Elliotte Friedman writes an excellent article: The 23 Minutes That Shook the Hockey World . He covers that day in June when Steven Stamkos re-signed with Tampa, the Canadiens traded P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber, and the Oilers traded Taylor Hall to the Devils for Adam Larsson.
There are a lot of insights and aspects explored, including Carey Price's take on the reasons behind the trade. Here's an excerpt:
The most important opinion is Price’s. As he arrived for World Cup training camp, he said he did not know about the trade beforehand.“No, I was shocked like everyone else. But I had an idea that it was possible. The way our game is structured and the way P.K. plays…we’re headed in a different direction.”Can you explain what you mean by that?“P.K. is an offensive defenceman and a risk-taker. That’s made him successful, that’s the way he plays the game. He doesn’t want to change that and I respect that. I respect the way that he plays the game…his type of enthusiasm and his ability to raise fans out of their seats. That’s a special gift and something that not very many players are able to do. But the way we’re coached on our team, the way our team is structured, that’s not what were looking for. We’re looking for a steady type of defenceman that makes quick plays and is able to move the puck right away. Shea fits that bill perfectly.”
Holy crap Pricey!… Everyone involved on both sides of this issue, from both teams, from league sources who’d agree to be quoted, they all pussyfooted and inched out of line grudgingly, but you just came right out and said it.
“He doesn’t want to change that…”
I was holding out hope, for years, and I bet a lot of Canadiens/P.K. fans were, that he’d come around, that he’d tone down some of his game and settle in, that he’d see the light, that he’d conform, toe the line. That he’d realize that 80 to 90% of the time, the simple low-risk play is the best option. You gamble, you wheel and deal, only once in a while, to keep the opponents honest, when they overplay the simple pass, and leave you lots of room to explore.
You press the issue when you’re a few goals down, or when you’re a goal behind in the third. The rest of the time, you play the percentages, like Michel Therrien says. You create chances, that’s all you can do as a player, like Sidney Crosby says. You don’t dipsy-doodle through the entire team every shift.
Carey says he didn’t want to change. As in, he knew better, he’d been told, and Michel Therrien said in the La Presse interview that there have been myriad conversations in various contexts and settings, but P.K., as bright as he is, was pretty stubborn, intransigent. It wasn’t a question of another season or two for him to get this down, to make it a habit, it was more of a question that he wasn’t accepting the coaching, the team concept.
“But the way we’re coached on our team, the way our team is structured, that’s not what were looking for.”
Again, a telling quote. And I’m parsing words a little bit, but only because so many people have spoken in generalities about this trade, that Carey’s stands out, in how direct it is. Carey doesn’t say “That’s not what Coach Therrien was looking for.” He doesn’t say “there was a clash…” Just outright states that P.K. didn’t fit, wouldn’t fit in, with what ‘we’ are trying to do.
Kudos to Carey Price for speaking candidly, respectfully, evenly about this trade.
And big kudos for Elliott Friedman. He so often gives us the goods, info that nobody had, or presented in quite the way he does. He makes it look easy, and then makes other hockey writers pale by comparison.