Last season, the Habs watched Subban make the 2017 Stanley Cup Final during his first season with the Nashville Predators. Barring some absolutely staggering changes of fortune, it looks like Nashville will make another playoff run while the Canadiens will watch the NHL playoffs on TV with the rest of us.
Heck, the Predators couldn’t even throw the Canadiens a bone on Saturday, as a rowdy Montreal crowd saw Nashville win 3-2 in a shootout.
After the game, Brendan Gallagher clearly wasn’t happy about all the attention Subban was drawing … which essentially generated more attention for Subban.
You can see Gallagher’s full comments in the video above this post; he said “I don’t know why you’re asking about him” and mentioned Nashville’s other “elite” players, getting a jab in on Subban being a -1 in the game. He went further and said the sort of things that probably explain why the Canadiens (foolishly) traded the star defenseman.
This is the sort of feud that makes hockey more fun, but it feels like Subban almost has the Patrick Roy-ish fuel of team success to throw in Gallagher’s face, even if P.K.’s ears can’t be plugged by two championship rings.
When discussing the chatter between the two sides, Subban said “I’m sure it’s pretty quiet over there now” with the Predators getting the two points.
The Athletic’s Arpon Basu reports (sub required) that Gallagher’s beefing comments rank as some of the most frank statements Canadiens have made about Subban, at least in public.
No one from the Canadiens has ever come out and put that notion in such plain terms as Gallagher did Saturday, and that’s largely because the Canadiens have avoided talking about Subban at all costs ever since the June 29, 2016, trade. That silence, that unwillingness to discuss it, spoke volumes. But words are always more impactful.
You didn’t need to witness the post-game comments to see things heat up at times. You could see it when Gallagher was mouthing off after opening the scoring, and collecting his 20th goal of the season:
The hit Subban was speaking of happened here:
It’s worth noting that it’s clear that Subban had plenty of pals in the Montreal locker room, too, as you can see from him visiting with the likes of Carey Price and Alex Galchenyuk. (Aside: it’s still sort of funny that Galchenyuk is called “Chucky.”)
Here’s the thing about all of this: while it’s spicy fun for onlookers – this feels a lot like a high school squabble where the true winners are the audience members – it sure feels like sour grapes from Gallagher, who deserves credit for generating a strong season during a generally miserable one for Montreal.
While Subban is distinguishing himself on the ice (his team looks promising and he’s generating Norris buzz) and off of it (Subban’s sparkling personality made him an All-Star delight, not to mention his fantastic work for charities), the Canadiens are languishing with serious questions about their future direction. Maybe Subban’s personality rubbed some players the wrong way, yet can you really float superior chemistry when your team is plummeting down to mediocrity?
It seems like a feud Gallagher (and maybe the Canadiens as a whole) are bound to lose, but hey, we’ll take a little drama in a sport that often removes the sizzle from the steak.