Thursday, December 2, 2010

Subby Don't

So, Jacques Martin has decided to bench P.K. Subban, boy wonder, for having a bad game last night, and half the Habs fans with opinions are cursing him for hurting Subban's confidence and ruining a fine young player.

That's ridiculous. Martin is building a player here, not wrecking one. There's no doubt P.K.'s got the skills to be a fine NHL player, even a true star, for many years. There's more to being a star than just skill, however. A young player who's thrust into the limelight in a city as adoring as Montreal risks getting a fat head and forgetting why people loved him in the first place.

I don't believe P.K.Subban is arrogant or has an overly well-exercised ego. I think he consciously tries to remember his responsibility to act like a professional and keep his priorities straight. That's off the ice. On the ice, there's a fine line between supreme confidence in one's ability and arrogance. If Subban is given a starter's job with big responsibility and little in the way of restraint, it will be almost impossible for him to keep a rookie's humility; the kind of humility a player needs to remain open to learning.

Every player needs to know he's part of a team, and no matter how big his skill, he's replaceable. If he starts thinking things revolve around him, he loses sight of the team's goals and takes too much on himself. It happened to Carey Price in the first couple of years of his career, when he was handed a big, important role on the team, and he started thinking like a guy who knew more than he actually did. It took a hard crash for him to realize instant stardom still requires hard work.

Jacques Martin is benching Subban because the kid had a bad game last night, and needs to know he's not yet so secure that he can play like that with impunity. It's true he didn't play as poorly as some of the veterans, but he's at a different place in his career than they are. He's particularly vulnerable to thinking he's the king of the world, and it's up to the coach to make sure that doesn't happen. This is part of any rookie's learning curve, and P.K.Subban, for all his talent, is still just a rookie.

The move may hurt the team tonight because Subban's better than Yannick Weber. In the long run, though, the hope is that it teaches a lesson the kid needs to learn to be a better player later. Kudos to the coach for having balls enough to teach it when everyone is yelling and telling him he's wrong.


Anonymous said...

He will learn a lot from the Press box. There's nothing wrong with removing a player here and there. He'll play San Jose on Saturday and play a great game. Let's all have confidence.

Anonymous said...

Also, I think Cammy is in a weird place. Something is going on. Not sure if he is maybe not getting along with others. When he gave up that puck in OT, he made NO EFFORT to get it back. Replay it if you can. Something is definitely going on. Some speculate that he does not like being taking away from same line as Pleky. This may be true. He is not the same guy we had last year. He's arrogant, he's fighting. Was he playing an act before they picked a "C" to prove that he was the man for that position? And the way he is today is the real him?? If so, he had me fooled.

Anonymous said...

I agree that sitting out may well help PK and thus the team going forward. Now, if JM had the balls to do this with Cammalleri and Gomez, then I would be impressed.

Anonymous said...

I , for one, dont agree. Especially your last sentence J.T.

>If Martin's had any balls at all, he would have bench Spacek in the beginning of the year as well as let Gomez know he is not contributing enough.

Instead, he plays the big boss with the star rookie. It's a lot easier for him to go after a rookie. That he bench Pk is one thing if he intends to do the same to every player. As of now, rookie like Subban, Picard remember Obyrne or Latendresse for that matter are 1 mistake away to being in the stands while vets are pampered and mistake that they make are swept under the carpet after the game, like they never happened.

It's one thing to bench the kid, but it's another thing to completely forget that other players needs to be talked to way more then Subban.


Anonymous said...

Cammy's been pissy since the season started, which is weird, cause he's usually quite the happy guy, or appears to be. I can't blame him though. He commented at the 10th game mark about consistency and how that works in making AK/Plek/Cammy a great line, then what happened? AK gets off his line, then he gets demoted to work with Gomez. I as a fan is frustrated, I can't imagine how he feels. Gomez is stifling his production, and it's like a punishment to him, and he was playing welk, so it's not even a justfiable punishment. I'd be pissed too.
As for Subban, It's his fault as much as Cammy's fault, but if you think about it. HOW many times did the team miss the frigging net last night? Pouliot can't finish a frigging play, Moen is useless on Gomez/Cammy's line, it's infuriating to me to watch how many plays go unfinished, and it's not cause the goalie made a nice save or whatever, it's cause WE butchered the plays.
Sorry for my rants, i'm annoyed.

moeman said...

I agree 100%.

J.T. said...

@Francis: The thing is, veterans get a little more leeway because they have years of experience in getting themselves in and out of slumps, and in managing their own behaviour. A rookie hasn't built that credibility with his coaches yet, no matter who he is. I agree a drastic measure is needed with Gomez and Cammalleri if they don't get themselves out of this funk soon. They just haven't used up their goodwill with the coaches yet.

@everyone who thinks there's something wrong with Cammalleri: I agree. He looks frustrated and angry, and whether it's justified or not, he has to get over it. The team needs him.

Anonymous said...

Martin's ageism is beginning to become increasingly apparent. The O'byrne trade (I never felt he had a fair shot),the recent MaxPac declaration about preferring playing in the AHL, now PK's scratching while Spacek and Gomez are Teflon when it comes to accountability. This could create youth/vet cliques in the locker room, and Martin certainly would have some responsibility in that by not making the vets more accountable.

No need to waive/demote Gomez or Spacek, just give them less ice time and give the youth a chance, and allow for mistakes, as that is how they learn. Is that so terrible?

Anonymous said...

What PK needs to remember is that he is better, way better, than Webber and that the team is playing Webber because it is safer. There have been plenty of way, way, better teams leaning on the boards and watching the Cup being presented to a group that played together.

PK has a choice. Carry the Cup home to show his folks where his name is engraved, or get a nice big contract and be a footnote in hockey history like the last 17 years worth of Habs.

J.T. said...

@anon who says ageism is the problem: I had no patience with Martin for a long time, but I spoke to a friend of his yesterday. He explained some of the things we always wonder about, and I confess, I see the coach's decisions differently now. I'll have to blog about it.

V said...

JT, would love to hear what you have learned about Martin.

I think he is maligned unfairly and it would be great to hear something from soemone with actual insight into the man.

MC said...

Well said JT. I agree with The first anon as well: you can learn a lot from the pressbox; fans and PK should see this as a learning opportunity. It also gives the organization a chance to see what they have in Weber; maybe he plays better than Subban. If not, then PK gets back in the line up quickly In my opinion, Subban has not been very good on the PP, maybe Weber gives the PP a lift.