NASHVILLE â€” P.K. Subban is dealing with something he's never had before but is seeing daily improvement with the upper-body injury that has kept the Norris Trophy winner out of the Predators' lineup since Dec. 15.
"It's difficult, but at the same token I'm optimistic," Subban said Tuesday . "I've been pretty lucky my whole career to play in pretty much all the games and just so happens that this is just the way it went for me this time. So I got to be a pro about it and just come in the rink every day and get better just like I have been working with the trainers and it's been going good."
The former Norris Trophy winner met with reporters Tuesday morning, two days after the Predators placed the defenceman on injured reserve with what they said was an upper-body injury. The Predators plan to re-evaluate Subban in two to three weeks.
Subban, 27, said he tried to play through the injury for about five games before the decision was made to keep him off the ice. Subban, who has played at least 68 games in five of his previous six NHL seasons, missed seven games before the Predators placed him on injured reserve Sunday . The Predators are 3-2-2 without the blueliner.
This injury is keeping him out of Tuesday night's game against the team that traded him to Nashville. Subban said he's relying on his new Predators teammates to beat Montreal and Shea Weber, the All-Star defenceman the Canadiens picked up in the teams' blockbuster trade in June.
"I hope I can play in the game in Montreal, and there's no question I'll be there for sure," Subban said.
The league announced later Tuesday that Subban was voted by fans as captain of the Central Division for the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 in Los Angeles.
Subban leads Nashville defencemen with seven goals this season. His average ice time of 25:03 per game ranks second on the team, behind only fellow defenceman Roman Josi.
Nashville ranked 11th in the Western Conference going into Tuesday's games and fifth in the Central Division with 38 points.
Subban said he's obviously frustrated at missing this game with so many friends and family travelling to Nashville to watch him play against his old team.
"Obviously, it's frustrating," Subban said. "A lot of people I'm sure looked forward to this game. It's a big game for both teams. Both teams are playing well right now."
Weber, who played his 800th career NHL game Saturday, will play his first-ever road game in Nashville on Tuesday. He leads the Canadiens in ice time per game at 26:02, and his eight power-play goals lead all NHL defencemen. Weber said he went to dinner with some former teammates Monday night, but he wouldn't even guess at how he might react playing in his former home.
"I've never done it before so we'll see," Weber said.
Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press