"It's a great day to be a goaltender."
That's what Canadiens netminder Carey Price said Friday after defenceman P.K. Subban joined the team for his first full practice since agreeing to a two-year, $5.75-million contract on Monday.
Subban's return promises to make life easier for Price and backup goaltender Peter Budaj because he plays a strong game at both ends of the ice.
Coach Michel Therrien and Subban were both coy when asked whether the defenceman would play in the Super Bowl weekend matinees against Buffalo Saturday (2 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN-690 Radio) and Ottawa Sunday (2 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN-690 Radio) but all the signs were pointing to Subban being in the lineup.
Subban practised with Francis Bouillon, while Tomas Kaberle was with Yannick Weber and also filled in on a fifth forward line with Michael Blunden and surprise guest Max Pacioretty, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last Saturday.
"We'll look at things tomorrow morning and make a decision that will be right for the team," Therrien said when asked about Subban's status. "The main focus for us is to win hockey games."
Subban said he felt he was ready to play, but quickly added it was not his decision and that he would do whatever is best for the team. The 23-year-old defenceman was a polarizing figure during the prolonged contract negotiations, but said "the quicker we start playing games, the less we'll be talking about it."
Therrien said he liked Subban's conditioning, but cautioned there was a difference between being in shape and being in game shape
"I think at some point you just have to get into a game," Subban said. "At the same token, it starts in practice, you get your confidence in practice and it carries over into the game. You have to develop good practice habits."
Canadiens coy on when Subban will play
Montreal Gazette | Feb 2