I've been accused recently of being in the “PK booster club”, which is funny since I’ve been more critical of P.K. than the norm for a Canadiens fan. I at one point wanted to package him and Andrei Kostitsyn to try to pry Shea Weber out of Nashville.
I’ve been called on the carpet by HockeyInsideOut regulars over my critiques, that I’m too harsh on him, and some members even claim that I ‘hate’ him.
I spent some time this summer re-watching the 2013-14 season 24CH, and one thing I came away with is that, while P.K. doesn’t have the personality we equate with a captain usually, he’s no Bob Gainey or Jonathan Toews or Steve Yzerman, he’s definitely a leader on the team, off the ice as well. He’s a rabble-rouser, a chatter instigator, a willing foil for pranks, but he is a big presence on the team. It does take all kinds to make up a team, and P.K. plays an important role, that a Brian Gionta, for example, couldn’t and shouldn’t undertake.
Another facet which struck me is how money he is. So many episodes recapped how, when the game was on the line, P.K. made the big play, scored the big goal. In real time, I applauded but took it for granted, since he’s on the PP and offensively-gifted. Of course he’ll score the goal, right? If not he who will? But watching 24CH in that concentrated manner, you’re struck by P.K.’s late-game, big-game heroics. And I’d mentally soft-pedaled these.
So my resolution for this season is to, taking Hal Gill’s injunction to heart, “let P.K. be P.K.” I’m not going to try to hold him to the standard of Raymond Bourque or Chris Chelios, I’m going to allow him to be himself, with all his glory and his little foibles. That I’m not going to list here, because that’s not what I’m about any longer. I’m celebrating P.K., not trying to improve him. Anymore. I’m not ruing the contract, the perceived lack of the ‘hometown discount’ that I thought a team player should give, never mind Don Meehan’s advice.
And I want to be clear, I’d arrived at this resolution before yesterday’s announcement of his incredibly generous and meaningful gesture towards Montréal and the province of Québec and Canadian families. This came as a cherry on the sundae. It only strengthens my resolve.
Dustin Tokarski though, if he botches a save or two, I have a feeling he might become my whipping boy, my spiritual scratching post.