The Montreal Canadiens beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Thursday night. The win came at a price, though, as Habs’ defenceman, P.K. Subban went down with a neck injury late in the game. The injury was later deemed unserious, but precautionary measures had to be taken. Before Habs players and fans knew just how severe the injury to the star defenceman was, there was a general state of concern surrounding the team. Team captain, Max Pacioretty, seemed the most concerned out of everyone in the building. Pacioretty stood next to the injured Subban for the majority of the time that the medical staff were securing him on the stretcher. In his postgame interview, the captain mentioned that he knew what it was like to be in that scenario and that he was obviously worried for his teammate. Over the last few months, some Habs fans have questioned whether Pacioretty and Subban have a good relationship. Frankly, some Habs fans believe that the two don’t very much like each other. This article will show that their relationship is, in fact, positive and professional and it will use Subban’s injury, and more as proof.
Max Pacioretty was clearly shaken by seeing Subban wheeled off on a stretcher, said it brought back tough memories.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) March 11, 2016
Though Pacioretty and Subban are both important leaders on the Canadiens, they are very different people and players. Pacioretty, a forward, seems to be calm, reserved, and private. Subban, however, is the opposite. The defenceman is outspoken, flamboyant, extremely emotional on and off the ice. The two have very different styles of leadership too. With so many differences between them, a couple of disagreements here and there are almost unavoidable. Sure, they may have different personalities, but they have one common goal. Pacioretty, Subban, and all other players in the NHL want to win the coveted Stanley Cup. This, a goal that is extremely hard to achieve is enough for them to put their differences aside, and be on the same page. The two players having differences in opinions, personalities and leadership styles is not enough of a reason to say they dislike each other. The two are professionals that work together to achieve their ultimate goal, despite being different.
The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and though few moves were made by the Habs, the ones that were completed had an impact in the locker room. One of the pre-deadline moves saw depth forward, Devante Smith-Pelly traded to the New Jersey Devils. In his post-trade interview, the winger struggled to hold in his tears. He talked about how the Canadiens’ team was extremely tight-knit, and how the players were more than just teammates, they were friends. This wasn’t the first time that one of the team’s players had expressed how close the group was and how they all seemed to get along. The dynamic of the tight group hasn’t helped the team in the standings this season, but it’s definitely worth something.
Check out Smith-Pelly’s interview after finding out he was dealt:
One would think that the general feel around the room wouldn’t be so tight and positive if two of the most important players on the team disliked each other. Ultimately, no one player can win hockey games alone. Getting along with your teammates is a crucial part of being on a team, as communication and trust are vital to team success. Let’s also take into account the reasoning for which the media believes that Pacioretty and Subban may not have the ideal relationship. The argument is focused on body language between the two players. The more trustworthy sources for the logical Habs fan, are the players themselves. As mentioned earlier, if the two actually disliked each other, they’d push through for the benefit of the team. That said, all signs indicate that they do in fact support and are willing to fight for one another. This willingness to fight, block a shot and/or have your teammates back at all times is what defines the tight group that Smith-Pelly talked about. As far as Habs fans should be concerned, this so-called ‘tension’ between Pacioretty and Subban should be considered nothing more than a media-driven attempt to stir things up in the news.
For more, check out this interview where Max Pacioretty openly defends P.K. Subban and shoots down rumours of animosity between himself and the defenceman.
The Canadiens will grow as a unit as they look to move past this disappointing season. After the trade deadline, the team is one of the youngest in the entire NHL. New faces of the franchise have emerged, and they will continue to develop their leadership skills, as well as their on-ice skills in the years to come. The fact that some, like Pacioretty and Subban, are extremely different personality-wise will likely be a benefit to a team that should aim to make the playoffs next season. The wide array of leaders in the Habs room will prove to be an advantage as they move forward as a young, promising NHL team, despite such a lacklustre season. So from now on, if questions arise about the relationship between Pacioretty and Subban, let’s just remember a direct quote from the captain: “I support P.K. one-hundred percent… P.K. is one of the best defencemen in the league…”
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I’m a Montreal Canadiens columnist and lifelong Habs fan. Follow me on Twitter (@gregkatz19) for all kinds of hockey talk, and to be up to date on my newest articles. I previously wrote for Too Many Men on the Site, a part of Fansided NHL.