This is part of Nashville Predators day at PHT…
Maybe Michel Therrien and P.K. Subban got along well as people – despite speculation otherwise – but they sure seemed to be of two very different hockey mindsets.
You never know how things will play out in reality, but on paper, Subban and Peter Laviolette seem like an almost impossibly good match.
Consider how Laviolette explained his mindset back when he was hired in 2014:
“Everywhere I’ve been, I think guys want to work, generally speaking,” Laviolette said, as the Tennessean reported. “They want to work, they want to play hard. Given the choice, they would rather attack.”
GM David Poile noted his aggressive, offense-minded strategies.
When the Predators traded Shea Weber for Subban, Laviolette said all the right things about each blueliner, yet he also painted a picture to the Canadian Press of P.K. seamlessly fitting into his attacking system.
“I think they’re both elite defencemen,” Laviolette said. “P.K., I think when people might talk about him it would be his skating, the fact that he transport the puck himself, the fact that he can distribute the puck, he’s constantly in motion.”
Boy, “constantly in motion” sure seems like the right mindset for someone playing in an aggressive, attacking system, doesn’t it?
Much like with Erik Karlsson, Subban is the type of defenseman who makes a ton of plays, with a small percentage of those moments going the other way in the form of mistakes.
Many onlookers – and coaches – fixate on the gaffes while arguably losing sight of the bigger picture for a player like Subban. That certainly seemed to be the case during Therrien’s moments of exasperation.
On the other hand, Laviolette generally exhibits quite a bit of patience for the give-and-take that comes with pushing the envelope.
(His patience is a little thinner for passive systems like, say, the 1-3-1 trap.)
Subban currently boasts three straight 50+ point seasons, with his 60th from 2014-15 representing his career-high. It’s conceivable that he could accomplish that much or even more in Laviolette’s system, which should fit him like a glove.
And give opponents fits.