Subban: ‘It’s like what Michael Jordan said…’

Matt Barnes

An interview with P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens defenceman, 24

Will Canada win Olympic gold?
Ha. I always look at it this way: You try to create your own luck. I’m not big on making predictions or giving anybody headlines.

Wait, you think I’m looking for a headline?
No, but people always ask me, “Do you think you’re gonna win?” Obviously, as Team Canada, we wanna win. I want a gold medal. I don’t have one.

Were you expecting so much talk about whether or not you should be on this team?
I’ve said it so many times, and I have a feeling I’m gonna have to continue to say it: I’m not going to voice my opinion on what other people think. Listen, I play in the NHL. I’ve been selected to play for my country, and that’s all that matters. I choose not to listen to the other noise.

That’s fair. But the point is, you’re a polarizing player and people are really passionate about you. What’s that like?
I’m happy to hear that people are passionate about something. I take it as a compliment. Michael Jordan once said, “They don’t boo nobodies. They don’t talk about nobodies.”

What’s the most important thing you bring to Team Canada?
Versatility. Whatever’s asked of me, I’m ready to do. The same can probably be said for everyone on Team Canada, because we understand that a lot of great players left off the team would die to be here.

You’ve said Carey Price is the best goalie in the world.
Yep, and you know what, I stand by my point. Carey’s definitely proven that he can be the No. 1 goalie. But in Canada it’s such a strong position. I’m just happy I don’t have to make the decision.

Will you and Price bring back the triple-low-fives? [Their post-game celebration, which was banned by Canadiens coach Michel Therrien]
[Laughs] I don’t know about that. Who knows what could happen if we win.

What’s it like when you go out in Montreal? Do people buy you drinks and ask for wrist-shot tips.
Ha. There’s always small chatter. I’m a pretty personable guy, so I’ll never shy away from a fan that wants to ask me a question or even introduce themselves. The fans in Montreal are great. They always wait until I finish eating until they ask questions, so that’s always nice.

Is it true you eat steak for breakfast?
Yeah, I try to eat it as much as I can. Definitely in the summers when I’m training, it’s either steak or chicken.

Your trainer said you get fat if you eat too many carbs.
Yep, that’s true.

Did you rip him for calling you out?
No, he’s right. I get fat if I eat too many carbs. It’s just the way my body is, so I gotta watch the carbs. If you see me out eating, just say, “Hey, P.K., lay off the carbs!”

Does anyone call you by your full name, Pernell Karl?
Ha. Not that I know of, no.

Not even your parents?
Nobody really calls me that.

Any questions you’re tired of getting from media?

You know what, people always say, “Oh, he must hate the media.” I have a great relationship with the media in Montreal. My critics in Montreal are just as critical of my teammates and of our organization; it’s not like they’re singling me out. In terms of questions—questions about what? About me making Team Canada, about my game, or my character…?

About your contract?
No. That’s a part of being, in my opinion, a difference-maker in a market like Montreal. There’s always going to be a microphone in your face.

Depending on what building you’re in, there’s a lot of noise every time you touch the puck. Do you hear it?
Not really, ’cause I’m more focused on the five guys on the other team who are trying to take my head off when I get the puck. Sometimes when I stop behind the net I can hear it, just because I’m opening up my ears to my teammates. I’ve gotten kind of used to it now. I expect it in certain buildings.

Does the criticism drive you?
No, I don’t need anybody to add fuel to my fire. I’m not willing to give anybody that credit.

This story originally appeared in Sportsnet magazine. Subscribe here.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.