There may never be a clearcut, simple answer as to why the Canadiens felt it best to trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in a blockbuster deal that brought Shea Weber to Montreal, but Subban said he doesn’t believe that it had anything to do with his off-ice relationships.
In the second part of a revealing two-part interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, Subban was asked about his relationships with players in the Canadiens dressing room. There was a perception, Engels told Subban, that at times he didn’t get along with teammates in Montreal. There had been late-season reports of possible tension between Subban and Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty.
“I’d have to disagree with that,” Subban told Engels. “With the guys that I’m with every day — that I travel with, that I play with — we’re all different. But at the end of the day, I’d like to hope these guys respect me. I respect them, and that’s really what it’s been built on.”
Subban said that he doesn’t believe it had anything to do with his personality, either. When asked about his energetic ways, Subban told Engels that the way he acts in the dressing room is a part of getting himself prepared for action and “making P.K. Subban the best hockey player he can be,” because that was the best way he could help the Canadiens win games.
“At the end of the day,” Subban told Engels. “I’ve always been team first.”
It’s not as if the Canadiens’ return for Subban — a defensive stalwart and three-time Norris Trophy finalist in Weber — is atrocious, but Subban was one of the most beloved players in organization, so it’s no wonder questions persist about why the trade was made. There will continue to be questions surrounding the deal well into the season, too, not least of all because of comments made by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin regarding the deal.
“I like football…But I’m not an expert and I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes,” Bergevin told NHL.com’s Dave Stubbs. “If they trade a player on a team I like, there must be a reason why they did it and I don’t know the reason why.”
But Subban wouldn’t say he has any regrets about the way things went in Montreal. He told Engels that he wishes he could have brought the Canadiens and the city another Stanley Cup to add to the storied history of the franchise, but added all of his memories of being a Canadien are good.
“I’m leaving the Montreal Canadiens happy about playing there for six seasons, playing for Geoff Molson, playing for the organization, playing with all my teammates. It’s all good memories playing there,” Subban told Engels. “I can’t comment on coaching decisions or management decisions. That’s not on me. Whatever things are said about me, I can’t comment about those, either, because I’m not saying them. I just focus on what I can control, and while I was here, that was how I played.”
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