On January 28th, the ridiculous contract negotiation between Marc Bergevin, Don Meehan and PK Subban finally came to an end. Finally, after months of negotiating before the lockout, and then still holding out after 4 games of the shortened 2013 season, the talented young defenceman signed a brand new contract.
After the lockout was over, thousands of people began to voice their displeasure with the heavy-scrutinized PK Subban. Fans and other players around the league were calling PK names such as cancerous, cocky, un-coachable, self-centred and greedy. People demanded he be traded for other players who did not even come close to mutual value. Even Bob McKenzie and Aaron Ward said on TSN’s “The Quiz” that they believed Subban would be traded. On January 28th though, PK would silence all of his critics, or at least some.
I was never concerned about Marc Bergevin trading PK. Not even once. Our rookie General Manager knew the value of Subban and was not about to trade a face of the franchise. The love Habs fans have for PK Subban was shining brightly during the inter-squad game; that PK was not a part of, as the Bell Centre started to chant “we want PK”. Basically, the love/hate relationship between PK and the fans is no different than the relationship Carey Price shared with the fans a few years back. During a pre-season game, Price let in 4 goals on 8 shots and was booed to no end. Since then though, Carey has made amends and is now the back bone of the franchise.
To say that there is a bit of pressure that comes with playing for Les Glorieux would be the understatement of the century. To not only survive in Montreal, but also be a star, it takes one solid, mature and special person. If a player is struggling, it does not take long for the “boo-birds” to be singing their tune inside the Bell Centre. Habs fans want and fully deserve to have a highly skilled, competitive and successful team on the ice. A blind man can tell when a player is not performing up to expectations; which are put on the player by the fans and media, just by listening to the crowd. As long as I have watched PK Subban play for the Canadiens, I have yet to hear the “boo-birds” sing to him. If anything, PK has performed under the pressure better than Atlas has performed under the pressure of holding the world.
Now on the concept of PK Subban being greedy, quickly throw that thought out of your mind and never think it again. There were notions that PK wanted a 7-year contract worth north of $7 million per season, even good sources from TSN Like Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie reported these type of figures. I am by no means calling these guys liars, they are terrific sources for rumours and insight, but I would say that they dropped the ball on this one. Sure anybody would love to accept a Scott Gomez type of contract, who wouldn’t? I’m sure PK would have liked a few more years and a bit more money on his contract, but by signing a 2-year deal worth $5.75 million, Subban showed that money and term would not keep him from signing with his favourite team ever since he was a little boy. Fact is, any other team in the NHL would have gave him way more money, but Subban made it clear since day one of negotiations, his heart is in Montreal.
Subban of course has a very outgoing and confident personality, but what team doesn’t have a guy like that? We’ve all seen the Yakupov celebration, and people can love it or hate it, fact is, the guy scored a big goal at a big time and wanted to let out his adrenaline by giving a huge celebration. So what? PK Subban had a huge “celly” when he scored the OT winner against Chicago two years ago, which clinched the Habs a spot in the post-season with days left in the season to spare. Subban’s character may rub some people the wrong way but he is a fantastic defenceman who looks best in a Habs jersey. Could you imagine playing against him? People, be happy he is a Hab and not playing for someone else. His skills and his swagger is the type every team needs to win a championship (2 World Junior gold medals).
PK is a lot more than a terrific hockey player. The picture at the top is a picture of Georges Laraque and PK with the Christian Humanitarian organization, World Vision, in their “Hockey for Haiti” mission in which they helped raise $1.3 million for the Grace Children’s Hospital which was destroyed in the January 12 earthquake in 2010.
This past summer, PK teamed up with Hyundai Hockey Helpers in their goal to raise money to provide the registration and new equipment for 1000 underprivileged kids to play hockey. You can watch PK, his brother Malcolm and father Karl Subban talking about Hyundai Hockey Helpers here.
I am dedicated Habs fan since birth, I will not stop no matter who is wearing the jersey. We all have our favourite players and also most hated players in our own minds, but at the end of the day, you find yourself cheering for the front of the jersey. As long as us fans can cheer for the Habs through good times and bad, it will not matter who is wearing the CH; although I prefer number 76 to be in the bleu, blanc et rouge.