By the Rule of Trophy, P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens was the best defenseman in the NHL last season. Subban won the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the best defenseman. It’s a simple rule to follow.
Based on the way Subban has been deployed late in recent games this season, coach Michel Therrien doesn’t seem to care about that rule I just invented. Instead of seeing Subban as one of the game’s top defensemen, Therrien appears to view Subban as a liability who should be nowhere near close games in the final minutes.
The Norris Trophy is awarded by a group of people that Never Played The Game, so perhaps the opinion that Subban is the best defenseman isn’t shared by Hockey People like Therrien. Maybe Therrien wishes Subban were better, but the feeling that a player always can be better is baseline thinking by coaches and players alike, but it’s important to not let it warp your view of the player.
At the beginning of this shortened NHL season, if I had told you that the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs would be playing a game against each other in the middle of April with serious playoff implications, you would have called me a brain dead moron and then asked me why I was rooting around in your bushes (I was using binoculars to look away from your windows, not into them, I swear).
But here we are, two weeks left in the season and The Canadiens are in first place in the Northeast division (2nd seed in the Eastern Conference) while the Leafs find themselves sitting 5th in the East.
Alexei Emelin isn’t a free agent this upcoming summer, but he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer, so he’s a bit of a scientific experiment to me.
I’m looking at his defensive partner Andrei Markov, who has never gotten his due thanks to an abundance of injuries throughout his career. He’s played a single 82-game season, back in 2008, which happened to be the year the Montreal Canadiens came out of nowhere to win the Eastern Conference in the regular season.
Of course, correlation doesn’t imply causation, but one major difference about the Habs this year as opposed to the Habs last year is a healthy Andrei Markov. The 34-year-old has played just 65 games over the last three seasons and 20 games in the last two and a lot of folk writing off the Habs were probably writing off Markov’s health. There he is, leading Habs’ blue liners in minutes, alongside Emelin.
Editor’s note: this post originally ran after Blake Geoffrion’s injury on Nov. 10th, 2012 – we’ve republished it today for those who want to know more about what happened to the former Hobey Baker winner, given the bad news – today he told the Montreal Canadiens he plans to retire from professional hockey.
2010 Hobey Baker winner (Wisconsin) Blake Geoffrion has informed Montreal Canadiens management that he plans to retire from Pro Hockey.
Hockey fans filled the Bell Centre last night, eager to see Montreal’s AHL affiliated Hamilton Bulldogs take on the East Division-leading Syracuse crunch. A massive JP Côté hit on Hamilton’s Blake Geoffrion ended with Geoffrion skating off clutching his bleeding face, and later heading to a Montreal hospital for surgical repair of a skull fracture.
While Marc Savard (allegedly) found him delicious, Dan Carcillo is unlikely to do any biting of his own as he has a total of approximately three teeth.
The human mouth is a filthy, filthy place. So is a hockey player once they’re more than a few minutes into a game, and the combination of the two is a not-uncommon occurrence in the NHL. Mikhail Grabovski’s (alleged) biting of Max Pacioretty’s arm, Alex Burrows’ (obvious) biting of Patrice Bergeron’s finger, Marc Savard’s (repeated) biting of everyone’s everything, and countless other incidents of mouth versus body part have grossed us all out year after year.
The end of hockey night in Canada: As a Habs fan, hockey day in Canada was a complete bust. The Canadiens really never kicked it into gear and were buried by an avalanche of Leaf goals. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go drown my sorrows in cheap domestic beer.
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Post-Game: Roberto Luongo. The Best.
End of Game: The Vancouver Canucks ran roughshod over the Calgary Flames 5-1. Canucks’ forward Jordan Schroeder was the obvious first star after notching the first two goals of his career.
*I need to preface this post by admitting that it may be filled with bias and hyperbole…that’s right folks, I am a die-hard Habs fan.*
For weeks (and I guess months if you count pre-lockout), I have been agonizing over the game of chicken that was being played between P.K. Subban’s agent Don Meehan and Montreal Canadiens rookie GM Marc Bergevin. I mean it wasn’t bad enough that I was losing sleep or that food had lost all flavour, but as a Habs fan, there was a feeling of dread that occasionally washed over me. A feeling of dread swimming with thoughts of a trade or possibly a full-season holdout.
Even a small and deranged part of my brain prayed for an offer sheet from another team just so we would see an end to this saga.
Well gang we finally have a result, and I gotta say, I’m grinning pretty huge right now.