Skip to main content

Habs could opt for rookie Subban on blue line, PP

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens called up defenseman P.K. Subban from Hamilton of the American Hockey League on Monday, but coach Jacques Martin said he won't make a decision on whether to play the rookie until game time.

Montreal trails Washington, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 scheduled for Monday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at Bell Centre.

Subban, who was not made available to the media after the morning skate, played Sunday night for the Bulldogs in their series-clinching 3-2 win against Manitoba in the North Division Semifinals of the Calder Cup playoffs. He had 2 assists and a minus-1 rating in the game and finished the series with 3 goals and 6 assists.

Subban, the 43rd pick of the 2007 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut Feb. 12. In two games, he had 2 points. He won the gold medal with Canada at the World Junior Championship in 2008 and 2009, when he was named to the tournament's All-Star Team and scored the first goal in Canada's 5-1 defeat of Sweden in the gold-medal game.

"I remember when he was here I was very impressed with his play," Habs left wing Michael Cammalleri said of Subban. "He brings an energy to the game and a charisma to the game and I think that leads into his play. He showed some good composure and he's obviously got a strong skill set. The sky is the limit for P.K."

If Martin decides to play Subban, it's possible he uses him as a seventh defenseman and strictly for power-play purposes. Eleven of Subban's 18 goals in Hamilton this season came on the power play. He finished third on the Bulldogs in scoring and third among all AHL defensemen with 53 points.

Jaroslav Spacek again won't play due to an illness, so no defenseman would have to come out of the lineup if Subban came in as the seventh man.

"He's played in World Juniors gold-medal games and he's played well, risen to the occasion," Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said. "With his attitude, demeanor and personality, these pressure-packed situations just run right off of him."

No one in the Habs' locker room believes the team is showing a sign of weakness by dipping into Hamilton to bring up a new body when it still has six healthy defensemen.

"I think it just shows what kind of depth we have," Glen Metropolit said.

"It's the commitment to the fact that we're going out to win the game and extend the series, and that we'll do all we can do to get tonight's win," Cammalleri added.

"I remember when he was here I was very impressed with his play. He brings an energy to the game and a charisma to the game and I think that leads into his play. He showed some good composure and he's obviously got a strong skill set."
-- Mike Cammalleri on P.K. Subban

Subban is not the Canadiens' savior and shouldn't be viewed that way. But, should he play, his energy could be contagious.

"He doesn't have to think too much about what has gone on in the past or what has led us to this point," Gorges said. "If he does get in, it will be exciting to watch."

But can Subban handle it? He might be NHL-ready; if he plays, we'll find out of he's Stanley Cup Playoffs-ready.

"There obviously is a huge difference, but with being at home it gives us an opportunity to control the changes and control who is out there in what situations," Gorges said. "He's a guy that can handle his own. His skating ability makes him able to recover better than most."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl




View More