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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Closing out the P.K. Subban Affair

Well P.K. Subban finally came back to his team with his tail somewhat between his legs. Now it's up for him to make good with his teammates and put words into action. And I think he will.

Throughout this process, there was a lot of emotion involved, some good some bad by fans and writers alike. Some were in favour of the Canadiens signing him to a longer term deal, which was reported that's what Subban wanted. He came out in the press to state he wanted his "fair value" and wasn't looking to break the bank. Using the press like that during a contract negotiation was a mistake by Subban, in my opinion.

That said from my viewpoint, making 5.75 million dollars (that's Canadian, folks) over two years sounds like breaking the bank to me. Especially for a young, talented rearguard who still has a lot to prove.

Coach Therrien spoke of being humble, having respect for the team, the fans and the opposition yesterday after Subban practiced with his teammates for the first time this season. Over the phone, Subban expressed his thanks to GM Bergevin, his father who has been a lifelong Habs fan, and even Andrei Markov. And that means no more "triple low-fives." Some liked that decision. Others felt it should've stayed in the room. Others thought Therrien was out of line. But those people are missing the point. Therrien's point is to respect the other teams and that this year, the team will celebrate wins by celebrating the fans at centre ice. Not particularly original, but the point is that it's about the team. It's about humility and maturity. It's about the logo on the jersey. Therrien even "scolded" team physician Dr. Mulder when he addressed the players in the locker room while standing on the Canadiens logo in the middle of the room, as seen on the series 24CH (more on this series in a future post). Players like that kind of thing by the way, and will only make the players that much closer to Therrien. So this year, no antics, even after a victory. Pay attention to what Subban's celebration is to his first goal scored. I'm absolutely sure it will be muted.

After the deal was made, the Canadien players were somewhat aloof, unwilling to discuss it. Markov wanted to talk about the upcoming games because that's what truly is important; Gorges wanted to talk about the team, and not one player in particular. Especially one that hasn't yet laced 'em up in game action this season. RDS reports that that will change as Subban is set to play against Buffalo in Montreal on Saturday.

I went on a blog radio show last Saturday saying that Subban should take his place on the team, take the two year "bridge deal" and earn his longer-term deal -- just like Carey Price and Max Pacioretty did. What kind of message would it have sent to the guys in the room if Bergevin signed Subban to a longer-term deal? The official reason was that the cap is going down next year and the team needs to watch the spend. But Bergevin is a former player. He know how it goes in the room.

It's about the team, not the player. If Patrick Roy or Jacques Plante can be traded; if Guy Lafleur can be pushed out -- then so can P.K. Subban. Pic: Brian Rotztein

Last weekend it was reported that Subban was returning home to talk it over with his family. And you know what needed to be discussed? It was most-likely this: you either take the two-year deal or sit out the season with the possibility of you being moved to any team around the league. That's what was at stake for Subban. And he made the right decision.

There's no winners or losers. But if you want to look at it that way, everyone won here. Bergevin signed Subban to the term he wanted; Subban gets to make millions and prove himself to his team and go for that longer-term deal for the team he rooted for as a child; and the fans get to root for their favourite rearguard. But you know I was keeping a total just for fun and the final tally was:

Bergevin 4 - Subban 2

Now I never called for trading Subban; nor did I ever state against his signing. All I want is what's best for the team. As does Bergevin. As does Therrien. As does Subban, so he says. But what I did say was that if it ultimately came to that, and Bergevin gets a deal that can better the Montreal Canadiens, then why not?

And by the way as I write this, RDS' Chantal Maccabee interviewed Subban in the warmup for the game against the Sabres and he said "help my team" twice. Now it's up to the player to turn words into action.

A few of you have asked about the "writer" who I had a bit of an encounter with in the Twitter-verse, who in my opinion was completely offside and unfortunately let his emotions get the better of him in regards to Subban. Without naming this person, for the record the "writer" does not contribute to the Montreal Gazette, newspapers or any other television affiliations. It begins with my response to the "writer's" tweet that trading P.K. Subban would be a 'disaster' for the Canadiens.

I didn't think his personal attack on me was justified. Here's the transcript. You can make your own conclusions. Please note that because it's twitter-speak, grammar and style are suited for that platform:

HabsFanLeafLand: disaster? Trading  that's a disaster. Hiring  as  GM that's a disaster. Trading good if right deal

Writer: wrong.

HabsFanLeafLandman as a GM you have to be open to every option team before player soooo wrong back, no matter the numbers

WriterTrading players for attitude lead to this team being a joke for 10 years.

HabsFanLeafLandno bad trades and bad drafting led down that road and  doesn't gel with the unit

WriterThats complete bullshit but have fun believing it.

HabsFanLeafLandnoneed for that I like  but he's not bigger than the team and doesn't merit a better 2nd contract than 

WriterExcept he does, and you're wrong. And confident in your ignorance.

HabsFanLeafLandemotion is for the ice and not contract negotiations

All I can say is, I'm glad Marc Bergevin is the Canadiens' GM.

Follow me on Twitter for more of this fun! @HabsFanLeafLand


  1. Well, at least the Habs won on Saturday night, slicing the Sabres up handily, with Subban getting a piece of the action. Thanks for the twitter transcript. Me thinks the other guy was either Subban's long lost uncle or his "secret agent"!!

  2. Camalleri stuff from last year was still in the players' consciousness. This reminds them to stay muted and that anyone is replaceable.

  3. It's all about the group. Cammy can bring his losing attitude to the Flames!