So P.K. Subban won the Norris Trophy as the National Hockey League's best defenceman. Does this really surprise anyone? Certainly not yours truly.
Sure, Subban is still trying to escape the shadow of his previous misgivings, but by and large, P.K. was the best rearguard in the league at both ends of the ice. His offensive prowess cannot be reproached, and his aptitude for timely, bone-crushing hits, along with his ability to effectively manage the defensive zone was surely evident to all the love the game of hockey.
Has Subban learned his lesson, or is it feasible that we may see the cocky P.K. of old next season? In my opinion, the simple fact that he selflessly attributed much of his success to his team in his acceptance speech, while saying nothing about himself or his effort on the ice, speaks volumes towards his maturation over the past few months.
The credit for that titbit of work not only lies with Subban, but with Canadiens' General Manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien. You may think I'm off my rocker in mentioning Therrien, who is widely thought of as a bit of a hot-head, but having witnessed his coaching abilities in the QMJHL, as well as the work he did in pacifying an exuberant Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, his influence is undeniable.
Suffice it to say that P.K. has definitely earned himself a substantial pay raise in his next contract negotiations. And while most pundits may believe that Bergevin made a mistake in signing Subban to his most recent "bridge" contract, the Habs' GM did what was right. He put the ball in P.K.'s court and let him decide his own future.
Either way, Bergevin wins. He either resigns Subban to a long-term deal himself, or he can wait until the season is up to see what other GMs deem P.K.'s value to be. I don't see it even getting close to the latter before number 76 is resigned, but stranger things have happened in this town in recent years.
Needless to say, not too shabby for the #43 pick in the 2007 NHL entry draft.
In just two games in the Stanley Cup finals, we've seen fantastic goaltending, great pace, highlight reel goals and four overtime periods. While it doesn't do much for my efficiency in my day job, this series is certainly providing an exemplary level of entertainment.
While much of #PlanetHabs hates...no, loathes the Boston Bruins, there is no denying their right to represent the Eastern Conference in the finals. Having struggled mightily against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they managed nothing short of a miracle in beating them, then cruised through the lowly New York Rangers, while sweeping the high octane Pittsburgh Penguins. Lead by goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has eclipsed the shadow left behind by Tim Thomas, as well as the KHL line (Krecji, Horton and Lucic), they have been a force to be reckoned with.
The Blackhawks, having beaten their own Achilles' heel in the Detroit Red Wings, were the class of the Western Conference and were the consensus pick to get to the finals. With limited contributions from sniper Marion Hossa and "Captain Serious" Jonathan Toews, they managed to get to this point of the backs of goaltender Corey Crawford, who has silenced his detractors, and the scoring of Patrick Kane.
The Bruins have done a masterful job of neutralizing Toews and Patrick Sharp in two games of the Final so far, and the longer games have gone, the more ineffective Hossa and Kane have become. That's not to say they don't get any scoring chances, but the Beantown Bruisers are built for the long and punishing grind that the Finals demand.
I picked Boston to win the series in seven games, and by all indications so far, that's the direction we are heading in. However, if I can ask one thing from both sides...
...SAVE THE LONG OT GAMES FOR THE WEEKEND!!!