BROSSARD, Que. -- As difficult as it was for him to be talking about his Montreal Canadiens missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, there was a piece of news Monday that put a smile on P.K. Subban's face.
He was speaking to reporters just as NHL Central Scouting released its final ranking list for the 2012 NHL Draft, and P.K.'s younger brother Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, maintained his spot as the top-ranked North American goalie prospect.
"He's worked hard and I'm not surprised," said P.K. "I went to go watch him play in the [OHL] playoffs and I was really impressed by his ability to stop pucks and do it so effortlessly. He hasn't been playing goalie for a long time -- he started at 12 years old -- but it looks like he's been doing it his whole life. He's playing the best hockey of his career right now and he deserves all those things."
Central Scouting's Al Jensen compared Subban's goaltending style to that of P.K.'s teammate Carey Price, and while P.K. initially got a kick out of it, he was quick to stifle that comparison because he wants his brother to create his own identity free of the burdens such a lofty standard can create.
"I would love him to be like Carey [Price], that would be great. But I think the important thing for players is they're always going to compare you, and the thing I always like to say to a player is to be your own player. I like to think I'm the best P.K. Subban I can possibly be. He has to be the best Malcolm Subban he can possibly be." -- P.K. Subban
"I would love him to be like Carey, that would be great," he said. "But I think the important thing for players is they're always going to compare you, and the thing I always like to say to a player is to be your own player. I like to think I'm the best P.K. Subban I can possibly be. He has to be the best Malcolm Subban he can possibly be."
Subban's family, including Malcolm and youngest brother Jordan -- a defenseman with the Bulls who is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft –all were in Montreal for the Canadiens' final regular-season game, Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Malcolm got a chance to talk face-to-face with Price.
But again, P.K. said he's confident his brother will forge his own path, climbing out of the shadow cast not only by comparisons to NHL goalies, but also the one he himself creates for his two younger brothers, who both play for the junior team where he excelled not too long ago.
"He'll develop his own style, his own game, and he has to excel at it," P.K. said. "I always tell people they will make their own path, and he's doing that. He's a good goaltender, and he's only been playing since he was 12. But you're not the No. 1-ranked goalie just because you're P.K.'s brother, you're the No. 1-ranked goalie because you can play.
"I speak very little about my brother because his play will be doing most of the speaking."
While P.K. has earned recognition as one of the NHL's top young defensemen, Malcolm has a leg up on him with Monday's announcement because NHL Central Scouting didn't think nearly as highly of P.K. In 2007, P.K.'s draft year, NHL Central Scouting had him No. 102 on its final ranking of North American skaters. He was selected in the second round (No. 43) by the Canadiens in the 2007 draft.
"I was ranked, but you probably have to get a magnifying glass to find my name on that list," P.K. said with a laugh. "So I wasn't ranked high, but I'm sure if it was today it would be a lot different."
If Malcolm thinks this ranking will give him good chirping material at home, he'd better think again.
"He's still my little brother," P.K. said. "He's not in the show yet."
No, but it likely won't be too long before he is.