Michel Therrien praised his “great” relationship with P.K. Subban on Friday, saying the defenseman understands why he was benched during the third period of a 3-1 loss to the Flyers two nights ago.
Subban, the defending Norris winner that was recently named to Canada’s Olympic team, was parked for roughly 10 minutes in the final frame after taking an unnecessary roughing penalty on Sean Couturier, one that drew Therrien’s ire.
“Didn’t like the penalty,” Therrien said, as per NHL.com. “Especially after a scrum – 20 seconds after it. It’s not a hockey play. Not happy.”
Therrien’s usage of Subban has come under fire throughout this season, though he usually bristles whenever the subject is raised (today, he said folks were “making a big story” out of what he saw as nothing.) The ongoing saga has added another layer to Subban’s contract situation, which was already pretty complex.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Subban — a RFA at season’s end — could be asking for between $8-$9 million annually on his new deal, which will likely be long-term. As such, one has to wonder how much longer Therrien can keep trying to flex his muscle, in light of the fact Subban, already one of the NHL’s elite defensemen, could soon carry the additional clout of being one of the league’s highest-paid players.
Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.
“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.
The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.
Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.
The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.
In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.
Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.