Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has missed the past six games, and while the blueliner is back to practice, there’s still no date set for his return to action.
Subban, 26, has been on the sideline since March 12 with a neck injury, the result of a collision with teammate Alexei Emelin that saw him stretchered off during the late stages of the Canadiens’ 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
“I’ve always been taught not to stay down on the ice, to get up after something happens,” Subban said Wednesday, via Sportsnet. “And in that situation, when you start feeling weird feelings in your hands and stuff like that, it’s a little scary.”
Subban was able to move his arms and legs while he was stretchered off and spent the evening in a Montreal hospital, but thankfully his injury was ruled a non-serious neck injury. He has been back in practice for the past two days but no return date has been set. Subban said he still can’t move his neck all the way and added there’s “no chance” he could effectively suit up right now.
“I gotta follow what the doctors say,” he said, via Sportsnet. “Right now we’re just taking it day by day, just trying to get my timing back with the team. But I’ve still got some symptoms from the injury and from them — they don’t want me back in unless I’m 100 per cent.”
That Subban came on the road trip to Detroit, a one-game trip before the Canadiens return home for contests against the Rangers and Red Wings, likely means he’s close to returning. That could mean he comes back against New York on Saturday, or possibly get back into the lineup next Tuesday against Detroit.
The Canadiens were already struggling without Subban in the lineup, but his absence has been apparent. Over six games, Montreal has gone 2-4-0 and the Canadiens have been outscored 22-10 over that span. With Subban out, Emelin and Andrei Markov have been trotted out as Montreal’s top pairing.
“It’s tough for me to watch sometimes,” Subban said, via Sportsnet. “When we were winning it’s easy for me to watch, when things aren’t going as well it’s tougher for me to watch.”
Before he went down, Subban was playing more than 26 minutes per game and he was only four games removed from logging 31 minutes in a shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Subban had a slow start, too, but was on pace to have the best offensive season of his career before he went down with injury.