Sitting P.K. Subban A Big Mistake By Team Canada

P.K. Subban will be a healthy scratch once again today when Team Canada takes on Finland in the final Preliminary Round game of the Winter Olympics.

The reigning Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, sat out the opening game against Norway, but was dressed when Canada defeated Austria 6-0. Subban played 11:41 in that game and was solid, yet unspectacular and may not get another chance in the tournament.

Coming into the Olympic Games, it was thought that Subban’s speed and skill made him a perfect candidate to play a huge role on the big ice in Sochi, Russia. However, it turns out the Canadian coaching contingent is more comfortable with defensive specialists Dan Hamhuis and Marc Edouard Vlasic in the lineup.

What has played against Subban in this tournament is the fact his offensive game is his strongest asset and Canada has received plenty of offense from the blue line without him. Right handed defenders Shea Weber and Drew Doughty have each scored a pair of goals and three points in the opening two games of the tournament.

Also not in his favor is that Mike Babcock has made it very clear he does not want a defenseman playing his off side.If Subban were to move to the left side, he would be well ahead of Jay Bouwmeester, Vlasic and Hamhuis. However, this is not an option, so circumstance has Subban on the outside watching the game today.

I can see why Doughty and Weber would be ahead of Subban on a depth chart. They bring size, skill, experience and are as good offensively as they are defensively. Then there is Alex Pietrangelo on the third pairing, but Canada refuses to split him and St. Louis Blue partner Bouwmeester so Subban can’t get into the top six at all.

I am not saying this makes sense, I am just pointing out what is going on. What makes the least sense of all however, is dressing Hamhuis as your seventh defender instead of P.K. Hamhuis is a shutdown defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, but has struggled recently, and I can’t foresee a situation where he will be used in this tournament.

Feb 1, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Daniel Briere (48) celebrates his goal against Tampa Bay Lightning with teammate defenseman P.K. Subban (76) during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Even strength it is clear that Hamhuis is the 7th guy, probably 8th when Canada is on a power play, considering Patrick Sharp plays the point on the man advantage. When Canada is shorthanded, their top two pairings would be Duncan Keith with Weber and Vlasic with Doughty. Even Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo were used ahead of Hamhuis while down a man against Norway.

So why bother dressing him if he will never factor into the lineup?

Subban admittedly would not be used on this team in shorthanded situations. At even strength he could be trusted to play with anyone and we all know he needs no audition for the power play. Subban’s 39 points with the Montreal Canadiens this season places himahead of Weber and Doughty, and his 19 power play points are the most by any Canadian defenseman.

Where Subban would prove invaluable in this tournament is if Canada finds themselves down a goal in a third period. In this case there would be no time for Vlasic or Bouwmeester or Hamhuis, but a top four of Keith-Weber and then Subban-Doughty would create offensive chances on nearly every shift.

If they are down a goal late in a game and don’t want to use Subban, they still have an amazing top six that can shut down any team in this tournament, without a need for Hamhuis.

Maybe Canada’s coaching staff will come to their sense and get Subban into the lineup during the Medal Round. However, it looks right now that they have ignored overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and decided to go ahead without the defending Norris Trophy winner.

Tags: 2014 Winter Olympics Montreal Canadiens P.K. Subban

  • Snake

    Seabrook > Subban. Would have been way more confident in a champion being there as opposed to some loose cannon like PK.

    • Link677

      Some loose cannon? come on man, i’m a Bruins fan, and I hate this guy because he is so damn good, I would take him here with Chara in less than a heartbeat. He can create chaos in the offensive zone by himself and i’ve seen him do it enough over the years.

      I think Canada is screwing up badly not playing him as the 7th man, to use on the PP, to use in OT, to use when you need a goal in the 3rd and the crosby line is out.

      • Kenny MacMillan

        I wouldn’t call him a loose cannon, but I do see the merit in bringing a guy who won last time like Seabrook as well. However, Subban deserves to be here and should definitely be dressed as the 7th guy. When the team needs a goal it would be nice to let Subban’s cannon loose.

  • candy

    They are not letting him play because he’s BLACK. I’m NOT playing the “race card”. It’s the truth!!

    I hope Canada DO NOT WIN ANY MEDAL in men hockey!!

    • Dominic

      I start to agree on the racial point. I never wanted to view it this way. Is Subban so disturbing because of his skin color?

  • Mitch

    So damn stupid there not playing P.K. He so good. I’m canadian and team canada are fucking idiots for this. I hope the coaching staff and organization learns a good lesson. Pure idiots.

    • Kenny MacMillan

      Hopefully they dress his for the Medal Round when the games really matter

  • Gary

    Oh well. Doughty was an after thought in the last Olympics, and didn’t play much at all. 4 years later he’s looking like the early candidate for tournament MVP. Subban May had a similar story when history is written.

    • Kenny MacMillan

      This is true, from a Habs point of view, Subban should be a much better NHL player just from the experience he is gaining being on this team. Whether he plays or not, he can learn a lot from guys like Keith and Weber.
      Thanks a lot for reading everybody!

  • DON

    I thought racism only existed south of the border. Guess i was wrong. Babcock cant even get 2 players to play with Sid. P K has one of the best shots in the NHL, and he s sitting because Babcock doesn t want to upset the Karma of the team? Oh I don t doubt we ll win the next game, but if Pk doesn t play, I doubt we will win a gold. Hell we have what….10 goals against 3 mediocre teams, where as the last olympics we were filling the net with that many against 1 team. I have a hard time cheering for my own country when our coach is so biased..ITS JUST SAD TRYING TO CHEER FOR YOUR COUNTRY WHEN THE COACING IS SOOOO BAD.

    • Brian

      then dont, cheer for your team we dont need you

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  • Jasiah Schaaf

    Exactly he if the best fucking defencemen in the leage and just couse he’s black they didn’t play him

  • Dennis

    Subban might be good but they have better players on the team.
    sounds like white people playing the race card.