BROSSARD, Quebec -- P.K. Subban cleared a big hurdle by signing a two-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, but he still has some work ahead of him before his two-week absence from the team can be completely erased from memory.
Teammates have been bombarded with questions about Subban ever since the season began -- actually, pretty much since he arrived in Montreal -- and most were relieved Tuesday morning that they wouldn't need to talk about the talented defenseman's contract status any longer.
"It's good that it's over and done with and it's settled," said Josh Gorges, Subban's defense partner last season and a likely candidate to be paired with him again this season. "We don't have to have these talks in the morning, what if this, what if that. It's over and we can focus on playing hockey."
The Canadiens have been playing pretty good hockey in Subban's absence, with a 3-1-0 record fueled by some of the stingiest defense in the League. The Canadiens enter Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS) tied for second in the NHL with 1.75 goals-allowed per game and sixth with 27.5 shots-allowed per game, so Subban's absence hasn't been particularly felt in that area.
Another department where Subban's influence often is felt is on the power play, but the Canadiens have excelled in that area as well, sitting seventh in the NHL with a 27.3-percent success rate.
Because of that success, Subban will need to try and make an effort not to rock the boat too much when he joins his teammates Wednesday in Ottawa for their morning skate prior to facing the Senators.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday he hadn't spoken to Subban, and that he won't until they meet in person in Ottawa on Wednesday. And the one thing Therrien said he will stress to his young defenseman above everything else is the team concept he has tried to instill since training camp began.