P.K. Subban skated for the first time with his teammates in practice Friday morning in Brossard. Subban and backup goalie Peter Budaj were on the ice 35 minutes before the scheduled 11 a.m. practice.
Subban was paired with Francis Bouillon at practice, while the other defence pairings were Andrei Markov with Alexei Emelin and Josh Gorges with Raphael Diaz. Yannick Weber and Tomas Kaberle looked like the odd men out on defence for Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre (2 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN 690 Radio). Subban also practised on the second power-play unit with Bouillon.
Also on the ice was Max Pacioretty, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last Saturday night and has been cleared for practice. Pacioretty was not wearing a non-contact jersey and looks like he’s ahead of the team’s original prognosis putting him out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks.
Pacioretty did every drill with his teammates during the 70-minute practice.
Pacioretty’s wife, Katia, told The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs on Thursday that her husband’s healing powers are a “sick joke.”
Tweeted Stubbs: “I’m not sure that she was kidding.”
After practice, Pacioretty told reporters the doctors said if he takes care of himself “I might be able to come back a little early and I’m doing everything possible to make that a reality.”
“I was feeling those wind sprints, too,” Pacioretty said.
“And that’s I think why I want to get on the ice as soon as possible. And (the) doctors kind of put it in my hands, saying I can’t really make it worse. So I guess that’s the competitive nature for me to get out there and push it as much as I can so when I’m playing I’m going to be ready.”
“It’s so hard to tell, I don’t know,” Pacioretty said when asked by a reporter when he was looking to return to the line-up.
“Like I said everything is in my hands. Maybe they shouldn’t have done that because if it were my choice I’d play tomorrow. But hopefully I can hold it together here for a little bit longer and start playing.”
Pacioretty missed practice last Saturday morning for flu-like symptoms. Early that evening he underwent the appendectomy.
“We thought it was a muscular problem at first,” Pacioretty said. “And then I got a huge fever and that’s when they kind of realized, they put two and two together and ended up getting the CT Scan and they noticed (the appendix) was inflamed,” he said.
“I was lucky the doctors and the trainers jumped on it really quick. They got it out pretty quick and I think that’s why I’m feeling so good right now,” Pacioretty said.
Subban said he’s been extremely anxious for a long time to get back on the ice. “I was talking to (teammate Brandon Prust) today about how good I felt out there and just to be back on the ice.”
“I think that we’ve got a great opportunity this year,” Subban added.
“It’s a shortened season. It’s anybody season to really go out and make the best of it. It’s a sprint. It’s not a marathon. So the quicker I can get back on the ice and feeling good and being a part of the team, the better off I’m going to be.”
Coach Michel Therrien wouldn’t say whether Subban will play this weekend.
“He looks good. There’s a difference (between) being in shape and game shape,” Therrien said.
“We’ll sit down this afternoon and we’ll sit down again tomorrow and make our decision,” Therrien said.
Goaltender Carey Price will be net for Saturday’s game.
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)