Habs' Subban oozes personality

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and P.K. Subban skate on the ice during their team practice...

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and P.K. Subban skate on the ice during their team practice at McMahon Stadium. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

CALGARY - Montreal Canadiens rookie P.K. Subban doesn’t shy away from the spotlight.

But heading into the Heritage Classic, the flamboyant freshman isn’t looking to steal any more of it for any reason than his on-ice play.

He wasn’t wearing any fancy headgear for his first outdoor practice as an NHLer Saturday.

“I’m not gonna try a set of earmuffs because I think that’ll just draw too much attention to myself and I’ll probably be on TV for something,” Subban said. “I’ll try and blend in as much as I can.”

Blending in isn’t easy to do for such an exuberant personality.

He’s drawn criticism for his obvious confidence, and minor incidents in the Canadiens locker-room have been torqued to portray him in a poor light.

Some compare him to former Flames blue-chipper Dion Phaneuf, whose ego couldn’t be contained by his teammates in Calgary and ultimately led to his trade.

But Subban’s teammates love the 21-year-old’s enthusiasm and do what they can to keep reminding him there’s plenty to learn, even though he’s playing a much bigger role than most rookies.

“In terms of my playing time and the way I’ve been used, I haven’t been used like a first-year guy. I can’t sit here and say I’m playing rookie minutes. I’m not sure how many play 28, 29 minutes on some occasions,” Subban said, lacking no confidence.

“For me, it’s also remembering that I have to learn every day, and come to the rink continuing to learn and never get ahead of myself.”

Their attitudes may seem similar, but Subban’s personality is much more outgoing and entertaining than the scowling Phaneuf.

When former Flames winger Michael Cammalleri called Subban “Prime Time” earlier this year, he didn’t mean it negatively, the way some did when calling Phaneuf “Neon Dion.”

“I did it once and I guess his father wasn’t too happy with me. Sorry, Mr. Subban, for calling him that,” Cammalleri said. “I guess it stuck.

“P.K., he’s not outlandish in what he’s saying or anything. He’s a humble kid that way.

“I love the kid. I meant it in a way that he’s got that charisma to him — you see it in the way he plays and you see it in his personality. And he backs it up. I respect that about him.

“I think he’s a tremendous hockey player.”


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