Veteran broadcaster Jim Hughson, in talking about tonight’s Montreal-Detroit game, said, “P.K. Subban could learn a lot from (Niklas) Lidstrom’s less-is-more style of play.”
Why should PK, back in the lineup after his three game “rest”, change his game and play more like Lidstrom? No offense to Lidstrom of course, who has been the league’s best overall defenceman for some time now ( six Norris trophies, ten time All-Star), but PK needs to be PK, and not anyone else.
Hughson might as well have named any defenceman in the league and said they should play like Niklas Lidstrom, and it would be a pretty easy and generic statement. And maybe he should have added that Alex Ovechkin should be reined in and play more like Sidney Crosby. Or Bob Probert should have played like Steve Yzerman.
We all know the young fellow loves to freewheel, and it should never be taken away. A defenceman who can rush like Subban is a beautiful rarity and adds a fresh and powerful dimension to the offensive attack, especially on the power play. Dig up an old Bobby Orr video and watch how a rearguard can bring the puck out of his end and into enemy territory in a poetic way. No one said Orr should play more like the more conservative Doug Harvey.
PK sat for three games for other reasons – to correct rookie mistakes, and maybe to harness some off-ice habits. But to hold him back and be a less-is-more player would be like telling Babe Ruth to bunt more.