Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Guy Lafleur speaks his mind about P.K. Subban

Poor Len Canayen here. Walt has asked me to take a "work break" from my summer vacation to say something about the possibility that my beloved Montréal Canadiens might get rid of my less beloved P.K.Subban before his no-trade clause kicks in at the end of June. (See "Snoop Dog vs P.K. Subban... next year???" WWW 4/6/16.)

Not a word, not even a rumour has emanated from le Centre Bell following stories in Canada's Postmedia that the Edmonton Oilers were putting together a package with which to tempt Habs' GM Marc Bergevin. My own speculation is rooted less in inside knowledge than in wishful thinking.

But there's one positive to be taken from the Canadiens" dismal season. At least people -- even diehards like the cheerleaders at the Montreal Gazette -- are now willing to concede that something has to be done with the alleged defence star. Either trade him or find a way to make him put the team ahead of his own self. See "Parsing the Montréal Canadiens end-of-season press conference" WWW 14/4/16.

Some suggestions along the latter lines were made by one of the last of the legendary Flying Frenchmen, Guy Lafleur, who cast a few pearls on his way through le Centre Bell yesterday to the annual Prix d'excellence Guy-Lafleur. Richard Labbé, writing in La Presse, summed up M Lafleur's advice to his former team as follows:

Si le Canadien veut se remettre à gagner, il doit ajouter du punch offensif, et peut-être aussi demander à P.K. Subban de baisser un peu le ton.
My stylish translation: If the Canadiens want to regain their winning ways, they have to add some offensive punch, and maybe also ask P.K. Subban to tone it down a bit.

What follows is my version of the words attributed by M Labbé to M Lafleur. I hope neither of them will mind. If you want to read the version originale, click here.

These things take time. I'm certain that the Canadiens organization realizes that it's necessary to make changes to arrive at the quality of play we're seeing at the moment [in the Stanley Cup finals]. It's necessary to be patient, and not make changes just for the fun of it. We've heard the recent rumours. Is P.K. going to be traded? He's a very talented player, but no-one knows the answer.

A flamboyant guy like that, in our time, I think he would have been taken a hit with a stick behind his head! He would have been put back in his place quick enough!

Every player has his way of getting himself up for a game. P.K.'s the same. But me, I don't know. It seems that in his place I'd have found another way without annoying the others....

I was with Yvan Cournoyer in the corridor of the Bell Centre before a match, just before the warmup. P.K. was there, talking really loudly, hyperactive. I thought he needed some Ritalin! And Yvan looked at me and said, "Lucky he didn't play in our time. He wouldn't have hard the nerve." But he's like that.

He likes the glamour and playing to the crowd. He's made like that. But for me, it's not that which is important. What's important is to get into top shape before the September training camp.

Will P.K. Subban still be in Montréal when the Canadiens' training camp opens in the fall? Will he learn to control himself and remember that he's only one guy out of two dozen? Will he stop being himself? Tune in tomorrow when we hear Marc Bergevin say [We're out of space. Ed.]

1 comment:

  1. PK Subban's best freinds are on the team. The others are close teamates. If they have a problem with one another they'll sort it out themselves.

    Everything else is just cantankerous old men complaining about a personality they don't like. Personally, I can't stand Lafleur and never have liked him. In terms of public persona, at least pk has the good sense to always be humble and courtios. Something Lafleur never learned.