Pride, confidence, extraordinary talent. These are signature traits of a superstar performer. They are characteristics found readily available in most any given talent of Olympic proportions but defined best perhaps by a young man that has only just now added “Olympic athlete” to his resume in Pernell Karl Subban.
It is now officially undeniable on a worldwide level at all of the highest levels of competition in the game of hockey that the man in question is without question an elite player. What sets him apart, however, was the amount of controversy surrounding his name heading into the announcement of Team Canada’s squad selection just as much as his unique set of abilities and the corresponding upsides showcased on the ice.
“If you thought that there was an uproar over the Olympic omissions of Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle from Team USA, it would have looked like a garden party compared to if P.K. Subban was left off of Team Canada.” – Bob McKenzie, TSN.
Truer words had not been spoken heading into the Olympic announcement. Pro-Subban supporters across the nation were ready and waiting with their fingers on their proverbial triggers to sound off and fire shots until kingdom come had the reigning Norris Trophy winner not been selected to represent them and their country. The most polarizing name, figure and presence in the National Hockey League today will get his opportunity on an international stage to showcase his talents and perhaps adjust the views and attitudes of his naysayer critics. Observers tend to simply reject what they don’t understand and considering that never once in the illustrious history of the N.H.L. has there been a player quite like P.K. Subban.
There have been offensive contributers of a similar level, there have been defensively responsible players of the same caliber and there have been physical presences capable of laying down as much bodily punishment as he has in a relatively young career. There has not, however, been a player from anywhere in Canada nor anywhere around the planet that has brought all of these factors to the table in such a dynamic package with a delivery completely his own. This is his opportunity now to show the world, live from Sochi, why he has done something that so many in recent years have struggled to do in placing his name amongst team legends in Montreal including but not limited to: Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard and Chris Chelios. P.K.’s accomplishments and first few years in Montreal have been the best preparation available for an instance such as this: all eyes watching, back to the wall and the pressure at a maximum.
P.K. likely won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary for his game and how he plays it. Why change what’s been so successful to this point? He knows what he’s being placed on the team for and there is no reason to believe that he would not deliver accordingly. There will be no difference in the way that he will electrify the international crowd just as he does Le Centre Bell but the opportunities he will have to do so may, in fact, be amplified by the fact that he will be playing a larger and ergo more open ice surface than the N.H.L. utilizes or its players are accustomed to. Wise choice by Steve Yzerman and company to select at least one player that will know exactly what to do with it and need not to make any adjustments. If P.K. can skate circles and effectively dance around the opposition on the ice often seen at home, it is nothing short of mind blowing to think of what he could do with the additional room that will be provided to him come February.
For some, this whole ordeal is an unusual but welcome experience; for P.K., in these terms, this is just another day at the office and he knows no different.
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