Michel Therrien does it again! He damns P.K. Subban with faint praise

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,
Michel Therrien. Courtesy of RDS.

Michel Therrien. Courtesy of RDS.

Well it looks like L’Affaire Subban is being taken to a new level. Brian Wilde kick-started the discussion Friday on the CTV site and now comes influential La Presse columnist Philippe Cantin who has penned an explosive piece today titled Le jeu dangereux de Therrien. (It’s not online yet.)

Cantin essentially makes the same points as Wilde, Jack Todd and this humble hockey blogger – that Michel Therrien is playing with fire by refusing to praise P.K. Subban and by singling him out as the scapegoat for losses.

But that’s not why I’m writing this blog this morning. It’s Therrien’s comments to Cantin that have me seeing red. After all the ink spilled about Therrien’s lack of enthusiasm for his Norris Trophy winning defenseman, the kindly ol’ coach does it again. He damns his superstar with faint praise.

Here’s my translation of the quotes in the Cantin column.

“I really believe in P.K.,” he said. “Ever since I got the job, I have said that I was anxious to work with P.K. He’s a thoroughbred. And with a thoroughbred, you have to guide him, because he’s going to win you races. Over the past year-and-a-half, he’s progressed. We believe that we’ll bring his game to another level. And we’ve shown in the past that we’re there to help him.

“Our relationship? Coaching is coaching. You have to get the maximum out of your players. I am very aware of his talent and I know exactly where this guy is capable of going. And we’re using the means to get him there. It’s a challenge that any coach would want to have.”

Frankly I’m floored.

Let’s go through this phrase by phrase.

First-off, can I wonder aloud about the wisdom of comparing Subban to a race-horse who has to be guided? He is an elite athlete, one of the best in the National Hockey League. And he’s progressed? I mean could you be more condescending? And we’re GOING to take him to another level? The key here is the future tense. Michel, I have a news flash for you – Subban has already won the Norris. He was the best D-man in the league last season.

Same thing later in the quote – ‘I know exactly where this guy is capable of going.’ And it’s a challenge for Therrien.

The whole thing is just so condescending. Therrien couldn’t be more clear – my challenge is to use my supersonic coaching skills to take this young thoroughbred and really turn him into a great player.

The problem? Subban is already a superstar and you’re not. I hate to be so rough but this is really out of hand. You have the best skater to lace-up for the Habs since Lafleur and he’s having his cojones busted on a daily basis by a coach who has never won anything in this league.

Sounds to me like it’s time for Marc Bergevin to step in here and sort this mess out.


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