Meet P.K. Subban.
Sorry, you already know about Subban? Forgive me, he was a lightning rod for Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa last Christmas.
But with a new season arriving, Subban is ready to put the Team Canada jersey behind him (for now) and the Montreal media is enjoying how well Subban fits into le bleu, blanc, et rogue.
Not only is he popular with the media because of his outstanding play and his friendly and boisterous personality, but Subban has taken a step to win over more fans by taking French lessons.
Growing up in Toronto, Subban has always spoken English, but feels that it is necessary as a part of playing for the Canadiens to speak the language of the team.
What's more? He said he wants to play for the Canadiens.
What's not to love about the former Belleville Bull defender? With four years of junior hockey behind him, the only place for Subban, in his mind, is a spot on the Canadiens defensive core.
Twice scoring over 10 goals (14 in 2008-09 and 15 in 2006-07), his career on the blue line in Belleville was successful. His career-high 76 points last season was good enough to place him third on the Bulls, behind LA Kings 2007 pick Bryan Cameron (81 points) and Anaheim Ducks 2007 pick Eric Tangradi (88 points).
But doing so as a defender is why the Canadiens scooped Subban up in 43rd overall in 2007. In a draft year that included fellow draftees Max Pacioretty, Yannick Weber, Andrew Conboy, and former pick Ryan McDonagh.
But for Subban, whether or not he will make the big club off the hop is never out of the question. He wants to be in the NHL and knows he can make a difference.
With stiff competition on the Montreal blue line, especially with the arrivals of veterans Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, and Paul Mara, Subban's edge may be slim to beat out the likes of Weber, Ryan O'Byrne, and Mathieu Carle.
Yet, under Subban's silky smooth personality, lies a determination and a love for the game that many in the Canadiens organization are glad to see.
He may not be playing with his good friend John Tavares, but P.K. Subban has already found a good home.
And maybe, just maybe, No. 89 will be on the blue line in 2009-2010.
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