P.K. Subban,
AP Photo

It’s Montreal Canadiens day at PHT

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An injury to Carey Price essentially meant the beginning of the end to the 2015-16 season for the Montreal Canadiens.

With their No. 1 goalie, their most valuable player, out of the lineup, the Canadiens tumbled down the standings and missed the playoffs. The fan base in Montreal would feel even more frustration in the summer as general manager Marc Bergevin suddenly sent fan-favorite and right-shooting defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for right-shooting defenseman Shea Weber in an absolute blockbuster deal.

Weber is four years older than Subban and under contract until 2026. Subban’s deal expires in 2022.

Subban feels closer to winning a Stanley Cup in Nashville than he did in Montreal. Weber isn’t going to try to be the next P.K. Subban in Montreal. And Bergevin, surely, has been feeling the heat for the controversial trade. Some in the media have called it the worst trade in franchise history. Subban is not only very talented on the ice, but he was popular away from it, too, in the city of Montreal.

Not only did the Habs lose Subban in the deal, but their analytics consultant, Matt Pfeffer, didn’t have his contract renewed because he reportedly disagreed with the trade. Pfeffer later confirmed he made a “passionate” case to keep Subban in Montreal.

The deal occurred on the same day the Edmonton Oilers traded star forward Taylor Hall to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson. Yet, this Subban-Weber trade has provided material for the hockey world to debate and discuss just about every week for two months now. And you can bet that will happen when the season begins.

The Habs also signed forward Alexander Radulov to a one-year deal worth $5.75 million.

This is Radulov’s third stint in the NHL. He’s supremely talented and the Habs could use a player that can score goals. But he’s also been at the center of off-ice disciplinary issues, including a team-imposed suspension for reportedly violating curfew when he was in Nashville.

And getting back to Carey Price: He has been deemed to be 100 per cent healthy heading into the new season, after playing in only 12 games last season with a knee injury.

P.K. Subban basically roasted the Montreal Canadiens tonight

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens speaks with the media during a press availability on June 21, 2016 at the Encore Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 NHL Award Ceremony will by held on June 22 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
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Call it “The Revenge of P.K.” or maybe “The Return of the Triple-Low Five.”

P.K. Subban is hosting an All-Star Comedy Gala to benefit the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation for Just Laughs. He’s also having a lot of fun at the expense of his former team, or at least the Canadiens’ management group.

Video will be added if a clip of his antics becomes available, yet onlookers have done a great job of capturing some of Subban’s best one-liners.

Hey, at least when someone gets roasted, he or she is sitting a big recliner, trying to laugh things off.

One can almost imagine Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien cringing as Subban dropped bomb after bomb:

Ouch, he even took a shot at his former owner’s lager:

To be fair, Subban isn’t the only one slamming the Canadiens for the trade.

Again, he reminded the hockey world that this is a big win for creative celebrations:

Again, though … it IS for a good cause. Don’t forget that as you laugh at the Habs’ expense.

He wasn’t all negative, either:

Stand-up seems like a natural fit for Subban’s personality. Really, it makes you wonder if he might earn a certain hosting gig in the future:

Report: Montreal Canadiens are likely to be sellers at trade deadline

Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien listens to a question during a news conference following an NHL hockey practice in Brossard, Quebec, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Technically, the Montreal Canadiens are a bit closer to the East’s last wild card spot than they are to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the East’s cellar dweller.

The truth is that their situation is still pretty dire, and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that GM Marc Bergevin is likely to sell his rental-friendly players heading into the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

LeBrun believes that a splashier trade would be more likely to come during the summer, yet that doesn’t mean that the Habs won’t sell off an interesting piece or two.

That doesn’t mean there can’t be a big deal in the next 11 days. I think Montreal would listen to many things. But the sense you get from talking to people around the league is that the Habs’ main focus is mostly to get whatever they can for pending unrestricted free agents Dale Weise, Tom Gilbert and Tomas Fleischmann, for example.

To reiterate, as Darren Dreger did in this TSN Insider Trading segment, no one big like P.K. Subban will be moved … and Michel Therrien sounds safe, too.

Maybe the most interesting asset drawing some attention is hard-hitting, often-criticized defenseman Alexei Emelin.

(See this tweet for just one example of how he’s not in high-standing in some circles.)

The problem, LeBrun notes, is that Emelin’s contract boasts a no-movement/no-trade clause, so the Canadiens would have to convince him to waive it (a process that apparently hasn’t happened). There’s no telling that he’d accept such a proposition if they did, either.

Those details are fluid (Lars Eller may also be available, for example), but the broader concept – the Canadiens being a seller rather than trying to buy their way into the playoffs – is likely the wiser approach.

It might hurt to accept that this is almost certainly a lost season for the Habs, but sometimes you have to stomach that bitter pill to make a better shot at contending next time around.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Montreal Canadiens

In this photo taken on Dec. 5, 2014, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) battles for the puck against Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago. Subban's outgoing, over-the-top personality is matched only by his unbridled ability, which have made him a fan-favorite in Montreal, the NHL's highest paid blue-liner and among the league's most talked-about players. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP

It’s a matchup between West and East/hot and cold on Thursday, as the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Canadiens in Montreal.

The Blackhawks go for their ninth consecutive victories tonight, while Joel Quenneville hopes to take sole possession of second all-time in coaching wins, breaking his tie with Al Arbour.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens … just hope to start getting it together, honestly. They’ve only won four games in their last 17 games. Maybe going against one of the NHL’s hottest and most respected could help them get on track?

Whatever the takeaways might be, you can it watch it on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Montreal Canadiens ’15-16 Outlook

150822-Price-Subban
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The Montreal Canadiens feature two of the things you look for in a championship contender: an elite goalie (Carey Price) and an outstanding, versatile defenseman (P.K. Subban).

Management seems pretty even-keeled about the team’s flaws, especially on offense. Perhaps a division title (not to mention league-wide trends of lower scoring) can breed patience/complacency.*

To most people, P.K. Subban (26 years old) and Carey Price (28) still seem enviably fresh-faced, yet it’s important to remember that windows of greatness can close with cruel quickness in sports.

One can reasonably expect goalies to age a bit more gracefully, yet Price would need to stand on his head to top the award-hogging season he generated in 2014-15. Subban may still have some upside even considering his current level of brilliance, but for how long will either one remain elite?

Look, it’s true that the Canadiens boast a ton of players who are in or around their primes. Max Pacioretty is just 26. Alex Galchenyuk could rocket up the charts, as he’s only 21, while Brendan Gallagher could very well pester for more than a decade considering the fact that he’s merely 23. Heck, Alexander Semin isn’t even that old at 31.

Even so, there’s a cut-off point where a slow-and-steady approach risks throwing away the best years of two of the most talented players on the planet.

If the coming 2015-16 season isn’t a pivotal one for GM Marc Bergevin to decide if he has the right supporting cast around Subban and Price – coach included – then it sure should be.

* – Feel free to use whichever word you think applies to Habs’ management.