NASHVILLE -- For the first time in P.K. Subban's NHL career, the defenseman is at training camp with a team other than the Montreal Canadiens.
The Nashville Predators began camp Thursday with off-ice testing and meetings, and for Subban, acquired from the Canadiens on June 29 in a trade that sent defenseman and longtime captain Shea Weber to Montreal, it was a chance to get to know some of his new teammates.
"It's a different feeling because usually coming into training camp, I'm not coming in to get familiar with new guys," Subban said. "Usually they're coming up to me getting familiar with me, so it's a little different situation, but I enjoy it. Coming into a new dressing room is exciting. Meeting new players, new management, new staff, it's an exciting time."
Subban's teammates seem to have embraced him with open arms. He has been participating in informal skates with the Predators for several days, and his teammates believe his outgoing personality can thrive in a city like Nashville.
"Everyone knows he's an outgoing guy that brings passion to the game," captain Mike Fisher said. "Sometimes in the game of hockey that's a little bit laid-back, it's something new, but I think it's a good thing."
Video: P.K. Subban's commitment to the kids
Subban admitted that being traded by the only NHL team he'd ever played for was emotional, but he's looking forward to a new start.
"It's been a lot of ups and downs emotionally, for sure," Subban said. "Playing in Montreal for six years, being drafted in 2007, a lot of great moments in that organization. The positive moments outweigh the negative moments. It was a positive experience for me playing in Montreal, but now it's time to turn the page. It's a new chapter. A swap was made, and now I've got to look forward to the rest of my career here in Nashville."
Weber had been captain of the Predators since the start of the 2010-11 season, and there have been questions raised about the effect of the trade on team chemistry. Instead of discussing some of the comments made about him, Subban said he would rather let his play on the ice speak for itself.
"There's a lot, there's a lot out there," he said. "But at the end of the day, there's a lot of people who have microphones and pens and papers, and I can't challenge every person that has made an opinion on me based on 'facts.' For me, I'd rather just let my play do the talking, and I look forward to being a big part of this team moving forward. Like I said, I've always been one to let my actions do the talking for me. There's been a lot of talk this offseason. I'm just happy to get back to acting again."
Subban seems to be quickly adjusting to his life in Nashville and the impact he can have in the community. Nashville has been known for being a welcoming city, and that's something that Subban has experienced firsthand.
"It's impossible to not feel comfortable in this city," he said. "I've been here for six or seven days; it feels like I've been here for six or seven years. The people are just extremely, extremely nice. I can't wait for my family to get down here and have the same feeling that I have."
Video: Chatting with Predators general manager David Poile
Nashville has grown significantly as a hockey market since the Predators joined the NHL in 1998-99. But it has never had a player with such a high skill level combined with a high level of marketability. Subban wants to do what he can to boost interest in hockey wherever he goes.
"I think that in all aspects of the game, especially in professional sports but specifically in hockey, we want to grow the game," Subban said. "This is a game that at the end of the day, it's sports entertainment. We have to perform to keep fans in the seats, and what they pay helps put food on our tables.
"The more people that we can engage and bring into the game, the better our game is going to be, so anything from a grass roots standpoint, whether it's with the League or with Nashville, anything to help our game I'm more than happy to be involved in, and I think it's important."