Hoping For PK Hardware

 

Of course there’s not much of a silver lining found when it comes to Josh Gorges being out for the season. Not a lot of good can be said about losing this no-frills, dependable fellow whom the team goes to for the penalty-kill and getting the puck out of his end and doing all the little things without anyone noticing.

Coaches love players like Gorges.

But maybe one thing can be salvaged from this ill-timed bad luck. PK Subban has been called upon to pick up some serious slack, and there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Subban is only a few milliseconds gone from sitting in his perch in the press box, the wind knocked out of him from a Jacques Martin gut-punch, with confidence wavering, asked by the coaches to tone down his game and play more like Gorges than like himself. Stop being so fancy-free, they said. Do less and do it right.  

Be the conservative leader of the blueline. Pretend the rink is church and not Studio 54.

Subban admitted after a recent three-game benching that yes, his confidence was waning, that it felt like he was skating in sand, and he had a look on his face that spoke volumes. The thrill was gone, the game on the pond was over. Time to come in and finish the homework. Some of us, myself included, worried the heart and soul had been torn out of the young thoroughbred.

Now, with Gorges in civvies, Subban is playing serious minutes, almost twenty-six against Boston for example, and is being asked to provide yeoman’s duty, pick up the slack left by the depleted defence, and become that force we all knew he could be if his confidence was at full-tilt.

All this means one thing – with Subban in Jacques Martin’s doghouse, we had to forget about thoughts of a Calder Trophy for our young star. Forget about PK as Rookie of the Year.

But twenty-five or twenty-six minutes a game is a far cry from purgatory and the game is back on. It’s all up to the young fellow now. He’s been given a chance because of the loss of Gorges to become a young star playing a ton of minutes while driving the opposition crazy in the meantime.

We haven’t had one of these young defenseman Calder Trophy winners since Jacques Laperriere captured the prize after the 1963-64 season. And of course the Montreal Canadiens need trophy winners. It’s been decades since the big prizes were given to a Hab. Maybe best card player on road trips, but no Art Ross or Norris or Hart or Calder. No Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, or Ken Dryden.

Just a lot of guys rounding the final turn while the Kentucky Derby winner is receiving flowers and carrots.

Could we have a big one this year? As long as PK is playing, playing a lot, and not making crazy game-costing mistakes, we might. It’s not asking too much to want a big star once again on the Montreal Canadiens, is it?

16 thoughts on “Hoping For PK Hardware”

  1. Playing those kind of minutes and playing in all situations should garner him some consideration, especially if the team does well. But…he’ll have to pick up his point production because that’s the icing on the cake, the gravy on the mashed potatoes, the …well you get my drift. It’s kind of like the silliness of the Norris Trophy without the points you don’t get the silver.

  2. I think his points will go up, Dishonest John. He’s got all the tools, skating, the big shot. He just oozes point production and hopefully it’ll all come to pass.

  3. Hey Dennis, Great way to comeback from an almost certain loss to an o.t. win,impressed me once again,as for P.K getting the Calder,I dont think it will happen,unless he really steps up and puts up some points.Ken Dryden won the Calder in 72,after he picked up the Conn Smyte the spring before.

  4. Hey Derry, but now that he’s playing every night with big minutes, maybe the points will come. And I’d omitted one key word which I’ve put in now “defenceman” Calder trophy winners. I thought I had it in there in the first place and just screwed up.

  5. I think the loss of Josh Gorges is the begining of something big for PK, Dennis. He seemed to play a very controled game against the Bruins and was picking his moments wisely instead of playing to impress. It was nice to see that he was not on the ice for any of Boston’s goals.

    And it will really pay dividends if PK masters his incredible skill and uses it in an unpredictable but surgical manner. PK can and will be poised, armed and dangerous — and when the right moment arrives he’ll be like a heat-seaking missile aimed at enemy territory. KA-BOOM!

    CTV’s Arpon Basu wrote a very good piece on the trials and tribulations of PK. Here it is for those who may have missed it…

    http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110108/mtl_habshub_habit_110107/20110108/?hub=MontrealSports

  6. I think the earlier benchings were to remind PK to first play defensively sound and then make his moves at the right time like he did in last years playoffs. We don’t want him turning into a Mike Green type whose miscues we exploited often last year. Or heaven forbid a Mike Komisarek.

  7. Christopher, there’s no way he’ll ever become a Mike Komisarek. God forbid. PK’s way too good a skater and flamboyant to be a big lug like that guy. I want PK to stay on the wild side without giving up pucks. I just feel he has as a chance to become great. And as far as the Calder goes, he doesn’t need to have a lot of points to be a star, Doug Harvey wasn’t a big point-getter either. He just needs to be dominant and if he can be and become more and more dominant as he’s called upon to pick up the slack because of injuries, I think he has a decent chance of being top rookie. What do you think?

  8. Dennis, Subban is a dominant player. Just look at how much airtime Cherry, Milbury, Stock, etc. spend talking about him. Without Markov, we need him to be the guy lugging the puck (Hamrlik does it well too, but in slow motion). I agree as a defenceman he doesn’t need the points; I think it’s his ice-time and +/- that best show his contribution. However his +/- needs to be improved.

    Looking at http://www.nhl.com/ice/rookies.htm John Carlson (he was Washington’s best defenceman in last years playoffs) and Logan Couture are the ones to worry about.

  9. Thanks, Christopher. We need to see from here on in just how important PK is to the Habs in comparison to how important the other rookies are to their teams. That will tell a big story I think.

  10. Hey Dennis,

    You say that “It’s been decades since the big prizes were given to a Hab. Maybe best card player on road trips, but no Art Ross or Norris or Hart or Calder”. I think youre forgetting about a certain someone in the 2001-02 season… a certain someone that stood on his head and got the habs into the playoffs?

    As for PK, yes he has toned it down a lot which is a good thing. If you remember in the playoffs last year, we didnt see the flashy PK, we saw the strong PK who picked his spots. What i think JM is telling him to do is to not overthink or to be over-offensive. He is a defenceman, so he should learn to play defense before offense.

  11. John you’re abasolutely right and I certainly missed it. Jose Theodore and the Hart. Thanks very much for catching this and correcting me. But I’m still a fan of the more flamboyant Subban. I think he was born to wheel, not be conservative. But I guess time will tell. Thanks again.

  12. PK not being picked as a rookie for the All Star Game is not a good sign for his hopes to win the Calder. He will have to have an unbelievably good second half of the season before the league takes notice of him I’m afraid.

  13. Danno, that sucks but I’m not giving up hope that he wins rookie honours. I just think he can be dominant enough to pick things up.

  14. I’d rather see him work hard, and become a perennial Norris Trophy candidate, than see him win the Calder. Remember Sergei Samsonov won the Calder trophy too, and we’ve all witnessed first hand what type of player he became.

  15. Jesse, if he can become a perennial Norris Trophy candidate then I’m elated. I’m just saying, after the criticism and benching and complaints from other teams, I want to see him rise to the forefront.

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