297. That’s the number of days P.K. Subban went between his last game of the 2011-12 campaign and finally re-signing with the Montreal Canadiens.
Between the lockout and his personal fight for a contract as a restricted free agent, it’s been a long process that ended on Monday with a two-year, $5.75 million agreement.
“I’d say ‘difficult’ is an understatement. It was extremely tough to watch as a player,” Subban said in a Canadiens’ report. “The toughest was watching the home opener and watching all the great players who have come through the Montreal organization and helped build this franchise.
“They’ve put in place that mentality that the Montreal Canadiens are a family and a team. That’s the most important thing about the Montreal Canadiens.”
Now he can finally put this all behind him and the healing process can begin. Winning back his teammates isn’t likely to take much work, but winning back some of the fans might be another story.
“I think about the fans all the time; I see them in my dreams,” Subban said. “I admire the fans and the support and the relationship we have. Obviously right now my focus needs to be on the team and that’s all I can control.
“With this process, I understand everybody will have their opinion, but I’m just looking forward to helping my team win. Everyone likes to see the Montreal Canadiens win.”
With that in mind, the big question will be how long it will take before Subban makes his season debut. He missed training camp, but has spent three-and-a-half hours a day training with the OHL Mississauga Steelheads. Even still, it would be surprising if Subban played tonight, especially seeing as the Canadiens are riding a three-game win streak going into their contest against the Winnipeg Jets.
“I’m always ready to play,” Subban said. “I’m ready to go whenever Marc and Michel Therrien give me the green light.”
This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.
The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.
(Watch that goal in the video above.)
It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.
Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.
To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.
The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.
As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.
Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.
The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)
At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.
At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.
These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.
In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.
” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”
Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.
In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.
The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.
Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:
—Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6
—Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee
—Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason
—Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5