Sunday, July 03, 2016


Please Pass Me your Program!

Please Pass Me Your Program!

Once the 2016-2017 NHL regular season gets underway, we will need a program to identify the players on the ice. Once the dust settles following the trades and drafts from the last week, team owners will have spent millions of dollars in the quest for the holy grail of hockey.

I am referring, of course, to the Stanley Cup. The same one that now resides in Pittsburgh. Had you forgotten? In order to place that mug in your trophy case, you need to get your house in order, with just the right amount of all of those things from the hockey world that make up the perfect lineup.


The hockey world was rocked in Montreal last week with the trade of P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. It was completely unexpected by the fans. Team executives, on the other hand, have been working feverishly behind the scenes to move the former Belleville Bull.


P.K. spent four years with the Bulls, also the junior hocky home for both of his brothers. For those of us who attended games, the Subbans were a familiar sight at the local arena. We have watched the Subban kids grow, and enter the world of professional sport. P.K. has advanced far more quickly that the other boys, gaining All Star status, winning all kinds of accolades, including the Norris Trophy as the best defenceman in the league.

He endeared himself to the fans in Montreal. He donated several million dollars to a local hospital. He charmed the locals with that great warm smile. He played with a panache that has not been seen at the Bell Centre in years. He could shoot the puck, make great passes, took guff from no one.

We entertained two of my Montreal nephews on Canada Day. Once I broached the topic, we had lively conversations. Stephane Lecours and his brother Michael are Hab fans, unquestionably. Michael’s initial reaction to the trade? “It was completely unexpected. Time will tell whether or not it was a good trade. Weber’s salary is less that P.K.’s, and the contract is shorter. But he is also older than P.K.”

Stephane had some ideas about how Weber can endear himself to the rabble in La Belle Province. “If he can score three goals in the first five minutes of his first game, all will be forgiven.” I began to understand his pain, at that point.

P.K. and the management of the team did not always get along. More than anything, his style of play could drive a coach insane. He took chances, and things did not always work out as planned. With his acrobatic spin-o-ramas, he could cough up the puck at very wrong times. Habs G. M. Bergevin: “Yes, P.K.’s different. We’re not going to hide that.  But that was never an issue, never a problem.” I suggest reading between the lines.

This is one of those trades that needs time before intense analysis. I suspect it will work out well for both sides. As for the rest of the moves made by the brass of the NHL, plan to spend a day with your hockey encyclopedia.

James Hurst

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