Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The last two weeks have not been kind to your Extraordinary Montreal Canadiens. Since learning that their superstar defenseman Andrei Markov would be out for the remainder of the season, unable to accommodate the Belgian authorities with the proper paperwork for the transfer of his artificial knee out of a bonded customs depot, the team was forced to heap more responsibility on their young phenom blue-liner, PK Subban. This has not met with stunning success to say the least. PK’s +/- went from +9 to -2 in that time, the defenders stopped clogging the middle, the Priceberg stopped pulling game-savers out of his ear, the scorers stopped scoring, and it all ended in tears with the rookie being sent to the press-box. It was easy to take it in stride the first few games but after half a dozen, the thought of choking down another arena hotdog while wearing a tie instead of hotdogging it on the ice was too much to bear and the young man was intent on making his case to rejoin the line-up for the game against Washington. You can imagine your ho-humming reporter’s surprise when informed as he shuffled in that PK was ruffling feathers by causing a kerfuffle during a scuffle. He had just exhibited his renowned grade-A intensity by sending a devastating right cross to Tomas Plekanec’s jaw as the centre tried to cross the blue line.
“It's practice, it's battling. It's tough." said Subban when asked to confirm. "When you're doing three-on-two drills and three-on-three, there are going to be chippy battles out there. You've just got to work through it. Give credit to Tommy for workin through my fist. It was a good practice today."
But he wasn’t done there. When Maxim Lapierre’s turn came to run the same play that Plekanec just had, he yelled across the ice for PK not to try that same crap with him, which of course, only motivated PK even more, and instead of a right cross, Lapierre found himself caught and grabbed from collar to crotch, turned upside down, and power-slammed into the ice. A melee ensued despite PK pleading it was an accident and Jack Marty giving himself an aneurysm blowing on the whistle.
"We see that all the time. When you are not playing, you've got to practice hard and make sure you are ready for the game when you are called on," said Captain Gio afterwards. "I thought it was a good practice by everybody and that stuff is going to happen when you're practicing hard. Lapierre was just mad cuz he accidentally swallowed his retainer."
Next came the power-play drills with shots from the point aimed at the slot for deflections. The indication was to keep the shot low. PK’s first shot hit Hal Gill in the face. While the 6’7” tower of power was bleeding his teeth out in the crease, Roman Hamrlik skated over to the young defender in order to give him a stern talking to, confident that his experience and prestige across the NHL would pull the young star into rank. But he was sorely mistaken and frankly shocked to see a round-house elbow coming his way. As Roman moved to dodge, he was grabbed around the waist and backward souplexed to the ice so hard that he didn’t regain consciousness for 18 minutes and realized he had bitten through his mouth-guard when he did.
"These things happen.” Mathieu Darche later said. “What's important is that we tone down the intensity against our opponents because if we play as we do against one-another, we’ll be spending the whole game in the box."
Coach Jack Marty pretty much thought the same way and decided to pull PK off for the remainder of the drill. As the kid came off, steaming with “intensity”, he pushed the coach face first into the back wall, grabbed him in a full Nelson, turned him around, and managed to smash his head at least three or four times against the sideboard ledge before Assistant Coach Kirk Muller succeeded in yanking him off.
“Completely normal.” said star Canadiens sniper Michael Cammalleri. “It’s a physical game and you have to respect the kid’s commitment to it.”
Once the practice had ended and after the complimentary knee to your devoted reporter’s sternum, PK Subban summed up his thought process concerning the passion he puts forth in order to perfect his skills.
"Like I said at the start of the year, my mentality is to come to the rink every day, try to learn, and get better. I get better by breaking heads. That’s my game. They told me ‘Don’t change your game’ so I’m not. This is me not changing my game. This is the game I always had success with. It's the same thing now. Every day, you're learning in a different way how to hurt people and you have to take it all in positively. Today was just another opportunity for me to go out there and get better and try and make the best of it and today, I think I did that. Especially if all those ambulance sirens I hear are an indication.”
-Do you think your effort today will be enough to get you into the game tonight?
“I hope so cuz next time, I’ll have to up the ante and instead of ambulances, it’ll be hearses.”
-No, what I meant was…
“Hell with this.”
More updates when senses return.

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