agreement reached to end the NHL lockout, the biggest question Canadiens fans are asking is: When will the Habs sign P.K. Subban?

Subban, a restricted free agent, earned $875,000 last season in the final year of his entry-level deal and wasn’t re-signed by new Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin during the summer.

The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs reports that Subban will meet with his agent Don Meehan Monday at noon in Toronto and that if the defenceman isn’t signed by the time training camp starts, don’t expect to see him in Montreal.

 “It’s been a very tough situation for me,” Subban told Stubbs. “I haven’t been able to engage myself in a lot of the things that our team has been involved in (during the lockout).

“That’s because as much as people may believe I’ll be back this season with the Canadiens, it’s still dependent on whether we can reach an agreement. Whether I’m positive about reaching an agreement or not, there’s always a chance it may not get to that.

“So now I’m on the outside looking in, obviously waiting for an agreement to get done.”

You can read Stubbs’s column on Subban by clicking here.

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports that Bergevin and new Canadiens coach Michel Therrien can now get to work and that apart from Subban, Bergevin will have to decide what to do with Alex Galchenyuk, the team’s first-round draft pick this year. Therrien’s major chore will be to introduce a new system in a short period of time before the season starts.

You can read Hickey’s column by clicking here.

New Hab Colby Armstrong was behind the bench of the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL, working as an assistant coach, when he learned a tentative agreement had been reached to end the lockout. Canadiens captain Brian Gionta found out there was a deal when his young son jumped on his parents’ bed early Sunday morning after flipping on the TV.

Read Stubbs’s story on how Canadiens players learned the news and their reaction by clicking here.

Andrei Markov was in Yaroslavl, Russia, on Sunday afternoon, some 260 kilometres northeast of Moscow, when he heard the rumour that the lockout had been tentatively settled.

“It was all over the media here,” Markov told Stubbs over the phone.

And then he laughed.

“But you know me. I don’t believe the Russian media.”

You can read Stubbs’s column on Markov and other Habs who were playing in Europe by clicking here.

In his Monday Morning QB, column, Jack Todd says shame on Gary Bettman and the NHL owners for allowing the lockout to drag on so long.

Writes Todd: “Four months of rage and bad press. Every dirty trick and nasty stunt in the Gary Bettman Lockout Playbook. Disgusted sponsors, alienated fans, lost revenue, lost salary, lost momentum and, very nearly, another lost season. All for what? A few tweaks on a 50/50 revenue split that was agreed to almost from the beginning? A deal in January that could surely have been reached in September? And now, a compressed 48- or 50-game season, with plenty of intensity and (no doubt) enough injuries to fill a hospital ward.”

You can read Todd’s entire column by clicking here.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes that with the lockout finally over, it’s time for Bettman to step down as NHL commissioner. Read his column by clicking here.

The NHL on TSN has identified six urgent matters facing teams now that the lockout is over. Find out what they are by clicking here.

TSN also wonders if either side can claim victory after the lockout. Read more by clicking here.

Habs fans weren’t the only ones cheering the end of the lockout. Montreal restaurant and bar owners were also ecstatic, though concerned that some hockey fans will hold a grudge against players and owners.

Bars saw revenue fall by up to 40 per cent due to the labour conflict, with downtown Montreal particularly hard hit, Peter Sergakis, president of an association of bar owners, said Sunday. Read more by clicking here.

(Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

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