Subban And Karlsson

Some of my buddies I was with in Ottawa this weekend said that when comparing PK Subban and Erik Karlsson, it’s ridiculous to even talk about. It’s a no-brainer. Karlsson is way better.

Do you feel that?

These are two different defensemen. Karlsson methodically takes control, makes the plays, and is always dangerous. When he came back from his injury last year, he wasn’t overly impressive, but before that he was a major force on all parts of the ice, especially in enemy zone, and he gets back smartly the way Bobby Orr used to.

P.K. is a whirling dervish and dangerous in his own right. Full steam ahead, flamboyantly possessed, with the enthusiasm of a kid playing on the pond. He skates like the wind, has the big shot, and plays like he’s about to physically explode. He rushes and gets back quickly too, but he seems to end up on the ice more, makes more mistakes, and isn’t the cool cucumber Karlsson is.

Is it better to have a special player like Karlsson – smart, in control, often dangerous, and a guy who seems to do everything well? Or like P.K., who raises fans out of their seats with his dynamic rushes and bone crunching open-ice bodychecks, who’s the big man on the power play, the one who on most nights creates a buzz in the rink like no other player?

One of my friends complained about P.K.’s habit of submarining people. And my brother also said recently that what he didn’t like about Subban was his turtling and lack of enthusiasm when it came time to drop the gloves.

Are these valid points?

What if P.K. corrects a few things here and there and becomes even more dynamic? What if he wins the Norris again? What would my friends say?

My wish is this. Along with being such a media darling and doing a great job on sports panels, I wish P.K. would take boxing lessons and show the hockey world he’s added fighting finesse to his arsenal. Maybe George Chuvalo can put him in touch with someone.

I don’t know what Karlsson can do in the fisticuffs department. Can he scrap?

I’m anxious to see how both young stars develop. C’mon P.K., I gotta deal with these Sens fans. Help me out here.

Tale of the Tape


24 years old. 6′ 206 lbs, has played 3 full seasons, 202 games, with 32 goals, 82 assists, 302 PIM.


23 years old. 6′, 175 lbs, 3-plus seasons, 233 games, with 43 goals, 120 assists, 124 PIM.



11 thoughts on “Subban And Karlsson”

  1. They’re different kinds of defensemen. I don’t think that you could go wrong with either one of them.

  2. Ian, I think PK will never get the proper respect from non-Habs fans until he clams down the extra curricular activities on the ice. People seem to either like him or hate him and I’d like to see more people respect his talent.

  3. Subban has two big advantages over Karlsson. He’s a Canadien and he’s a Canadian. I’m betting Subban wins the Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold before Karlsson.

  4. Maybe, Dennis. However, PK is the kind of player who people love when he’s on their team and despise when he’s on an opponent. By way of another example, see Brad Marchand.

  5. At 175 lbs Karlsson has no physical aspect to his game and is hard pressed to win one on one battles. He compensates for this by being extremely good with the puck. Gretzky was the same way. Who is Karlsson’s partner, a big bruiser who does the board work much like Emelin does for Markov? I think the secret is to key on Karlsson and hit him as often as possible and you’ll take him out of the game. PK, the hulk, Subban seems to relish the physical side of the game. If there was one thing about Subban’s game that really needs to improve it would be his fighting skills. He is an awful fighter who tries to sucker guys a little bit with a quick punch and he also throws huge hay-makers right off the top and puts himself off balance. Maybe Prust should teach him a thing or two.

  6. It will be GOOD to see my boys in action again!!They may not be the best YET,—but,I don,t think they,re losers either. So long as they don’t try to START the rough stuff,they may surprise some team who wanna run rough-shod over them.Briere brings some drive and heart which could rub off & translate to inspiration for others to copy.No parade this year AND NO FIRST ROUND EXIT !!!!!

  7. I agree with you Peter but I can’t bring myself to say there will be no parade. I’ll just keep hoping there will be one. This year’s team should be tougher, PK should be even better, and the kids have half a season under their belt. The real question mark is Price and how he’ll play. We need him from Oct. 1 to the very last game pf the playoffs to play like a top goalie. He’s had to many stinkers in the past and that has to stop.

  8. It’s true, Ian. He’s one of those players team hate and fans and would also love to have. We’re lucky to have him, and it would be sensational if he could repeat as a Norris winner.

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