P.K. Subban: Correct Choice To Wear “C” for Habs in 2014-15

Woah! Those four years went by fast! I guess time just flies when you’re travelling through the precipice of your adolescent years.

Anyway, since being introduced as the franchise’s 28th captain back in September of 2010, Brian Gionta’s Montreal Canadiens have celebrated incredible highs, and have endured infamous lows.

Through it all, the generously listed 5’7, Rochester, New York native led with great dignity and class, on and off the ice. Like his predecessor (Saku Koivu), Gionta’s diminutive stature rarely overshadowed the size of his relentless heart.

Brian Gionta

(Icon SMI)

And here we stand, on the heels of Gionta’s departure to the Buffalo Sabres via free agency, and the Canadiens find themselves in the same position that they were in four years ago: captain-less. But instead of veteran components like Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, and Andrei Markov making up Montreal’s core, youthful personalities like those of P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher are now looked upon as the club’s most important building blocks.

(Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

(Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

While the discussions have already began since Gionta agreed on terms of a three-year contract with the Sabres on July 1st, naturally a variety of opinions on the captaincy have been circulating.

Of course, the more traditionalist conservative types involved in this discussion are hardliners for Montreal’s next captain to be at least 30 years of age. Many from this group would probably look to veterans that have been born and bred as Montreal Canadiens; players like Andrei Markov or Tomas Plekanec for example.

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Then you have the more liberal fans and members of the media. Those who find themselves promoting such a particular school of thought would likely be in favor of awarding the captaincy to a young and energetic player that appears to have a long and bright future with the organization.

While a lack of experience in the NHL, and an abundance of youthful enthusiasm is often followed by question marks when evaluating leadership, franchises like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, and a slew of other teams have successfully implemented young captains.

By now, you must be wondering: where do I stand? Before you throw a rock at your screen and curse me for being a naïve 21 year old who’s sitting in his mother’s basement, please give me a chance to explain why I am a lobbyist for selecting a polarizing personality like P.K. Subban.

Montreal Canadian P.K. Subban   - Photo By Andy Martin Jr

Beginning with the respect and admiration that a player like P.K. Subban has for the Montreal Canadiens and its fan base, this 24 year old Toronto native is one of the few athletes in today’s day and age who genuinely appreciates the game’s history and tradition, and is a student of the game. From where I stand, that is a quality that every player should have, and the captain of the most storied franchise in hockey history should have this characteristic in spades. P.K. Subban has it!

Not only has Subban’s attitude and comportment matured over the last couple years since Michel Therrien returned on the scene in 2012, but after picking up a Norris Trophy in 2013 and securing a spot on Canada’s Olympic team in 2014, Subban’s on ice credentials are essentially undeniable at this point. P.K. is good, folks. In fact, he is really good. Although it’s never paramount for a captain to be the best player on his team, this detail most certainly would not hurt him in such a role.

PK Subban Norris Trophy

Former 2nd round draft pick PK Subban with the Norris Trophy; the Montreal Canadiens hope to strike gold again in the 2013 NHL Draft. (Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Finally, we mentioned Subban’s on-ice prowess, but I think it is worth mentioning the energy and flair that he plays with as well. As was seen in Montreal’s most recent playoff run, and in particular against the Boston Bruins in round 2, Subban’s ability to lead and play his best hockey when the chips are down is what I was most impressed by.

In particular, I was impressed by Subban’s ability to stay composed following racist comments that were made public by a handful of ignorant fans on social media, and by his positive reaction to “water bottle taunting” from Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. To me, this maturity and comportment is more impressive than his 4 goals and 7 points in the series.

Should the Montreal Canadiens chose to name P.K. Subban their captain in the near future, not only will this news shock fans and media across the NHL, but many will actually argue that Subban is too young and immature for this honor. Nonsense! These people are dinosaurs. More than that, these individuals probably haven’t watched too closely the past couple of years to acknowledge Subban’s growth. The kid is not really a kid anymore!

(Okay fine, maybe just a little)

Why not make it official that P.K. Subban is the heart and soul and the engine that sparks the Montreal Canadiens? Why can’t the 24-year-old Subban be acknowledged as the leader of a young core the way guys like Crosby, Toews, Landeskog, and Stamkos have been with their respective teams? Why be afraid of giving the C to a young and energetic lightning rod in a city where hockey is so ingrained in the culture?

I guess the obvious reply would be: because he is not under contract yet.

But when he breaks the bank and signs sooner or later, he’s my choice. As usual, I look forward to reading your comments.

P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban (Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE)


David P. Stein
David is currently a second year Arts student at McGill University and aspires to have a career as a sports journalist one day. When he's not covering the Montreal Canadiens for THW, he is the sports producer for TVMcGill and the host of his very own show called "On The Line with David Stein." He is also a frequent contributor to the McGill Tribune.
David P. Stein

6 Comments

  1. Catskill Murph says:

    I’ll agree Subban is a talented hockey player. But he is FAR from the best defenceman in the league. Unfortunately any talent he shows is over shadowed by his dirty unsportsman like play, not to mention one of the leagues top embellishers. He is notorious for instigating then running with his tail between his legs, so, if the “C” stands for “Coward” he has my vote.
    I have no respect for him or his type of play.

  2. Anthony glavanic says:

    I’m the opposite. I think subban is totally mistreated and every error is scrutinized more than anyone in the league. He has already taken a bargain basement contract and for one of the best d men in the league it is time for him to be paid accordingly. Being captain would suit him and the organization perfectly. Our first d in years comparable to the big three of the seventy’s.

  3. I have watched Subban play for a number of years and I totally disagree with your comments. Subban is notorious for not backing up his players ,constantly rabbit punching opponents in the back of the head and overall totally full of himself. He instigates and then runs away..his turtling is history and well documented. Truth is he has the obvious skill set to avoid acting the way he does. Don’t act like a tough guy when your not. There is no need for him to do that. I watched Gallagher save his ass in an instance and Subban didn’t even try to rescue him. Subban is skilled but totally over rated and in my opinion more interested in himself than anyone else. Most of the media flounder over him and its kinda pathetic. Try watching TSN ..it might was well be the Subban show. The analyst drool when he is on the ice or on TV which seems to be every moment of the day. I will agree he has talent but its way to soon for him to wear the C ..Patch would be a better choice Respectfully…Mike summed it up real well

  4. mike varkonyi says:

    You lost me and your credibility when you stated Subban appreciates the games history and tradition. His in game antics show the exact opposite. He dives at every opportunity, not by getting hit and embellishing, but pretending to get hit and feigning injury. He does, like all hockey players do, take little cheap shots at guys, but instead of manning up, he skates away as fast as he can. I do not expect him to drop the gloves, but if you are going to play on the edge and cross over at times, then you should be accountable. And as to your point about showing a positive reaction after he was squirted with the water bottle, my God, did you see the game? He went skating over to the ref again, as fast as he could and whined a good 15 seconds and looked like someone had just run over his puppy…In grade school, they call that kid a tattletale. What Thornton did was wrong, but Subban did not handle it like a Captain. He is still very immature and that is probably why Montreal is hesitant to sign long term for beau-coup dollars.
    And to Alan Morris…He is not the best defense man in the league…maybe best offensive d-man, but best? No.

    • Obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about. Over the past 2 years P.K. has matured, learned to respect the game of hockey, and appreciate the organization he plays for. His interviews are full of “It was a team effort” “This is about the team not me, it should always be about the team” Do you remember when he defused the potentially embarrassing situation that occurred during the Boston series? Subban is a team player, loves talking to the media, loves interacting with fans, and is full of character. P.K. Subban defiantly lives up to the expectations of being a captain in the NHL.

  5. alan morris says:

    I agree 100%. PK demonstrated a level of leadership during the playoffs that was phenomenal. When he made his statements about the Boston crowd he was so obviously taking the pressure off his teammates.

    The best defenceman in the league should be the captain of his Team. PK for habs captain.

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