PK Subban has found himself a lot of supporters since being benched the in the final minute of a 3-2 loss in Colorado last month.
It was his turnover that led to the Jerome Iginla game losing goal, prompting head coach Michel Therrien to sentence Subban to a rear end full of splinters, and causing one of the biggest uproars in Montreal since the Richard Riot.
Two things have been notable about that day: How PK has handled himself off the ice, and how he’s handled himself on it.
Subban has been an absolute class act since then. Not that this is any
different from how he is all the time. He’s a solid ambassador for the game and a good role model. But where he’s shined before in front of the cameras, as of late he’s been dazzling.
He’s been supportive of his team mates and his organization, and while he hasn’t exactly endorsed Therrien, he’s very effectively diffused a potentially franchise ruining situation.
I have more respect for him now than I ever have.
How he’s handled himself on the ice isn’t as important, but it’s definitely more interesting.
In the first 5 games of the year, Subban had 4 assists and was a +7. The team went 5-0. In the 5 games after the 9-0 streak, The Habs went 2-2-0-1. Subban had just 2 assists and an even plus/minus. The main thing is that in every game, he was a huge factor. Here’s how.
In the first five games, Subban was only even in one and he was more than +1 twice. In that second stretch of five games after the streak, he was never an even, and was more than +1 or -1 three times.
Basically, in those 10 games early on he was a plus/minus of even in only 10% of those games, and was more than 1 either way in 50% of them. Win or lose, he had something to do with it.
Just before Christmas, that pretty much stopped. Now working off the fateful Colorado game either way, in the five games up to and including that game, Subban had 3 assists, but was a plus/minus of even. The Canadiens record was 1-3-0-1 in that stretch. In the five games after being benched he again had 3 assists, and was again a plus/minus of even, yet the team went an exact opposite of 3-1-0-1.
Oddly enough, in that stretch of ten games Subban was even in four of them, or 40%. He was more than + or – 1 in ZERO games, or 0%. Lose 6-2? PK was -1. Win 5-1? He’s +1. Statistically speaking, he’s been an absolute non-factor. He’s not sucking, but he’s not producing either.
This kind of sheds light on the main argument against the benching. Why sit the best player of all people? Why punish the only one trying to make things happen?
Was the Therrien benching decision the right thing to do? That’s debatable. Was the timing poor? Absolutely. Has it been effective? On Subban It appears not(the team is doing better though). But did he try and set an example with the right guy? Statistically speaking, Subban was as good a choice as anyone else.