With less than 24 hours until his scheduled arbitration hearing, restricted free agent defenceman P.K. Subban isn't giving any big updates on contract talks, but maintains that the tone and open communication with the Montreal Canadiens have been good.
"In respect to this negotiation, it's been completely respectful on both sides," Subban told TSN Radio 690 on Thursday. "There's mutual respect from both sides in this. It's been great - I'm happy with the communication...both sides are working hard to get things done and when it gets done, we're looking for it to be best for the Canadiens and myself."
According to reports on Wednesday, the Canadiens submitted their arbitration brief with a salary of $5.25 million on a one-year contract, while Subban - represented by agent Don Meehan of Newport Sports - is asking for $8.5 million.
The news, coupled with reports and tweets updating Subban's actions and whereabouts over the last couple of days, have sent Canadiens fans into a frenzy. Subban said he well aware of it, even going so far as to take a famous quote from his teammate to settle things down.
"You can tell the fans to relax - I waxed my back yesterday and I don't have any hair on my back," Subban joked to TSN Radio 690. "I don't know what the craze is about, but everybody's just got to chill out. As Carey (Price) said, just chill out."
The Canadiens and Subban's camp are set to meet for their arbitration meeting on Friday morning at 9am et in Toronto. The one-year offer from both sides would still make Subban a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.
"When it comes to negotiation, I let my agent take care of that," Subban said. "Obviously, I've been adamant, and I've repeated it many times - about how I feel about the province, the team and the organization. It's all been consistent. So there's no reason for anybody to think that has changed.
"But in terms of a negotiation, this is business now. This is not just about P.K. as a hockey player. This is business between what's best for P.K. and what's best for the organization. And it's been mutual respect on both sides."
Subban, who signed a two-year deal worth an average annual value of $2.875 million contract prior to the 2012-2013 season, scored 10 goals and added 43 assists in 82 games with the Canadiens in 2013-14.
He also added five goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games and was part of the Canadian men's Olympic team that won gold in Sochi in February.
Subban was awarded the 2013 Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman after notching 11 goals and 27 assists in 42 games.
Drafted in the second round (43rd overall) in 2007, Subban has scored 42 goals and 167 assists in 284 career games.