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Under Pressure: P.K. Subban

Aug 24, 2014, 12:37 PM EDT

P.K. Subban has always been a lightning rod for criticism because he doesn’t just play the game, he does it with flare; Subban isn’t afraid to do a little talking on the ice adding an eccentric celebration following a goal or a win to add salt to the wound.

As childhood on-ice nemesis, and current Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri once told me, “That’s what drives people crazy: he’s a good player and he runs his mouth a little. When good players are chirping and running their mouth, it just makes the other team want to kill him that much more.

“Then next thing you know, he’s putting one in the back of your net, which makes you even more angry.”

In Montreal, it’s hard to say Subban could be under any more pressure that was until he inked his new mammoth eight-year, $72 million contract earlier this month.

“I’ll tell you something, it’s nothing I haven’t heard in my career before,” Subban joked last week of criticism heard during the arbitration process.

Subban added, that he’s used to the added attention he garners, “I understand when it’s me, it’s a little more magnified, that’s fine.”

Now everyone’s coming out of the woodwork to offer their two cents including former Hab, Alexei Kovalev, who last week paid Subban a back-handed compliment comparing Subban to Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, before adding that he didn’t understand why Subban was making so much money.

The criticism will likely follow Subban for the duration of his contract and beyond, especially if he plays more like he did in 2013-14 than he did in 2012-13 when he won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

This past season Subban had just 15 more points than he did in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but what’s more glaring is that as one of the team’s top defenseman, he carried a minus rating.

Now how could one go about adding more pressure to the 25-year-old’s shoulders? Is that even possible?

Well with the departure of captain Brian Gionta along with fellow veterans Daniel Briere and Josh Georges, the Canadiens now need to appoint a new captain.

Why not the highest paid guy on the team?

“I think the interesting thing about our team is that we have a lot of guys who are leaders, and guys that are growing into leaders,” Subban said attempting to deflect attention. “At the end of the day that’s management’s decision, they’ll make the decision as to who they feel fits the best mold as a captain.”

Playing under pressure is what Subban’s done ever since he burst on to the scene in Montreal, but it’s how he performs under that pressure going forward that Canadiens fans care about.

“I think playing in Montreal, not just me, but also my teammates, we understand the magnitude of wearing the ‘C-H ‘and playing for the Montreal Canadiens,” said Subban. “But that’s exciting, that’s the exciting thing about playing in Montreal is, to me anyway, being under the spotlight and excelling.

“This is a city that craves for success, craves for a championship and that motivates you. Its just added motivation.”

Well P.K. sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, lets hope for the sake of Habs’ fans, he can back it up on the ice.

Related: Markov represents Montreal’s other pricey extension

  1. montrealknowledge - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Say what you will about him, nobody is tougher on Purnell than the HABS fans, but let me say it is fun being able to watch him everyday. If he does not live up to it fans will be complaining, but they also were calling for Price to be traded because of a couple of bad pre season games. Now Price is the best goalie in league.

    • thesportsjudge - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      That last line though…..

    • avscup - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      Price is pretty good. The best…..not!

  2. phtjoey - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    I don’t get why Pk was chosen for the “under pressure” guy in Montreal. Nothing much has changed for PK since he signed his bridge contract 2 years ago, and he responded by winning the Norris and playing extremely well during last season’s playoffs.

    The one guy that will have to play lights out from the get go because of the on ice changes will be Price. He had the best numbers from Jan to the end of the season last year. This year he will have to be that from October to April and throughout the playoffs.

    • elrock7 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      He is under pressure simply because he is by far the highest paid D-MAN IN THE LEAGUE!

      Therrien and management are not even convinced that he can actually play DEFENCE!

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        So, will the pressure call for him to further refine his already well known acting skills?

  3. montrealknowledge - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Price is not “under pressure” because the fans are happy with Price’s game, there is still a lot of criticism of PK from fans and media. When you get a lot of money in Montreal you are expected to be fantastic right away… There is no thinking this deal will be a bargain in 3 years.. It has to be right away. Every mistake is talked about on local radio all day, written in numerous columns in the same newspaper on the same day. It is stupid here, it is the only thing “we” care about there are no sports fans in Montreal, not even hockey fans… Just Canadiens fans. Now, PK is making a lot of money, so all eyes on him is to live up to it. Winning a Norris has not even been enough!!

    • bsaures - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      I think its more the ontario media specifically groups like tsn and cbc. Don cherry is the perfect example one game subban misses a guy on a hit (it happens to every player) nothing bad happened no goal was scored yet cherry uses almost an entire coaches corner to bash him. Yet phaneuf who make bad plays like that on a nightly basis gets a pass. That same mistake would be shown 7-8 times on the following days spirt centre and they will all the sudden have the is pk a bad dman talk.

      By contrast a guy like doughty has one of the worst giveaways possible in the stanley cup final and noone says anything. A large double standard exists

      • elrock7 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        As usual Besaures, you are absolutely clueless. Why is it that PK is never on the ice in the last minute of a game that the habs are nursing a 1 goal lead?

        His own coach and teammates have minimal confidence, at best, in his defensive abilities.

      • bsaures - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        No ur just a uniformed hater who is basing an entire season off of one game. Ask bruins fans who was always on the ice late in games durnig their series it was pk.

  4. montrealknowledge - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I ain’t talking national media…local montreal media… Sports radio literally from 6 am to 9pm all HABS.

    • elrock7 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      Well it has to be all Habs, Montreal has nothing else.

  5. mnwildandcaps8 - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    This guy needs to stop because I lose it laughing every time I see succulentnipples say something about Johnny Football.

  6. 950003cups - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    He’s under ZERO PRESSURE. If he has a sub-par year, than I know 20 teams would beg for him AND his ridiculous contract in less than 1/10 of a heartbeat.

  7. clpalermo94 - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Subbans contract is steep but the guy is phenomenal and i would take him any day on my team.

  8. mvshark - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    What is amazing about Mtl fans is that they all kill Brad Marchand for doing exactly and I mean EXACTLY, what Subban does…little cheap shots and a helluva lot of talking/chirping. They all say Marchand should back up his antics and defend himself…yet Subban doesn’t have to fight in their eyes. Subban is a great offensively skilled D-man. He is a complete defensive liability. Below average and becomes worse when he takes offensive chance that backfires.

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