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Subban, proud of Norris nod, focused on winning Cup

by Sean Farrell

BROSSARD, Quebec -- P.K. Subban's father is living out a dream with every bit of recognition his famous son receives, including the Montreal Canadiens defenseman's second nomination for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman.

Subban, who won the Norris in 2012-13, was named a finalist Monday with Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.

Subban was two wins short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final last year, and he and his Montreal teammates, including Vezina and Hart trophy nominee Carey Price, again have their sights set on winning the League's biggest trophy.

"It's always great when you get recognized individually, but we've got a lot of players on our team that have had great seasons individually this year," Subban said after practice Wednesday. "When you have a bunch of guys that can put together good seasons, usually the team success is doing well also. But when you look around the League, there's a lot of players who are top of the League in scoring or having great individual years but their teams aren't in the playoffs or doing that well in the standings."

Karl Subban raised his family in Toronto and lives there. The father of five, including Boston Bruins goalie Malcolm Subban and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jordan Subban, has been a Canadiens fan since he discovered hockey in Sudbury, Ontario after he immigrated to Canada from Jamaica with his family as a 12-year-old in 1970.

"I still think he's got to pinch himself sometimes when he sees me putting on the jersey," P.K. Subban said. "I still think sometimes he can't believe that I'm playing for his favorite team. The one thing that my father and trainer say is, 'You've worked hard,' whether it's in the offseason or in-season, to try to make myself a better player. I've always tried to do that. It's great to have individual success but there's nothing more that I want than to have a Stanley Cup. I told [Price], he congratulated me after, I told him, 'We're both going to Vegas but let's get the Cup so we can bring the whole team."

The 2015 NHL Awards will be presented in Las Vegas on June 24.

Montreal advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round with a six-game first-round series win against Ottawa. The Canadiens will host Game 1 on Friday against the winner of Game 7 of the first-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.

Subban scored 15 goals, led the Canadiens with 45 assists, and tied for second in the League for points by a defenseman with 60 (behind Karlsson's 66), all career highs.

Subban had a plus-21 rating and averaged a Canadiens-high 26:12 of ice time and played in all 82 regular-season games for Montreal, which won the Atlantic Division title with a 50-22-10 record.

"For us, our accomplishment is the way we've played all year," Subban said. "When you have a good team and your team's playing that well, you're going to benefit individually from it. This is the best team that I've played on since I've been in Montreal. I've had a lot of individual success because of it."

Subban was named one of Montreal's four alternate captains this season a month after he signed an eight-year, $72 million contract extension. He is signed through the 2021-22 season, and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said the organization made a sound investment.

"He's getting better as he's getting more mature because you get exposed more as a defenseman when you make a mistake, because obviously it's either going to be a goal or a scoring chance," Bergevin said. "So there's a lot of confidence, a lot of reading the play and little details with sticks, taking lanes away, not letting pucks behind you, having the slide at the right time. I think his sliding has improved so much more since we've been here, the way he times it, and those are all things that take time to develop and P.K. is obviously being rewarded because he's been nominated again."

Andrei Markov said he has fun playing alongside Subban and believes there is more upside to his defense partner's game.

"I think he still has room to improve," Markov said. "In my opinion, you never stop to improve yourself. That's the second time he's been nominated for the Norris Trophy, so that's pretty good."

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