What the Puck: Should P.K. Subban be Named Captain of the Predators?
If you’re running the Nashville Predators, do you name P.K. Subban captain?
If you’re following this story closely, and I know you are, you realize the Preds are short a leader since they traded their ‘C’, Shea Weber, earlier this summer in exchange for Subban.
Now you also know that I have — always have had — just a little bit of a soft spot for Pernell Karl. I’ve been a fan ever since he first laced up for the Montreal Canadiens in that magical post-season sprint in the spring of 2010 when the team was carried to an improbable berth in the conference final on the back of another favourite of mine, a fellow named Jaroslav Halak.
And I thought the Subbanator should’ve been given the ‘C’ last fall when the Habs were flailing around trying to figure who their fearless leader was going to be. Management had been making that call in recent years but this time, they decided to let the players vote and Les Boys cast their ballots for Max Pacioretty.
I think that was a mistake and I’ve written that many times. Many readers have objected to this, arguing that the players have chosen and thus you can’t dispute the choice. That, of course, is absurd. Democracy often doesn’t work so well. Your honour, I submit as evidence just two words — Donald Trump.
I still believe Subban would’ve been a better man to captain this squad over the past season but now we’ll never know if he would’ve been a better choice than Patches. What we do know is that not-so-mad Max was not much of a leader. When the going got tough, he went into hiding. But I digress.
To go back to the case of Nashville, even a P.K. booster like myself has a hard time with the notion that he should immediately be appointed the Preds’ captain. He may well eventually get that gig but I think it would potentially ruffle the feathers of his new teammates who would be wondering why the new kid on the Music City block is being instantly given top honours.
On the web site todaysslapshot.com, Brandon Cohen argues that Subban is just the man for the job and that the former Habs D-man brings “leadership, personality, and exemplifies how the Predators should wish to be seen by fans and opposing organizations.” I don’t disagree but the danger is you might immediately create the kind of locker-room conflict that was supposedly a real issue here in Montreal.
There are certainly other good captain candidates on the Preds roster, notably Weber’s former blueline partner Roman Josi, James Neal and Mike Fisher. I just think Subban already takes up a lot of space in The Room, ‘C’ or no ‘C’, and he has to earn it down in Tennessee.
The fact is it just makes me sad to be having this discussion. To be talking about what will be happening with Subban in Nashville. Honestly it’s only now sinking in for many of us that Subban really is gone, that he’ll never win a Cup with the Habs. That still feels like a hard punch in the solar plexus.
That said, I’m absolutely convinced he will just explode with the Predators, on a team with a general manager in David Poile and a coach in Peter Laviolette who have made it clear that they’re totally pumped to have P.K. They have expressed the kind of enthusiasm for Subban that Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien never did during his entire time here in Montreal.
They are going to let him loose and unlike the Mike Babcocks of this world, I believe Subban unleashed will result not in dangerous mistakes — though there will be some of them — but in incredible offensive opportunities.
Speaking of naming captains, I happen to think we could use a new one here in Montreal too. Patches scores a lot of goals, and that we like. But he just seems supremely uncomfortable in the role.
He’s not a big-game player, he’s not a playoff player and he does not seem to lead by example on or off the ice. Luckily the Habs have just picked up a chap who does all of those things. His name is Shea Weber and I think the ‘C’ would look just fine on his jersey.