Therrien: Subban ‘understands’ benching vs. Philly

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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.