The beat-around-the-bushes way Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin explained why he traded away his best skater Wednesday has invited speculation regarding the off-ice relationship between the Norris-winning P.K. Subban and his former club.
“Yes, P.K.’s different. We’re not going to hide that. But that was never an issue, never a problem,” Bergevin said. “I will not go into detail why we think we are a better team, but we feel we are a better team.”
TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, who follows the Canadiens as closely as anyone, was pressed to provide examples of the off-ice friction between Subban and management during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday night.
Lavoie said the player and management were not at war, they’re just weren’t on the same page.
All due respect to the beast that is Shea Weber, but like many readers, we want to understand why the Habs parted with the younger all-star D-man, the one beloved by the community and the one whose contract carries less term.
Lavoie used this example that might help shed light on the Subban-Bergevin relationship.
On March 3, the Habs were in L.A. pressing for the tying goal when Subban coughed up the puck at the red line to Dwight King. King went in unencumbered and scored, giving L.A. a 3-1 lead and the eventual win. (Note: Subban did score himself in that game.) Watch the play:
Two nights later, in Winnipeg, March 5, another Subban gaffe led to this Mark Scheifele goal:
“There were a couple incidents on the ice where he blew a tire. It happened in Colorado,” Lavoie explained.
“I remember being between the benches in that game in Winnipeg. After P.K. blew a tire and the Jets scored a goal, during a TV timeout, I saw P.K. Subban on the ice and you had Pierre Gervais, who’s responsible for equipment with the Montreal Canadiens, had to go on the ice and tell P.K., ‘There’s no problem with your skate.’ It doesn’t seem like much, but it was kinda showing up the organization, like, ‘Hey, it’s not my fault. My skates are not done the right way.’ Obviously, it’s not a skate problem.”
Remember, the errant spin-o-rama in Winnipeg occurred a couple weeks after the very public callout by coach Michel Therrien in Colorado.
“That incident, you think it’s not much, but at the end of the day, management was not happy at all. At all,” Lavoie said of the Winnipeg loss.
“It’s really that day I said to myself, ‘Uh-oh. Something will happen here.’ “