MONTREAL- OCTOBER 13: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre on October 13 2010 in Montreal Quebec Canada. The Lightning defeated the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
With Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov lost to injury, Subban has been an anchor on the Canadiens blueline. A brief benching in December seemed to him pick up his game, and the well deserved All-Star exposure should give the rest of the fans around the leaguereally good look at what this kid can do.
The down side, is how Subban is going to Raleigh this weekend. He was not an initial selection for the rookie squad, and only got his ticket because the Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle will not be going, and the Carolina Hurricanes Jeff Skinner was upgraded to play in the All-Star game on Sunday.
Is it an effort by the NHL to atone for all the negative criticism the Habs rookie has received from veterans in the league, while at the same time fixing the mistake of not selecting him to begin with?
This season's rookie crop has had a solid group of defensemen, and Subban was 4th in TOI and points amongst freshman rearguards before Wednesday's games began. Yet oddly enough he wasn't originally chosen, and neither was the Washington Capitals John Carlson.
Meanwhile, the 2nd overall pick in last year's Entry Draft, Tyler Seguin, is not exactly having an impact rookie season, yet was selected to go to Raleigh. The Florida Panthers Evgeny Dadonov is another who seems to be an odd inclusion, but makes it in solely as the team's only representative. I'm sure both Bruins and Panthers fans will beg to differ, but compared to other forwards they don't seem All-Star rookie level.
I'm honestly not much of a fan of the All-Star game, especially since the league has turned it into a massive NBA-like cash grab opportunity, but it would be nice if the NHL would make a better effort of putting the right players in when it comes to making their decisions. It is getting better by limiting the fans voting to avoid the online voting disaster of 2009.
The failure to include Subban in the initial rookie selection though proves that the NHL frowns on a more flashy and on-ice NFL like swagger from their players, especially the rookies. Perhaps someone in the league hierarchy came to their senses and added him, remembering how Alex Ovechkin's antics during the skills competition in 2009 was a highlight of that year's attraction.
As the Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs noted today on Twitter, "he (Subban) can prove to all there that he's an engaging, funny kid." Hopefully he can do just that and make the rest of the league, and the Craig Rivet and Mike Richards of the world, realize that a kid with his attitude can do nothing more than make the league a better one.
No practice after Tuesday loss: The Habs elected to just start fresh after the All-Star Break and chose not to hold a practice after Tuesday's 4-2 humiliation at the hands of the Philidelphia Flyers. Maybe a wise move by Jacques Martin as it seems the team was already on vacation before the end of the first period, so a practice would be rather unproductive.
White back to the Bulldogs: The Canadiens returned forward Ryan White to the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) on Wednesday.
Boyd does the trick: Dustin Boyd scored three goals in the Bulldogs 3-0 win over the Manitoba Moose Wednesday afternoon. Boyd now has 14 goals, and no assists, in 17 games since being sent down by the Habs earlier this season. Curtis Sanford made 31 saves for his fifth shutout of the season. Alexander Avtsin had two assists as 10,270 took in the game at Copps Coliseum for the Bulldogs first ever school day game.