It’s probably a longshot.
Randy Cunneyworth didn’t watch L’Antichambre, like I did. That means he didn’t hear Michel Bergeron, François Gagnon and Vincent Damphousse running up one side of P.K. and down the other.
They blamed Subban for the Dustin Jeffrey shorthanded goal that sparked the Pittsburgh comeback.
(Although it was interesting that Cunneyworth blamed that mess on Gomez’s bad positioning. Marc Denis made this point right after the play happened. The RDS analyst didn’t single out Gomez, but Denis said Subban was left with no options.)
The Antichambre gang were particularly exercised about the conversation on the bench between P.K. and Randy Ladouceur, who’s responsible for the defencemen.
It was evidence, they suggested, of Subban’s habit of making excuses and blaming others for his mistakes.
Replaying some things Jacques Martin said on an earlier edition of the show, L’Antichambre made the case that Subban is a talented player who resists coaching and keeps making the same mistakes.
(Right, Jocko. P.K. killed you; and if you could do it all over, you’d play Chris Campoli 25 minutes every night. Putz.)
There’s evidence to support the view that Subban has a low coachability quotient. How many of P.K.’s soft, backhand passes near his net have turned into goals-against this season?
But you know what concerns me more than Subban’s brain cramps?
The tendency, where this kid is concerned, for pundits to pile on. And their criticisms probably resonate in the executive suites of an uptight, ultra-conservative and more-than-a-little paranoid organization.
If I’m an NHL general manager, I’m asking Pierre Gauthier about the availability of P.K. Subban. Because I don’t think he’s an untouchable.
But if my dire premonitions come to pass, here’s another fearless prediction: the future coach and general manager of this troubled team will deeply regret the loss of a supremely talented player.
We can pick apart the loss in Pittsburgh.
We can talk about the bizarre choice of Gomez, with Erik Cole sitting on the bench. But the part of the shootout that neatly encapsulated this crappy season was Andrei Kostitsyn’s SO attempt.
AK46 had a goal and an assist, played a solid game and fully deserved his shootout opportunity.
But how the heck did he break his stick on a wrist shot?
It’s been that kind of season. An ubroken series of mishaps, on and off the ice, from October into the new year.
And there’s more to come, starting Saturday night in Toronto.
The only way for Canadiens fans to retain their sanity is to focus on the future. If Ottawa can turn things around, we can look forward to better days … beginning with Geoff Molson’s choice of a new general manager.
I hope P.K. Subban will be part of the renaissance. With Josh Gorges signed long-term, Alexei Emelin (good aganst the Penguins) and Raphael Diaz learning North American hockey and with Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu and Mac Bennett moving up through the system, the Canadiens have the makings of what most observers thought Bob Gainey had in mind when he drafted Carey Price:
Building a strong team from the goaltender out.
Many unfunny things have happened, however, on the way to turning the Montreal Canadiens of the 00′s into the New Jersey Devils of the 1990s.
Gainey’s plans are in tatters – not least because of the salary cap influence of two former Devils.
And when he’s not Xeroxing his CV, Gauthier is functioning as the ringmaster of the worst clusterf–k in the history of a proud franchise.
Montreal gave the world the Cirque du Soleil, and its hockey team has become a Cirque de la Noirceur – joyless and enshrouded in ever-deepening darkness.
Yeah, I know: They still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs.
And any day now, maybe in Toronto or against Detroit at the Bell Centre on Wednesday, the Canadiens are going to catch fire and start the eight-game winning streak that will lift them back into contention.
With Hal Gill, Chris Campoli and Tomas Kaberle on D.
With Travis Moen on the power play.
With Scott Gomez recapturing the scoring touch that has been MIA since last Feb. 5.
And don’t even think about what the playoff math would be if the Canadiens didn’t have the David Desharnais line.
They’d be trailing Columbus.
But again, let’s not dwell on this miserable season.
As evidenced by what has happened in Ottawa and Florida, teams can turn things around by making sound decisions – like hiring Paul MacLean and Kevin Dineen.
I’m among those who think the next coach of the Canadiens should be blingual, but let me add one more criterion:
Find a guy who can get through to P.K.
It will be worth it.
• Great late-night Tweet from Arpon Basu: Only two teams have fewer wins than the Canadiens: Columbus and Anaheim.