Some Canadiens fans have been worried about what the impact of going to an arbitration hearing with P.K. Subban will have on the defenceman, who had to listen to management express what the club doesn’t like about his game during the process.
But Subban told Bob McCown of Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio in Toronto on Tuesday that it was no problem for him, even after the Canadiens presented an offer of only $5.25 million for one season two days before the hearing, while he and agent Don Meehan asked for $8.5 million.
Subban and the Canadiens eventually agreed to an eight-year, $72-million contract before the arbitrator had to make a decision. It is the biggest contract in Canadiens’ history.
“Yes, I was in the room,” Subban told McCown about the arbitration hearing. “I was in the room for the whole process.”
Was it difficult to hear negative things the club had to say about him?
“No, I don’t think so because a lot of what they said is probably what people have already been saying about me over my career,” Subban told McCown. “So it wasn’t really anything new for me. A lot of the stuff, I said: ‘Well, I’ve heard that before.’ But at the end of the day it was never about tearing my confidence away or trying to deter me from wanting to play for them.
“Listen, that’s arbitration … that’s business,” Subban added. “If I’m the Montreal Canadiens, I want to get any player on my team at the best value that I can for our team moving forward. It’s a cap system and the less you have to pay out the players the more flexibility you have in terms of making your team better. So you have to understand that … you have to understand that process. But at the same token, when you’ve got Donnie Meehan and Newport Sports on the other side, their reputation that they’ve earned in this business has been on situations like that and how they represent their clients. And I don’t think I could have been represented any better than the way they did.”
Subban added that there was a long-term offer on the table from the Canadiens before they went into the arbitration hearing.
“It was just finding the right deal,” he told McCown. “The right deal that was both comfortable for myself and for the Canadiens. And in the end I think we got that deal.”
Subban told McCown that he has had discussions with general manager Marc Bergevin, owner Geoff Molson and coach Michel Therrien since the $72-million deal was reached on the weekend and that “everybody’s happy.”
He added: “I’m happy to move on from this and now try to win a Stanley Cup.”
You can listen to a podcast of Subban’s entire interview with McCown by clicking here.
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)