Let us turn to the hockey sage Kool Moe Dee for the right words while discussing Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Habs’ first-round exit from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A song by Dee – or is it Mr. Moe Dee? – probably best sums up how Subban must have felt after watching the Canadiens – his former employer – burp up a two-game-to-one series lead and suffer a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday that ousted the Habs from the playoffs:
Last summer, Subban was the poster boy for Montreal’s dysfunction – the Habs’ failure to make the playoffs (seeming to forget that All-World goaltender Carey Price only appeared in 12 games in 2015-16 season due to injury), rumored unrest in the locker room, and the inability of the coach to execute his master plan to lead the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup.
Subban was deemed by the Canadiens’ organ-i-zation to be too flamboyant, too selfish, too headstrong, too irresponsible defensively to be trusted.
So they shipped him to Nashville in June for defenseman Shea Weber in a move that then-Head Coach Michel Therrien proclaimed made the Canadiens “a better team now.”
So how’d it work out? The Habs fired Therrien in February after the team faded following a 13-1-1 start to the 2016-17 season. Montreal finished atop the National Hockey League’s Atlantic Conference with a 47-26-9 record and Cup expectations were high, particularly after the trade and Therrien’s dismissal. Then came the Rangers.Embed from Getty Images
As for the trade participants, Weber had a good year in Montreal, scoring 17 goals and 25 assists in 78 games. Subban had an injury-plagued regular season that limited him to 10 goals and 30 assists in 66 games. Subban played 12 fewer games than Weber but scored 40 points to Weber’s 42.
But the bottom line stat for most fans is that Subban and the Predators are still in the playoffs. Weber and the Canadiens aren’t after making what was sold as a “win now” trade.
While Montreal players head to the golf course, Subban and the Predators face the St. Louis Blues in Round Two of the playoffs.
Nashville’s four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks was so defensively dominant that Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne tallied as many points – 2 – as All-Star snipers Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews , who were the Chicago’s top scorers in the series.
Revenge is as sweet as the ice tea served cold south of the Mason-Dixon line, and Subban fans are basking in Montreal’s playoff misfortune. Cue Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”
Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey