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Canadiens' Subban puts contract talks in past

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 8:52 PM / NHL Insider

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Canadiens' Subban puts contract talks in past
P.K. Subban has moved on from his contract negotiation with the Montreal Canadiens. He hopes everyone else will too.

P.K. Subban has moved on from his contract negotiation with the Montreal Canadiens. He hopes everyone else will too.

"At this point in time, I think everybody just needs to look at the fact that the deal's done, I'm here for a long time," Subban told the Canadiens website Tuesday. "It doesn't matter how the process happened. ... I understand that when it's me it's a little bit more magnified; that's OK."

Subban, who was speaking at coach Michel Therrien's charity golf event, said he was prepared for the criticism that came his way during the talks, but he did not expect what was directed at the other side of the table.

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"I think it was a little bit unsettling to hear some of the things that were said about management and [general manager Marc Bergevin] during the process," Subban said. "I understand, but it was still disturbing for me. ... I hope people understand that it was a very healthy process."

That process included an arbitration hearing on Aug. 1. Instead of waiting for a binding short-term decision, Subban and the Canadiens agreed to an eight-year contract reportedly worth $72 million on Aug. 2.

Bergevin spoke on the resolution for the first time Tuesday.

"If you can avoid [arbitration], you avoid it," Bergevin said. "But I think both sides did it with a lot of class. ... At the end of the day the result is there: We have P.K. here for a minimum of eight years."

Going to arbitration stoked fears that feelings would be hurt and as a result Subban would consider leaving when he reached unrestricted free agency.

"As I've always said, I'm not here to win a popularity contest," Bergevin said. "I'm here to make the Montreal Canadiens better."

Subban, as he did when the deal was struck, supported Canadiens management.

"The fans of Montreal and the community here should be very happy with Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson and how they've conducted themselves, not only with me but with players that have signed long-term deals," Subban said. "It's always first-class, they've done it the right way, and I'm just happy to be here long-term."

It gives the defenseman an extended period of time to deliver a championship to Montreal. The Canadiens reached the Eastern Conference Final last season, where they were eliminated by the New York Rangers.

"For me, my goal, like I said when I first started playing here in Montreal, and was drafted, is to win a Stanley Cup," said Subban, whose first full season was 2010-11. "That's my goal. I know that we haven't attained that yet, but it's good to know that I have at least eight years to try and make that happen."

Therrien had to watch from afar as the status of his No. 1 defenseman remained uncertain.

"I'm very happy. I called him the day after he signed his contract," Therrien said. "A coach never wants to get involved in negotiations ... but when it was done, I wanted to call him the next day and congratulate him. I was very happy for him."

The Canadiens have a vacancy at captain after forward Brian Gionta signed with the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent. Subban said Montreal has several worthy candidates.

"The cool thing about our team is that we have a lot of guys who are different leaders, who have stepped up at different points in the season and over the years," Subban said. "And that's what you need."

Subban, 25, is one of the young veterans who hold significant roles on the Canadiens. Forward Max Pacioretty, 25, is signed through 2018-19; goalie Carey Price, 26, is signed through 2017-18.

"I think we understand the magnitude of wearing the CH and playing for the Montreal Canadiens," Subban said. "But that's exciting, that's the exciting thing about playing in Montreal is, to me anyways, is being under the spotlight and excelling.

"This is a city that craves for success, craves for a championship, and that motivates you, it's just added motivation. As a player playing for the Montreal Canadiens, it's a huge honor, but as a team I think we're understanding as a young group to embrace that and use that as motivation to continue to play better and get better."

The Michel Therrien Invitational benefits the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation.

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We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff