One day after Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said his intention is to sign restricted free-agent defenseman P.K. Subban in time for the start of training camp, the player told reporters in Toronto on Tuesday that he has the exact same intention.
Subban was one of approximately 25 NHL players skating in Toronto on Tuesday, and he told reporters afterward he remains focused on getting a deal done with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2007 NHL Draft.
"I've made it pretty clear that I want to play there, and play there for a long time," Subban said in a partial transcript of the media scrum published by the National Post. "My interest is nowhere else but in Montreal. They know that. It's never, ever changed. It's never been a question. If anybody says anything different, they don't know what they're talking about."
Subban is one of several high-profile restricted free agents that remain unsigned while the hockey world awaits the ratification of a tentative deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a list that includes Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, Dmitri Kulikov of the Florida Panthers and Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers.
Bergevin was tight-lipped Monday about what kind of contract he was hoping to get Subban to agree to, saying only that he wants him signed "as soon as possible."
However, he did admit he did have a plan when it comes to Subban and he intends to stick to it.
"We have a structure for the team that I established when I arrived and that doesn't change," Bergevin said. "My intention is to sign him before camp. That's all I can tell you right now."
Subban reaffirmed his prior stance that he would not attend training camp without a new contract, saying no player would agree to something like that. But he expects the Canadiens to make the next move in a negotiation that spanned most of the summer prior to the start of the NHL lockout.
"We had a long summer to try and get things done. It didn't happen," Subban said. "So as far as I'm concerned, it's out of my control. I can't offer myself a contract. So at this point now, I'm just waiting and making sure that I'm keeping myself in shape so that once I get to training camp, I'm ready to go."