Predators GM David Poile optimistic P.K. Subban returns soon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A day after placing defenseman P.K. Subban on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is hopeful the former Norris Trophy winner's stay on IR is brief.

''I think his timeframe is going to be a good one,'' Poile said Monday. ''I've got my fingers crossed on that.''

Subban has not played in a game since Dec. 15 and has missed Nashville's last seven contests due to the injury. When placing the blueliner on injured reserve Sunday, the team said Subban will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks. The Predators are 3-2-2 in his absence.

Poile met with reporters Monday after a public practice to discuss the injury and the uncertainty about when the Predators can expect Subban back in the lineup.

''When you do that, just like when we said it is day-to-day, it is just a little bit of a guesstimate in terms of where he is at,'' Poile said. ''We thought that he would be back sooner, but sometimes this is what happens with injuries.''

Poile noted that Subban has been working out every day and has skated some. Subban is scheduled to talk with reporters Tuesday morning.

Subban leads all Nashville defensemen with seven goals this season. His average ice time of 25:03 per game ranks second on the team, behind only fellow defenseman Roman Josi.

''Whenever you miss a player of his abilities, it takes away from your lineup and everybody's very curious as to what's going on,'' Poile said.

Entering Monday's action, the Predators are fifth in the Central Division and 10th in the Western Conference.

Poile has been active in the trade market in recent years. Asked if Subban's progress might prompt the general manager to acquire a defenseman, Poile said he is expecting Subban back in the next couple weeks.

''Hopefully if I get that date wrong, if it's off, he's still coming back,'' Poile said. ''It's not like he's not coming back.''

Asked if the Predators had ruled out the possibility of surgery, a team spokesman stepped in and said, ''We're not talking any more about that.''

The Predators host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. The Canadiens sent Subban to Nashville in a blockbuster June 29 deal that sent then Predator captain Shea Weber to Montreal.

Weber, who played his 800th career NHL game Saturday, will play his first-ever road game in Nashville Tuesday. He leads the Canadiens in ice time per game at 26:02, and his eight power-play goals lead all NHL defensemen.

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