To some people, P.K. Subban might be experiencing a “sophomore slump.”
Such criticisms seem fairer for forwards than defensemen, especially ones as young as 22-year-old blueliner Subban. One can equate his struggles with those of Tyler Myers; they’re two youngsters who were asked to play big minutes on somewhat thin rosters rather than develop in more natural increments.*
Of course, the big difference between Subban and Myers is that the former happens to bring a whole lot more heat – from both the media and his opponents – than his nearly Chara-sized counterpart. Subban received a fine for his slew foot on Chris Kunitz and has butted heads with the Montreal Canadiens’ coaching staff as well as teammate Tomas Plekanec.
Some might be worried about these moments but Subban thinks it’s part of the growing process, as he told The Canadian Press.
“I’m young and I’ve made mistakes and I’m going to make more,” Subban said. “The coaching staff have got their work cut out. But hopefully I’ll do more positive things than negative. As long as I’m willing to learn.”
To some, that’s just typical cliched speak, and that might be partially true. Still, if you ask any hockey person, they’ll say that defense presents the steepest learning curve of an position, so Subban deserves some time.
Even if the mistakes never completely leave – an undeniable possibility – that’s simply part of the equation with some attacking blueliners. It’s all about making the good outweigh the bad and the Habs hope that Subban’s pros tower over his cons in the long run.
* – Subban leads the Montreal Canadiens in ice time with almost 24 minutes per game, averaging almost a minute and a half more than second place Josh Gorges.