If Montreal Canadiens rookie defenceman P.K. Subban needs a reminder about the benefits of patience in his development, he needs to look no further than one of his best friends on the team in goaltender Carey Price.
While head coach Jacques Martin has yet to tip his hand on Tuesday's lineup, it appears as though Subban will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game when the Canadiens host their Northeast division rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Martin believes that his rookie blueliner can learn from Price's experience last season in the playoffs where he took a back seat to Jaroslav Halak's hot glove.
"I think that when you look at last year between Price and Halak, I think that there was a lot of maturity, a lot of growing and a lot of understanding," Martin told reporters on Monday. "I think those situations are healthy situations and people have to earn their ice time."
Price responded how Martin hoped he would and has returned to form this season where he is among the league leaders in wins, goals against average, shutouts and save percentage. Subban says he understands his coach's decision and has no argument with his thought process.
"If he wants me to watch from the press box, that's what I'm going to have to do," said Subban. "He's a guy that's been around for a long time, he's a guy that's been successful in the National Hockey League and is well respected. I'm not going to dissect or analyze what he's telling me to do; I'm just going to follow instructions."
While it is undoubtedly tough for the 21-year old to watch rather than participate, the silver lining is the fact that the team on the ice has been doing very well in his absence, posting two straight wins. Subban's replacement, Swiss-born defender Yannick Weber has earned praise from his coach, however Martin stressed that Subban still had a role with the team.
"What's important is that we have competition," said Martin. "We're looking at our defence. I've liked the last two games and I think that Yannick Webber has performed well. We have confidence in PK Subban as well."
The Canadiens' veterans have been impressed with Subban's attitude so far and quashed any notion that his overflowing self-confidence has caused any disturbances within the squad.
"He's a good kid and he gets along with everybody on the team," said fellow defenceman Josh Gorges. "His enthusiasm about coming to the rink and playing is fun. Guys will jab at him, but that's just friendly and for fun. There's definitely nothing wrong with the way that he acts in the room."
To his credit, Subban has not sulked through his demotion and vows to continue to work hard and regain his spot in the lineup.
"At the start of the season my job was to get better everyday and improve as a player. That's still my mentality, that's still my focus and it has to be moving forward."