With his beloved Montreal Canadiens out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Paulo Branco is putting his public support behind P.K. Subban.
The owner of the popular Montreal sports bar Chez Serge has changed the name of his establishment to Chez Subban for as long as Subban and the Nashville Predators are playing this season.
"P.K. has always been a super class act," Branco told NHL.com. "He's an amazing person, and he's a fantastic hockey player -- my favorite player. I want to send him the love he deserves from the city."
Subban, a defenseman who was selected by the Canadiens in the second round (No. 43) of the 2007 NHL Draft and played his first six seasons in Montreal, was traded to Nashville for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29. The trade has split fans in Montreal, with many still passionately rooting for Subban even though he's no longer on the team.
But since the Canadiens were eliminated by the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Saturday, Montreal has jumped aboard the Subbandwagon. Branco had his new sign up by Thursday and is hopeful locals will flock to his bar to watch the Predators in the playoffs. Nashville leads the St. Louis Blues 1-0 in the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series entering Game 2 on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
"People are reacting very positively to this," Branco said. "Everybody wants P.K. to win. The [Canadiens] are out, and P.K. is very close to Montrealers."
Subban, who had one goal and two assists in Nashville's 4-3 win in Game 1, was shown the picture of the bar's new sign after the Predators' morning skate Friday, and his trademark big smile came out right away.
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"That is awesome," he told LNH.com Senior Managing Editor Arpon Basu. "It's pretty cool. Montreal was like my second home for a long time. It just shows a lot of respect. I always go back to Montreal, I have so many friends there and family. So it'll be interesting. I'll have to stop by for lunch when I get there this summer."
Subban wasn't sure if he had ever been to the bar that now bears his name before, but said he'll be sure to stop in during the summer.
"I think I have [been there]," he said, "but if I haven't I'll definitely have to visit now."
Branco is eagerly awaiting Subban's visit and hopes he'll bring the Stanley Cup with him.
"There's a lot of love going his way," Branco said. "He's a great man and a great player, and the city misses him. We love our team, and we love our guy, and if he wants to bring the Cup to the bar, I'd be more than happy to have him."