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P.K. Subban excited to play in Nashville

Former Canadiens defenseman says winning Stanley Cup for Predators 'what this is all about'

by Cutler Klein @CutlerKlein / Staff Writer

After taking a bow in Montreal over the past two weeks, the P.K. Subban Show finally arrived for its opening act in Nashville.

And Subban made it perfectly clear he is ready to help the Nashville Predators bring a championship to Music City.

"I'm excited about our team, I'm excited about this city, and most importantly, I'm excited about the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup," Subban said at Bridgestone Arena on Monday. "That's what this is all about. Coming here is not a popularity contest; coming here is about helping this team to win and win a championship. That's what I'm here to do and I want to do my part."

Video: P.K. Subban addresses the Nashville media

Subban said that will start with talking to coach Peter Laviolette and his staff to figure out how he's going to fit. General manager David Poile said Subban should thrive in Laviolette's up-tempo, aggressive style, but the defenseman wants to listen and learn before he starts claiming his role.

"I'm sure after my first game there's going to be some corrections," he said. "I'm sure after game 82 there's going to be some things that they want me to do differently. I always have an open-mindedness to getting better. When you have the coaching staff that I'm going to have now, I don't think you're doing yourself any help by not listening. I think I'd rather probably do more listening than talking, soak it all in, and try to use that the best way I can on the ice."

Subban was traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the Predators for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29. Subban was on vacation in Europe at the time, so it took him until Sunday to finally get to Tennessee.

Upon arriving in Nashville, Subban got a whirlwind tour of his new hometown. He sang Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" on stage at the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Broadway, interacted with some of his new fans, and met youth hockey players at the Ford Ice Center in Antioch.

Video: Subban tours Nashville and receives his Preds jersey

Having experienced Nashville as a Predators player for the first time, Subban said he thought he fit right in with the culture and attitude of what many have described as America's newest "It" city.

"Nashville is a fun city with great people and great energy," he said. "I'm a high-energy person. I just have a zest for life, I guess you could say. I wake up every morning and I just try to be a better person and better at what I do. I feel like Nashville is a city filled with people like that. Coming here, I feel right at home, I feel really comfortable."

Subban made it clear he wouldn't try to be Weber, the Predators former captain, and that Weber is probably saying the same thing in Montreal. They have been successful players for years and have their own identity and style.

Poile touted the youth of Nashville's top four defensemen: Subban (27), Roman Josi (26), Ryan Ellis (25) and Mattias Ekholm (26). As the oldest, it will be a new challenge for Subban to be the veteran instead of learning from one.

"It's definitely different, not having somebody older," Subban said. "I've always had Hal Gill or Andrei Markov or someone like that (in Montreal), but there comes a time in your career where you have to take that jump and that step.

"I don't think I'm doing it alone. I look at this team, whether it's just the back end or not, we have guys like [forward Mike Fisher] and guys that we can look to for that guidance with great forwards and defensemen."

Subban said he'll seek advice from Predators assistant and Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Housley, another defenseman who was traded in the prime of his career from his first NHL team, going from the Buffalo Sabres, where he spent eight seasons, to the Winnipeg Jets in 1990.

Subban said he doesn't want to shake things up too much but hopes to come in and help a team that was already on the rise. The Predators reached the Western Conference Second Round last season, where they lost to the San Jose Sharks in seven games. Two seasons ago, their first under Laviolette, they had 104 points.

"It always seems that Nashville has been able to produce and have great defensemen," Subban said. "I think that the way this team is going to play will help move the puck out of our zone, play solid defensively and be competitive over a long period of time. That's the goal, to be able to be successful in the playoffs. The way this team has been trending over the past few years, hopefully I can just come in and support that."

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