In praise (sort of)of P.K., and why the Habs seem to crave respect

John
John Browne
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Pernell Karl Subban (P.K. to his friends) is a pain in the arse. He smiles a lot, but he’s an assassin on the ice.

And he’s much more than that.

He’s also egotistical, full of bluster, cocky, a showboat, naggingly childish and a diver.

For heaven’s sake, he cried to the referee like a baby when Shawn Thornton offered him a drink of water to quench his thirst.

His team is comprised of munchkins. Timbits. Smurfs. Vienna sausages. Lilliputians. A bunch of Archaea microbes.

They’re really small!

Unfortunately, they are also very fast and certainly rose to the occasion by playing their system brilliantly against my favourite team.

Team Hobbit managed to defeat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins in a second-round playoff series between the best rivals in sports. They did so by winning Game 7 comfortably. Boston’s effort in the deciding was surprisingly lame, but give Montreal full credit.

The Bruins’ frustration seemed to grow over the seven-game series. They too often shot wide, hit the post/crossbar or had their shots blocked by Canadiens’ defence that admirably played over their heads.

There’s blood on my fingers as I type this, but Subban, along with Carey Price, was a big part of the series win.

It’s also fair to say:

• Subban outplayed Zdeno Chara. Despite a great regular season, Chara looked every bit of his 37 years against the Habs.

• Carey Price outplayed Tuukka Rask. Rask wasn’t bad; he just didn’t make the big save when needed. And, looking back, most of the pucks that got by Price were deflections.

• Overall, the Habs, to a man, outplayed the Bruins.

What I can’t understand is the Montreal players basically begging for respect from Boston the entire series. The Bruins don’t give a damn if they ever get respect from the Habs or anyone else.

Milan Lucic, who recently released anti-bullying book, made that clear. Sportsmanship is overrated. Disrespecting the sacred handshake line by saying something rude is a big deal. Putting someone out for the remainder of the season with a deliberate vicious kneeing penalty gets you seven games in the NHL. Let’s keep things in perspective.

Let’s face it, the teams (and their fans) hate each other, but the Bruins don’t mind showing it. It’s never going to change.

In any case, the scary thought is that Montreal could win another Stanley Cup.

Though not the best defensive defenceman in the league, and no matter what you think of his style, Subban’s the most exciting player in the NHL right now.

Most importantly, however, Subban is an honest-to-goodness impact player when it counts. They are few and far between. His skating skills are remarkable and he scares the heck out of me — as a Bruins’ fan — when he winds up for a slap shot inside the blue line.

And what’s worse is that, off the ice, he appears to be one heck of a guy with a great sense of humor.

Look at the way he handled the controversy over those idiots who posted racist tweets about him. He could have milked that for all it’s worth but he didn’t.

That’s what won me over. The way he handled that ugliness was a glimpse into this guy’s real character. He showed intelligence and class. He knew that the Boston Bruins organization and their real fans have nothing to do with racism.

We’re Habophobic, if anything.

Subban, to his credit, also came up with what I thought was the best quote of the entire series when he said before Game 7: “I can’t wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building. I can’t wait to take that all away from them.”

Don’t tell me the Bruins’ players weren’t squeezing their sticks after reading that quote.

I desperately wanted Subban to eat those words, but they proved to be prophetic.

In any case, when P.K.’s playing days are over, I predict he’ll have a whole new career as a hockey color commentator because he’s actually likable and has a real presence on the TV screen which will translate well to most viewers. He may have taken a step in that direction when he literally kissed up to Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports at the post-game interview.

Regardless of Subban’s future, these are dark days for Bruins’ fans, who felt their team was a genuine Stanley Cup contender this season.

I don’t know what it is about the Canadiens’ ability — with few exceptions — to beat Boston even when the Bruins finish higher in the standings. It has to be some kind of a Habs’ curse.

Proof the curse continues came Wednesday night after the game.

My hamster “Marshie” (named after Brad Marchand) … sniff, well, to quote Socrates, “his hour of departure arrived.”

Coincidence?

I don’t think so.

 

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Boston Bruins, Habs, NHL NBC Sports

Geographic location: Boston, Montreal, Vienna

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