Habs need Subban’s pizzazz
From Jack Todd for the Gazette
The rest... just like Maryanne
While the Canadiens were putting their popgun offence on display, one P.K Subban was home in Toronto. Oh, you could see him in the commercials. But on the ice? Not a shadow.
Sunday, while his teammates were recovering from a bruising loss to Toronto, Subban was in T.O., taking in the Lakers game from the front row. The Lakers need all the help they can get — but the Canadiens need Subban more.
Does it matter that Subban is still unsigned? Well, for you Tomas Kaberle fans (both of you) it was great: Kaberle wasn’t all that bad. For those who hope the Canadiens will make you forget last season’s 15th-place finish with a playoff push, not so much.
What the Canadiens did not look was dangerous. Of course, they weren’t dangerous last year, either, when Subban was in the lineup. But Pernell Karl, bless him, brings another element to the ice — a charge of megaton energy and excitement that was very much lacking against the Leafs.
So what does newly minted GM Marc Bergevin do now? In this short-sprint season, 10 games without Subban could douse any playoff hopes the CH might entertain, when every game is the equivalent of two in a normal season.
Bergevin sensibly does not want to break the bank for a player who (in the organization’s view) has not quite proved himself. For reasons that have never been publicly clear, the club has always been a little down on Subban: It was that way with Pierre Gauthier, Jacques Demers and Randy Cunneyworth, it’s that way now with Bergevin and Michel Therrien, who only a short time ago was Subban’s most ferocious critic in the media.
Now, assuming that Subban signs at some point, the same guy who was ripping him on RDS is his coach, which could be part of the problem here. Technically, Subban isn’t a holdout, because he doesn’t have a contract. In truth, as a restricted free agent without other offers, the effect of his absence is the same as a holdout.
The one thing you know is that agent Donnie Meehan is not going to sell his client short. The amiable Meehan isn’t given to outrageous statements; in public, at least, he’s a quiet bulldog who will hang on until he has everything he can get — much as Donald Fehr did during the CBA negotiations.