Seeing him hover just inside the blueline, to line up the perfect shot, just right, will be one of the lasting images of this seven-game-series.
Seeing his stick raised a mile into the air, cocked and ready to explode, with the puck heading his way, and finally, the trigger pulled to unleashed a ice-shattering shot that hits with devastating accuracy.
|Subban was the MVP of the series (not including goalie Caery Price) (via ESPN.com)|
Defenseman P.K. Subban was the ultimate difference-maker in the series between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. Whether it was his play on the ice, or his words off of it, Subban was the one of a few reasons why the Canadiens eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
After the Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination and won Game 6 on their home ice on Monday, P.K. Subban had a very pointed message for everyone's favorite junior-hockey-encyclopedia-on-two-feet Pierre McGuire to tell Boston:
I love it. That's what the playoffs is all about. I hope the crowd is louder than in here. I hope it gets nasty. I hope it gets dirty. At the end of the game, when you're shaking hands, whoever wins, that's what the feeling is all about. Knowing that you battled, knowing that you went through a far. You know what? We're gonna be there at the end standing tall.
And just like he's done throughout the series, Subban talked the talk, and he walked the walk. Mainly in the form of scoring seven points in seven games, including five points talllied on the power-play (3 goals, 2 assists).
It started with his two power-play goals in Game 1, including the double-overtime winner that gave the Canadiens the early series lead and gave the earliest indication that Montreal was not going to go down quietly.
Following the game, more than a few ignorant individuals took to social media to send racist remarks towards Subban, hiding behind their keyboards and screens as cowards do.The act was denounced by the Bruins organization, coach Claude Julien and the players, as well as the real fans of the game that saw the actions of some do not speak for the rest of the fan base.
What did Subban have to say of the matter a couple days after the fact?
Everything you could have hoped for:
It's completely unfair for anybody to the point the finger at the organization or the fan base. They have passionate fans here, great fan base since I've been in the league and it's been awesome...What people may have say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins...It's unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that [has been] played...
In Game 3, it was Subban who blew the roof off Bell Centre when he beat Tuukka Rask on a breakaway to put the Canadiens up 2-0 halfway through the first period. He had already recorded an assist on the Canadiens' first goal earlier in the period, giving him his third-straight multi-point game in the series. Subban, as he did in the first two games of the series, was again the catalyst to Montreal's counterattacks to Boston's plodding grind-it-out style. Whenever the Bruins tried to establish a presence in the offensive zone, the Habs would storm the puck and break out the other way, leaving the Boston skaters having to chase back up the ice.
|Subban beats Rask to send Bell Centre into a frenzy (via ESPN.com)|
A few days later in Game 5, Milan Lucic and Subban were at each other's throats for the full 60 minutes, with Lucic landing body check after body check on #76, and Subban returning the favor on more than one occasion. Their spat culminated with Lucic flexing on the bench for Subban as he skated by during a stoppage of play, resulting in one of the more amusing and talked about moments in the series.
No bad words from Subban or Lucic postgame. Both players chalked it up to the heat of the playoff moment. Moving on, we have Game 6 to worry about in two days time.
After the Game 6 win, Subban spoke to McGuire postgame, giving the promise that the Canadiens would be the ones standing tall in the midst of the wreckage of the Game 7. He talked big, and most importantly, played big. He backed up his words and willed his team to victory.
Following Game 7 and the much talked about handshake line involving Lucic and two Subban's teammates in Dale Weise and Alexi Emelin, when Pierre asked him what was said, Subban gave the answer you want any player to give: he kept the dirty details to himself. To the players on the ice.
I don't really wanna talk about, he's probably a little bit upset, a little dissapointed, he's a great player, he competed hard. Listen, we've had many battles and we're probably gonna have many more. He's probably one of those guys that you want on your own team, but I thought we did a good job of containing that line and making sure we limit their opportunities...
Compare that to what Dale Weise said following the game?
They just have some guys that do disrespectful things, even in the handshake line they had a couple guys, sorry just one, that couldn't put it behind them and be a good winner. Milan Lucic had a few things to say to a couple guys.
If there is anyone to hate in the aftermath of this series, it's the fourth-line winger Dale Weise. He's the one who spilled the beans for the media about what Lucic said in the line. After the game, Lucic decided not to disclose the words, and chose to leave it at "it was said on the ice so it'll stay on the ice.
Subban did the same. He recognizes the war the two teams had just played, and he is a professional, understanding that things will be said in the heat of the moment. And he won't disclose it to the media.
In a series that saw him dominate on the ice and off, there's no doubt a percentage of Bruins fans view P.K. Subban differently then when it started. It is impossible to hate on his game, and it is even harder to ignore his class off the ice.
[quotes via CBSSports.com]