An Open Letter to P.K. Subban: You Deserve Better

P.K. Subban Photo: Yahoo

P.K. Subban
Photo: Yahoo

Dear Pernell Karl Subban,

I do not know how you do it.

I do not know how you manage to maintain your composure through the amount of criticism you face. I do not know how you look adversity in the eye and overcome it, time after time. I do not know how you continue to motivate yourself when every action this organization has taken would only demotivate a player of your caliber.

It has been an absolute privilege to watch you play for this team.

You define what it means to be a superstar in the NHL. Your explosive speed through the neutral zone and incredible stickhandling abilities are truly one-of-a-kind. Your vision and knack for reading the play never goes unnoticed. Not to mention that rocket of a slapshot that has goaltenders in fear every time Subban steps on the ice during a Montreal power play.

I went to your first game in Philadelphia and from your very first shift, I said to myself: “This kid is going to be something special.”

You have not disappointed.

Winning the Norris Trophy last season was just the icing on top of a cake full of achievements. And I know there are many more to come. Heck, you have not even hit your prime yet.

What worries me, P.K., is Montreal fans are going to watch an exceptionally gifted young man waste away his talent; a player with so much potential, only to have it ruined by an incompetent coaching staff and poor management.

Have you seen the movie 42? Remember the scene when Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, says, “Jackie, you go out there and put the fear of god into those pitchers. Steal as many bases as you can. Sure you’ll get caught plenty. But Ty Cobb got caught plenty, too.” From that point onward, Jackie’s confidence grew and grew and grew. He knew he had support to play the game the way he needed to play it. He knew he was home.

Jackie Robinson Photo: Huffington Post

Jackie Robinson
Photo: Huffington Post

If Michel Therrien were managing Jackie Robinson back in 1947, I think we’d be asking, Jackie who? P.K., I don’t want this to be your legacy.

Despite being one of the most scrutinized players in the league, you have risen to every occasion and proven the doubters wrong. Yet, when you needed backing, when you needed the confidence from your coaching staff, no one was there to support you.

Therrien has not been your advocate and likely never intended to be. From the moment he began his second tenure as head coach of the Canadiens, he made it clear he was going to crucify you for every mistake you made. Since then, he has looked for every excuse to bench you. When you needed his confidence to play your style of game, you did not receive it. When you needed his support for the Olympics, he was not there to vouch for you.

After you won the Norris, some may have expected Montreal to wake up and smell the coffee regarding one P.K. Subban. Well, that has not been the case.

Like Therrien, Marc Bergevin has not exactly been in your corner either. No one needs to be reminded of what went down during your first negotiation with GM Bergevin. You were worth much more than $2.875M per year. Yet, you settled for that because you loved playing in Montreal. And once again, you proved your skeptics wrong, notching 38 points in 42 games en route to a career-best season.

However, the Canadiens have not jumped into contract negotiations with both feet. Bergevin maintains you remain one of his top priorities to sign by the end of the season. Well, if that is the case, why have you not been signed by now? Was winning the Norris Trophy not enough?

Of course, these things take time to iron out, especially long-term deals. But, if Bergevin was really committed to you playing for this organization, he would have sat down with you and Don Meehan and hammered out a deal in the offseason. If anything, to show you the respect you deserve.

Evidently, that did not happen. And here we are, two months away from the end of the season, and Montreal’s star defenseman is still without a contract.

You just do not treat your stars like that.

Your next signing will be a defining moment in your career, perhaps even in your life.

As a Habs fan, I would love for you to stay in Montreal. You bring a skill set and energy to this team they have not had since the glory days; the type of player that wins Stanley Cups.

But enough is enough.

I am a hockey fan first. And the hockey fan inside me says it would be a travesty to see a player with so much potential, charisma and passion for the game go through his prime years with an organization that will only hold him back.

This team is sucking the life out of you, P.K. That happy-go-lucky personality of yours is disappearing, with every passing media scrum, every knee-jerk benching. You may not see it, but I see it.

I do not want this organization to continue ruining young, talented players. I do not want them to ruin P.K. Subban.

You deserve better.

By Ryan Skilton, former AATH writer

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4 Responses to An Open Letter to P.K. Subban: You Deserve Better

  1. I agree. He deserves better.

    Cheryl Traub March 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm Reply
  2. Even though P.K is an amazing player who bring so much energy and excitement to the game, the habs cannot let go of him just because they don’t want to waste his talent or ruin his career. I agree, what they are doing to him is completely terrible. However, they should fix that rather than throwing him away. They just need to realize what their doing is wrong and whats at stake. Then, they can fix it and hopefully the habs can win the stanley cup!

    Also, whoever wrote this letter completely forgot the fact that P.K, the best defence man in the league only played one game in the Sochi 2014 men hockey olympics. He deserved to play every single game. Facts are facts. P.K has better stats then the other d men on team Canada. Also, HE WAS THE NORRIS!!! As said, I guess that isn’t enough and he will have to do more but honestly, poor guy!

    If P.K was reading this, I just wanna wish you the best of luck and I’m behind you 100%.

    Brandon March 3, 2014 at 9:40 am Reply
  3. The consensus of most experts is that Subban is still on a learning curve. You want to blame Therrien for his handling of Subban, but Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Claude Julien, Steve Yzerman, and about 10 other very experienced hockey minds had him sit in Sochi. That is not a coincidence.

    As for your Jackie Robinson reference, no educated and thoughtful person would take that seriously. Good thing you are writing on this obscure site.

    Chet Pomeroy March 7, 2014 at 11:03 pm Reply
    • Subban is a franchise d-man already at his age. The fact that Therrien plays Murray the minutes he does while sitting Subban doesn’t make any sense. Theres enough advanced stats out there that can you hit the face repeatedly for a week that would prove to anyone that Subban is capable defensively to handle penalty kill minutes. The fact is in Sochi, they had 3 pairs that they didn’t want to break up and felt more comfortable putting Hamhuis in because he is predictable. Subban takes risks because he has the ability to make something positive out of them.

      If you can’t understand the fact that he used the Jackie Robinson quote to indicate that coaches can have a part in making or breaking a player, i don’t even know. he’s not comparing the two individuals at all. its actually hilarious that someone can’t make the connection as to why he used the quote.

      Michael Gomez March 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm Reply

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