BROSSARD – P.K. Subban will never turn down a chance to learn new things.
After quickly becoming a fan favorite during his stint with the Habs during the playoffs this year, Subban could have easily skipped the Canadiens development camp this week and just waited for the big camp in September. But the 21-year-old is no diva and wasn’t about to miss out on an opportunity to develop.
Subban may already be way ahead of the curve, but the Toronto native knows there’s always room for improvement – even when it comes to guys like Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods.
“I remember the day that Tiger Woods went back to his coach to work on his swing. Everyone was like ‘Why is he doing that? He already has the best swing.’” recalled Subban. “I said to myself that if Tiger Woods is still working on his swing to get better, I can learn something new every day too no matter how well I’m playing or what I’ve accomplished. That’s the mentality you need to have.”
That’s saying a lot, considering the number of laurels Subban has to rest on if he ever feels so inclined. Almost single-handedly re-writing the Hamilton Bulldogs’ record books this year in his first pro season, P.K. took part in the AHL All-Star Game as a rookie before being called up to join the Habs in a do-or-die playoff tilt against the Capitals.
“In just one year in the AHL, I got a lot of great experience. I was called up, sent down and called up again. We won and broke records. For some guys, it takes 10 years to do that,” explained Subban, who also earned the AHL President’s Award for his accomplishments this season.
With the stage set for Subban to make the leap to the NHL full-time in 2010-11, the young star is preparing himself for the whirlwind about to come his way this year.
“It’s a job, not just a game. Obviously I have a lot of fun playing and I love it, but I have to approach it as my job at the same time,” offered Subban. “There are responsibilities that come with being a professional hockey player. We walk around town and young players recognize us. We become role models and that’s something you have to take seriously whether you’re a 19-year-old or you’re 33.”
But for the moment, the shifty blue-liner is focused on just one thing.
“A lot of people have asked what I’m doing at a development camp,” admitted Subban. “Well, I haven’t played a full NHL season, just a few playoff games. For me, it’s just another opportunity to get better every day.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.