2011 NHL Playoffs: P.K. Subban Setting The Bar For All NHL Rookies

April 17th, 2011 No Comments

When Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban arrived on the scene in the in the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Playoffs his presence was instantly felt.

Immediately there was an aura surrounding P.K. that few NHL players, never mind a rookie posses.

Blessed with great hockey instincts, Subban brings a number of other attributes to the rink on a nightly basis. The most important attribute P.K. brings is confidence, which, judging by his play thus far, has served him very well.

P.K. took a lot of criticism from the media and opposing players for his loud (sometimes brash) comments on the ice. While those days do not seem to be completely behind the soon to be 22-year old, it appears as if he has learned a measure of respect for his peers and the ability to turn his back when challenged by his opponent.

In listening to Subban’s post game comments last night I was impressed that he said all the right things.

Simply put, Subban’s comments were world class, hardly the thing you’d expect from a guy that has had so many veteran foes enraged with him over the course of his career.

When asked about the mood of the group Subban responded by saying “it’s not over, we’ve got more hockey left to play.”

It’s not really what P.K. said here, rather what he didn’t say that makes his comments so impressive. Subban could have fallen into the trap of boasting about taking two games at the Boston garden, all but icing the series for the Canadiens. Fact is Subban took the high road, and that my friend shows a lot of maturity.

When asked about being a target and the one-on-one battles he and Bruins forward Milan Lucic had been involved in during Saturday nights game, again, Subban responded with confidence and class saying: “He’s (Lucic) a world class player; I’m just trying to do my job.”

Just trying to do your job? Is this the same guy that had Philadelphia Flyers forward Mike Richards chomping at the bit over whether or not Subban was being disrespectful to veteran players? Is the same guy that was benched by his coach early in the season for being a little too overzealous?

While I was one of the fans out there that appreciated what Subban was doing, his latest actions serve notice that perhaps young Subban has matured over the course of the season.

Not afraid to address his own shortcomings (if there have been any for P.K. during the series with the Bruins), when asked if he felt he was doing his job to perfection Subban once again said all the right things responding: “nope, I still got room for improvement, I took a stupid penalty today, so I gotta stay out of the box and not cost my team.”

Clearly, this is a player that has bought into his coaches plan 150 percent. Gone is the controversial Subban, gone is the irresponsible kid that, six months ago, may very well have been spewing out stupid comments both on and off the ice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Subban is still getting under the collar of a few Bruins players, but he is doing it in the right way, making his point and quickly excusing himself from the situation.

Through two playoff games against the Bruins Subban leads the Canadiens in shifts per game with 33 and ice time, averaging 27:06 per match. He is an “even” player, has only two penalty minutes to his name and, by all accounts, looks to have emerged as a budding super star in this league.

Yes, young rookies and sophomores take notice; P.K. Subban is setting the bar for professionalism and performance in these playoffs…who would have thunk it?

Until next time,

Peace!

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