Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has quickly made his name known around the National Hockey League. He hasn’t done this because of his hard hits, sweet hands, solid defensive play, or precision passing. Rather, the the league is starting to know the young talented Subban for his mouth. Subban has wasted no time getting under the skin of opposing players on all NHL teams.
On opening night against Toronto, Subban didn’t hesitate to start chirping Leafs captain and tough blue liner Dion Phaneuf. The game was very close with the Leafs edging out the Canadiens and the bigger Phaneuf didn’t want to put the first win of the season in danger by engaging with the rookie. Subban has gone on to chirp some of the top players, leaders, and classiest players in the league including Sidney Crosby and most recently Mike Richards.
Obviously Crosby didn’t want anything to do with the incessant trash talking, but Mike Richards took exception to Subban drawing each of them penalties earlier this week. They didn’t fight but, I’m sure someone will be looking to square off against the young trash talker in no time.
P.K. Subban has started his career resembling the NHL’s biggest villain, Sean Avery. Avery has been the centre of scrutiny from all players, coaches, and analysts. Like Subban, Avery is a fast, talented player with a lot of upside. Unfortunately for Avery he decided to start chirping instead of using his speed to become a dangerous winger in the league. Everyone has seen Avery’s antics of talking during the pregame warm up, waving his stick in the face of Martin Brodeur during the playoffs, and just last week sucker punching Oilers defenseman, Ladislav Smid. Avery has earned a reputation around the league as someone who gets under people’s skin and goes too far with the stuff he says. Players around the league have started to say that Avery is a marked man, especially around the Oiler’s locker room.
The last thing that Subban wants is to start getting a reputation like Sean Avery’s and rather get one for his skilled play and offensive abilities. Players like Subban have the skill level to become a top level player in the NHL, but if he starts acting like Avery he will never be more than a grinder and agitator.