By Dhiren Mahiban
With the New Jersey Devils on the outside looking in when the NHL restarted in August, P.K. Subban has had plenty of time to dabble in his interests outside of hockey, get his body right and reflect on the state of the world in 2020.
The 31-year-old spent much of the break in Los Angeles trying to make the best of the situation working out under the tutelage of trainers Gunnar Peterson and Clance Laylor. Subban even received pointers from retired WWE star turned actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
“It was just kind of a workout where we could work on some of the things and for me, it was just a volume day, I just went in and did lots of volume with him,” Subban said. “He was pretty impressed with how much weight I could do, so I was pretty excited about that. But as you can see, he is very much bigger than me.”
Prior to the global pandemic, part of Subban’s off-season plans were to wed fiancee Lindsey Vonn; however, COVID-19 put the couple’s plans on the back burner.
“No one could’ve predicted what is happening now, so it’s fine,” said Subban of the scuppered July wedding plans. “At the end of day, I always believe that nothing happens before its time. There is no question we want our families to be there when we (get married) and we want to enjoy it in a comfortable format where everybody can enjoy the experience. That being said, who knows what happens? Maybe (we’ll) run down to city hall and get it done, but that hasn’t been a thought right now.”
Subban’s wedding wasn’t the only thing impacted by the pandemic. COVID-19 has caused the NHL’s salary cap to remain flat at $81.5 million. With the uncertainty of when fans will be allowed to return to NHL arenas at full capacity, the salary cap could remain stagnant for multiple seasons.
When NHL free agency opened on Oct. 9 with several players signing for less term and dollars, Subban, who has two years remaining on his deal, said it’s difficult for the players to concern themselves with the economics of the league.
“For a lot of the young players that are coming into the league, for the guys that are going to play for another 15 years, this can definitely hurt,” Subban said. “I always say this, the elite players always seem to get paid. I think that for players right now, they just have to focus on what they can control and that’s how you play. If you play well, whether you get paid this year or next year or two years from now, you’re going to get paid.”
The down time also gave the Toronto native a chance to reflect on the state of the world in 2020, on a range of topics from the coronavirus pandemic to racial injustice. Subban says it’s important to listen and educate himself on what is going on.
“We just have to make sure that we’re all living on this planet together,” he said. “We’re all living in Canada and the United States together. We have to get along and make each other feel comfortable. Getting up every day, being a good citizen, and being able to walk in your own skin, I think that is very important.
“But that is a collective initiative. It is not just down to one group of people, one race, one background or one religion. We need everybody to get on board and be involved and play a role in that.”