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Caution with P.K. Subban


Canorcas

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TSN just recently posted this article regarding PK Subban's on-going situation with Canadiens Management.

Coach Therrien is taking a lot of flak for how he's been utilizing Subban and specifically regarding his ice-time.

In my opinion, the Canadiens should be careful with how they approach contract talks with Subban.

I am a big fan of his game. I'll just say that first.

But teams have to err on the side of caution with offensive defensemen who can't be as effective defensively.

It was just a few seasons ago that Mike Green of the Capitals used to be the premiere offensive d-man in the league. He could skate, shoot, pass and was generally considered the top powerplay quarterback. And like Subban, the knock on Green was his incomplete defensive game. Despite that, the Capitals signed Green to a 4 and later 3-year contract extension.

Now, while still talented, he's a shell of his former self. And he's only 28 years old. So what happened?

Mostly injuries. Some of it mileage. Green still averages more than 24 minutes of ice time per game but his playing style has slowed down (though you could argue the same with the entire Caps roster).

p.k.subban_3123-430x298.jpg

I draw similarities with Subban here because while he's young and full of energy, PK is undoubtedly one of the most exciting defensemen in the game right now. He lays out big hits, he rushes the puck well and his shot was critical in winning him the Norris trophy last season.

That said, Habs management likely doesn't want to wade into Mike Green territory with how Subban turns out. Green hasn't played a full season since 2008-- that includes playing only 32 and 49 games in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Concussions are a real threat to any player in this game and any one is a bad hit away from losing a big step in their game. Crosby was on the shelf for almost an entire year before coming back. Marc Savard hasn't laced up his skates since the hit. And for us Canucks fans, 30-goal scorer David Booth is but a distant memory.

So what happens if Subban suffers a similar injury? Or if his ACL blows out? Or his shoulder gives? The way Subban plays, those injuries are a very strong possibility to happen.

Yes, I know the argument I bring is critical on the "what if?" side but seriously, what if? Subban seems to be the only true silver lining on a team full of disappointments so far this year. David Desharnais is MIA, Daniel Briere has largely been injured and ineffective and Carey Price hasn't been stellar just yet.

So before hockey fans are quick to throw Michel Therrien into the fire, just consider that maybe trying to get Subban to tone his play down a little bit now may just save his career in the long run.

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Meh, tell that to Kessel, or Perry, or Giroux, or anyone else who signed huge deals. It's a reality that anyone could be changed by a concussion regardless of their style of play, but it's not stopping teams from signing players to overpriced deals.

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Pfff... that's all fear talk. Injuries are very real concern in the NHL due to the nature of the game, but why sign anybody at all since there is always the risk of injury. With that mentality the Canadiens are very unlikely to ever keep truly elite players.

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I don't buy it. What is the point of telling a player to not play the game that made him successful? Why does the team want him to be less successful? To keep his salary down? Why would the player want to change his game?

All they have to do is pair him with a guy who can cover his wildness.

There has got to be more to the story than the team wanting to reign him in just to increase his longevity. Afterall, they played hardball with him in the offseason and won. They won't get another discount next time.

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I don't buy it. What is the point of telling a player to not play the game that made him successful? Why does the team want him to be less successful? To keep his salary down? Why would the player want to change his game?

All they have to do is pair him with a guy who can cover his wildness.

There has got to be more to the story than the team wanting to reign him in just to increase his longevity. Afterall, they played hardball with him in the offseason and won. They won't get another discount next time.

Beautifully said.

PK also has a good defensive game and comparing it to Greene is not even close...kind of sounded like he was Phaneuf 2.0 but reality is he is a great all around dman. Sometimes he caught on D but which dman isn't? And he deserves his money especially since he signed a very, very considerable bridge contract and then sees an average dman in Emelin get extend for more money than him.

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Beautifully said.

PK also has a good defensive game and comparing it to Greene is not even close...kind of sounded like he was Phaneuf 2.0 but reality is he is a great all around dman. Sometimes he caught on D but which dman isn't? And he deserves his money especially since he signed a very, very considerable bridge contract and then sees an average dman in Emelin get extend for more money than him.

I'm not sure how you can make the argument that comparing Mike Green to PK Subban isn't "even close." Please share examples as to why not?

The same Emelin who is older than Subban and has considerably more professional experience and safer defensive tendencies? Yes, I could see why that happened.

Emelin was playing with professionals in the Russian Super League / Kontinental Hockey League long before Subban even laced up for the Habs.

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I'm not sure how you can make the argument that comparing Mike Green to PK Subban isn't "even close." Please share examples as to why not?

The same Emelin who is older than Subban and has considerably more professional experience and safer defensive tendencies? Yes, I could see why that happened.

Emelin was playing with professionals in the Russian Super League / Kontinental Hockey League long before Subban even laced up for the Habs.

Green didn't dish out big hits, nor skated back into his own zone to make a defensive play with any urgency. Subban is not a defensive stud by any stretch, but the effort is there. He's also a bit faster, than a younger Phaneuf, who is another comparable. Basically, Norris vs. not quite Norris.

Emelin would be far more of an injury concern going forward than Subban, considering he sustained a massive knee injury last season and has yet to play this season. Why he was extended before even lacing 'em up this season is a mystery. That being said, when healthy, he was an average-to slightly above average NHLer who dished out the odd hit but apparently couldn't take it back.

For reasons such as off-ice antics, some on-ice ones, attitude, a battle with the coach, 'greed', and perceived poor play, imho Subban will eventually be let go by the Habs, and that may be a big mistake.

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I really don't understand the hype with Subban.

It's cool that he can score on the PP, but he's not that great defensively and he takes stupid penalties far too often for my liking.

I have said this before, but there were 6 or 7 defensemen who were more worthy of the Norris last year (hint: 2 of them play for Chicago).

There should be a trophy created for highest scoring defenseman, please leave honours like the Norris trophy for players that can actually play defense.

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I'm not sure how you can make the argument that comparing Mike Green to PK Subban isn't "even close." Please share examples as to why not?

The same Emelin who is older than Subban and has considerably more professional experience and safer defensive tendencies? Yes, I could see why that happened.

Emelin was playing with professionals in the Russian Super League / Kontinental Hockey League long before Subban even laced up for the Habs.

Maybe being considered the best defencemen in the league? He did win a Norris...

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Subban plays a high risk high reward game. It may be exciting to watch but I'm sure the coach's cheeks get clenched when he gets caught up in the play and has to get back.

Being the #1 d-man on the team and playing a ton of minutes he is obviously going to get a lot of attention.

The thing about him is if I can make a football comparison is Dez Bryant. He is so naturally physically talented and raw.

But his antics overshadow his talent the majority of the time. He has fought with teammates and comes off as a "me first" player.

He plays with emotion but does not how to harness it and makes dumb mistakes at times. So you can't trust him in critical situations which is why people think he should not make Team Canada for Sochi.

I don't think he should have won the Norris trophy. He is barely a top 5 d-man let alone the best. Like people said his defensive game is not always great.

It is quite easy to get under his skin and get him distracted just like Dez Bryant once you get in his face a bit. He hates getting hit and does everything to avoid it if possible.

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