MONTREAL – Once is good. Twice is better. For most people, December 26 is a time to head to the mall to exchange their presents, but for P.K. Subban, the day marks the debut of an experience he wouldn’t change for the world.
When the speedy, agile defenseman hits the ice on Friday for the opening game of the World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa, he’ll start his bid to become a member of a pretty exclusive group. Having helped Canada bring home the gold from the Czech Republic in last year’s tournament, Subban can become only the second Canadiens prospect in the history of the World Juniors to claim two championships at the annual tourney.
Montreal’s third choice at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Subban is one of only four members of last year’s golden team to suit up for Canada in 2008. He’s looking to follow in fellow blue-liner Patrice Brisebois’ footsteps, the veteran rearguard having donned the maple leaf alongside Eric Lindros to win two gold medals in the 1990s.
Brisebois struck gold for the first time in 1990 in Finland, his two goals and two assists helping catapult Canada to the top of the podium with a 5-1-1 record. The following year, Brisebois staked his claim as an offensive pillar on the Canadian blue line, finishing third in team scoring with seven points in as many games. In the Final, Team Canada faced off against Pavel Bure’s U.S.S.R squad, as the Canadians captured gold with a 3-2 decision.
Two other future Canadiens have previously had their chance to win double-gold, but fell just short of the mark. Eric Desjardins started the campaign strong with a golden debut for Team Canada, winning the tournament in his first outing in 1988. But, in 1989, with the “C” stitched proudly above his red maple leaf, the Canadians had to settle for fourth.
Before Desjardins, future Hab Shayne Corson also had his bid for two wins spoiled, missing out on the gold in 1985 before avenging the loss with a golden finish the following year.