A Personal Stalemate

Sometimes the bleu, blanc et rouge runs far too deep in my veins. People say that as a reporter, you can’t put how you feel as a fan into your work. In fact, as a reporter you’re not even supposed to have a desired root of interest in a team, let alone show it in an article. It becomes specifically hard in situations like the one we have today with PK Subban. I’m going to do my best here to stay civil, but there will be no promises. We all share a passion when it comes to hockey that some people just quite don’t understand.

 Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Let’s discuss what we have at hand now: The PK Subban ongoing contract negotiations. As I see it, it’s become completely and utterly personal. It’s now at a point of no return for both PK and the Montreal Canadiens management team. As soon as they stepped into the arbitration room just before 9am this morning, it was decided that this was going to be a full out battle, a war some would even say. When a player reaches the point of arbitration, it is never is a good thing. A lot of people are having a difficult time understanding the arbitration process, but it’s very clear that once the two sides enter a room together, they not only cut up the play of the player, but also use his flaws against him. The bottom line, it’s just really not good business by Marc to let it get to this point. You have a cornerstone defenseman, one of the best defenseman in the entire National Hockey League, and one that actually thrives in the spotlight and won’t run from the media. You’d think that would be a general managers dream in a market like Montreal, yet the sense you get from all this is that a player with a personality like PK’s isn’t something Bergevin really welcomes in Montreal. What am I basing this off of? Well for one, PK hasn’t signed a long term contract yet and his play has been nothing short of spectacular since he signed his bridge contract. With that bridge contract, Bergevin essentially asked PK to prove himself. And what did he do? He won a Norris trophy and led his team in playoff scoring . What else does PK have to prove to show his worth to Bergevin? If he hasn’t warranted an 8 year deal, than how was it so easy for Brooks Orpik to walk out of free agency making ridiculous amounts of cash? Yes, I understand he was an Unrestricted Free Agent and that raises his value, but in order for PK to sign a long term contract, the Habs have to buy UFA years.

The curious case of PK Subban, should really be changed to the curious doubts of Marc Bergevin and why they’re still there with his star defenseman. One of the most ironic parts of these negotiations is that one of the arguments the Habs likely made against PK was that he doesn’t kill penalties or play the toughest minutes. These directly have nothing to do with PK and all to do with Therrien’s stupidities and player usage. Look at Subban’s effectiveness in the postseason and try to convince me that he is not one of the biggest game changing players in the entire NHL. Subban finished the year 5th in scoring for defenseman with 53 points. He also averaged 24:36 per game and can play an elite game at both ends of the ice in any situation. So the question that’s still being asked, why is PK so scrutinized? This is a really hard question to answer as there really isn’t much of an explanation for it unless you begin to nitpick at things, which Bergevin clearly was doing this morning.

Marc Bergevin, and a lot of other General Managers value the character of a player so strongly that they will even go as far as signing a player for just that, their character. When I think about character, the first things that come to mind are loyalty and a will to do whatever it will take to win. This is where I’m completely lost. If Bergevin values character to such a high degree, why is he being the complete opposite of loyal to PK? There are so many unanswered questions that we have yet to, and may never even find out about this ongoing saga.

It seems as though talks have completely broken off, although Meehan and the Subban camp still have just under 48 hours to continue negotiations with Marc Bergevin and Co. If Subban signs the arbitration award and plays out next season, Montreal will be able to sign him to a new deal after January 1st, 2015, but what’s to say his desire to play in Montreal is still there anymore? As PK left the hearing, he was quoted saying “I will move on and get ready for the season” In reference to the hearing. When Subban left the hearing, he looked completely stunned like he had just received a dangerous hit from behind. Subban is known for his personality and outgoing presence, and today, it was like somebody turned off all of his emotion, which is completely understandable might I add. If someone were to start a timer and tear into my flaws, I don’t think that I would be the happiest camper when I left the hearing either. It’s a very frustrating process, and one that a lot of people can agree was completely avoidable.

When you find a player of Subban’s calibre, you don’t question him or risk losing him to free agency, you lock him up and build your franchise around him.  Look at what Chicago just did with Kane and Toews. They run as close to a model franchise as you can have in today’s NHL. Might I add it’s also where Bergevin came from before he was hired by the Canadiens.

For those fans that think trading Subban was ever a good idea, just remember that the Habs can never win a Subban trade. For one, they would be trading the best player in the deal, and secondly, everyone would be aware he was being traded and that would cause a massive hit to his real value.

Unfortunately for Habs fans, the doubt is now there and leaves questions. What does Bergevin see that we don’t and why does Pernell Karl Subban still remain unsigned?

Your move Bergevin.

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