The Montreal Canadiens are about to get one of the game’s best young defensemen back in the fold after signing restricted free agent P.K. Subban to a two-year deal.
You would think that might be met with some excitement in the Montreal dressing room, but it certainly doesn’t sound like that’s the case. In fact, it sounds like some other Habs are wondering what took so long for Subban to agree to a new deal.
“To be honest, I’m glad that we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” fellow defenseman Josh Gorges said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “It’s a non-issue now and we can focus on getting ready to play the games without anything else to think about.”
Yeah, but Gorges must be excited to get a dynamic player like Subban back on the Montreal blue line, right?
“Like I said, it’s good that it’s over and done with and it’s settled. We don’t have to have these talks in the morning of what-if-this and what-if-that. It’s over. We can focus on playing hockey.”
As benign as those comments may seem, it’s pretty telling when a player of Subban’s caliber is welcomed back to the team with anything short of exultation — or at least with the perception of said exultation.
But if you go even deeper to what Gorges said, it sounds like there was certainly some issue taken with Subban from his teammates during the ongoing negotiations.
“Obviously this is an unusual circumstance for us to be in,” Gorges said, according to the Gazette. “I’ve never had to deal with a holdout situation, a guy coming in late, so we’ll take it in stride.”
That term — holdout — isn’t exactly a fair one to use when describing Subban’s situation. The 23-year-old didn’t hold out. He was a restricted free agent, so he was not under contract with the Canadiens. You can’t hold out if you don’t have a contract, but it’s clear that Gorges didn’t see it that way.
Andrei Markov didn’t go as far as Gorges did, but he was still pretty frosty when asked about it.
“He’s not in the room yet, so let’s talk about it when he’s going to be in the room,” Markov flatly stated.
Perhaps Montreal’s quick start has something to do with those feelings. The Habs won four of their first five games before losing to Ottawa on Wednesday night.