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Who Says P.K. Subban Isn’t Dependable?

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

.. if Yzerman really is thinking of leaving Subban home, then he’s out of his ever-lovin’ mind. The thought of Subban wheeling and dealing with other players of his calibre on the big ice in Sochi is mouth-watering.

Sadly, part of the blame for the perception that Subban isn’t dependable in his own end lies with his coach. Therrien has made a couple of comments about Subban that put the “luke” in lukewarm, declining to say when asked if Subban should be on Team Canada and also refusing to call him a world-class player.

When he opts for Douglas Murray during the last minute of a one-goal game with Subban nailed to the bench, when he keeps his star off the penalty kill, when he lets 24CH tape an episode with him ripping his star, Therrien feeds the controversy — unwisely, in my view.

One fine day, Subban is going to have to decide whether to sign a long-term deal in Montreal or take a bundle of money to play elsewhere. If this keeps up, you could hardly blame him if he elects to leave a situation where he is constantly at odds with his coach for a place where his considerable gifts are appreciated.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: p.k.+subban

Comments

Red Winger's avatar

Two reasons why Subban may not work for Team Canada in Sochi:

1) he’s all over the place in his wheel-n-deal, free-wheeling game. He could be put out of position a lot in his own end on the bigger ice surface.

2) more than a few reports have said his cocky, confident ways have irked a veteran or two in Montreal’s dressing room. Do you want that potential headache in a two-week tournament, where almost- instant chemistry is key?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/04/13 at 04:40 PM ET

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Seems to me like his coach would be the person that knows the most about how dependable he is…

Posted by Stza on 11/04/13 at 04:41 PM ET

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Seems to me like his coach would be the person that knows the most about how dependable he is…

Good point.  Every coach always knows everything about his players and no coach ever makes a mistake in using his players.

Posted by Garth on 11/04/13 at 05:10 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I must be a dog, because I hear the same whistle that Jack Todd hears.

I only see two arguments against Subban being on the roster that are based on real merit.

The first one is experience level. But if that seems a pretty sketchy argument when you are going to be able to pair him with one of Keith, Seabrook, Weber, Boyle, or Bouwmeester (f you so choose, I realize you can argue that Boyle and Bouwmeester in particular don’t belong on the team). Also, he did have a hell of a WJC in Ottawa, so he’s not foreign to the concept of showing up and playing big against the best talent in the world for his given age group.

The other argument I see, which seems a bit stronger to me than the experience factor, is simply that of sample size. I guess you could argue this is just an offshoot of the argument about experience. But Canada has a dozen really good D-men to choose from that have 2x, 3x, and 4x the number of NHL games under their belt as Subban. Given that Team Canada is almost always a favorite, and has massive expectations put upon them, I can understand the management team making risk-averse decisions (even if I disagree with them). That said, betting on PK Subban and his roughly 60 - 70 games of NHL dominance, over Dan Boyle’s 800+ NHL games, Cup victory, and strong 2010 Olympic performance, would seem risky. Same goes when compared to Bouwmeester and his roughly 800 NHL games.

I guess the thing for me is, on talent, Subban is not on the bubble where those guys are at. I think it’s pretty clear that the top six in terms of talent are:
- Weber
- Doughty
- Keith
- Subban
- Pietrangelo
- Seabrook

Then you have your extras (I believe rosters are 25, so I’m guessing that will yield a typical configuration of 14 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goalies). How is PK Subban not one of the 8 guys you choose for your roster? The only guy from the camp that really jumps out at me as belonging in those 8 that I didn’t list above is Boyle, given how good he was in 2010 and you have to think that he brings that veteran presence that guys like Babcock and Hitchcock like to have on their teams. So there’s still another spot that’s wide open anyways. Subban’s talent clearly belongs with these six guys, not in the battle at the bottom where Mike Green and Kris Letang (mostly offense), Dan Hamhius and Jay Bouwmeester (reliable, but lacking the top-end talent of most of the other candidates), and Dion Phaneuf (geez, if he hasn’t made an Olympic team yet…) are battling it out.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/04/13 at 05:20 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

clear that the top six in terms of talent are:
- Weber
- Doughty
- Keith
- Subban
- Pietrangelo
- Seabrook

Subban’s shot is not that far behind Webers for power, and he is better than any of the above at walking the blue line on the power play and getting the shot off.  Whether that’s sufficient to satisfy concerns about his reliability I’m not sure.  As for cockiness?  Please.  If Canada is winning they’ll all feel that way and wont care,and if they are losing it’s not going to be because one D man is too cocky, but because they might have suspect goaltending.

Posted by MoreShoot on 11/04/13 at 05:56 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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