Here’s a gold-medal challenge for Montreal hockey fans.
Can we find it in our hearts – and, more to the point – our minds to just STFU about the supposed Subban snub in Sochi?
Let’s give the griping a rest until at least until 2018.
Here’s the bottom line: Canada won the Olympic hockey tournament. And the team was dominant in doing so.
En route to gold, Canada allowed three goals against in six games and never trailed. The run included shutout wins over the favoured U.S. and the admittedly offensively-challenged Swedes.
Whom would you have benched in favour of Subban?
Certainly none of the Top Six defencemen. They were impeccable throughout the tournament.
Poor Carey Price. After five games with Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Marc-Edourd Vlasic and Duncan Keith, Price has to come back and play behind Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin and Douglas Murray.
Would P.K. have brought something the seventh defenceman, Dan Hamhuis, didn’t. That’s tough to gauge, since Hamhuis didn’t play a shift against the U.S. and only 1:04 in the gold medal game.
Mike Babcock’s work in Sochi was beyond reproach. Canada’s head coach and his staff got great defensive hockey – and just enough goals to win – from a lineup of superstars who played as a cohesive, highly disciplined and intelligent team.
How many odd-man rushes or quality scoring chances did Price face?
How many bad penalties did Canada take?
And lest the crusty old coach be accused of hard-heartedness, Babcock was sentimental enough to give Martin St. Louis 11 shifts against Sweden.
And the future Hall of Famer delivered – as did everyone on the Team Canada roster.
Looking back over six games, you could nitpick lacuna here and there. But even the snakebit forwards kept skating and working – and how great was it to see Chris Kunitz finally score?
Canadiens fans should bag the whining about P.K. and focus on the big takeaway from this tournament:
Carey Price was brilliant.
A goals-against average of 0.59. A save percentage of .972.
Yeah, I’ll take those numbers for the rest of the NHL season and playoffs.
Fearless predictions: Price will be lights-out down the stretch for the Canadiens.
And P.K. Subban will play.