Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Injuries force Martin's hand with Subban

You might want to sit down for this, and if you're already sitting down, try not to fall off your chair. Jacques Martin actually had something nice to say about P.K. Subban.
Within a few weeks of turning Subban into half the player he was at the beginning of the season, the Canadiens coach is actually dispensing compliments, which he normally throws around like manhole covers, especially when it comes to young players whom Martin believes have become too big for their britches. Well, the Canadiens have some big britches to fill on the blue line after Josh Gorges joined Andrei Markov on the sidelines for the remainder of the regular season. Martin called last week's shootout win over Pittsburgh Subban's best game of the season, and added more indirect praise when he credited "the kids" with sparking a dramatic comeback against Boston Saturday at the Bell Center, where Subban was plus 2in a team-leading 26-and-a-half minutes of ice, and assisted on Max Pacioretty's game-winning goal in overtime.
There's no upside to losing two of your top four defencemen, but there is this: Martin now has to dress and play Subban on a regular basis the rest of the way, and the coach seems to recognize that it's in everyone's best interests - his own included - to restore the confidence he undermined when he made Subban a healthy scratch fives times in a four week stretch last month. Even if it's a forced show of faith, it's better than no faith at all.

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