BY MURRAY PAM
In his second stint playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship, defenseman P.K. Subban has literally and figuratively been turning heads. It was Subban’s end-to-end rush – finished off by an Evander Kane tap in – that clinched Canada’s 5-1 win over Germany Monday night.
Subban used his on-ice intelligence and displayed his puck control awareness to set up the goal.
“I picked up the puck behind our net and saw that (Germany) was changing,” Subban recounted. “I continued to drive hard to the net and luckily Evander was there to put it in.”
Subban, who currently plays with the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario League, is one of four returning players from Canada’s 2008 gold medal-winning team. He participated sparingly in seven games and did not post a single point in his first go-around, but Subban used last year’s tournament as a learning experience.
“It is a part of growing and maturing,” Subban said. “You have to be patient. I relished the moments being there with great players.”
Having grown an inch in the past year, Subban now stands 6-foot, 203 pounds and his mature play is fueling his confidence as the tournament goes on. The Rexdale, Ont., native is among the tournament’s top scorers with five points in three games and his plus-10 leads all players in the tournament.
A Canadiens second round draft pick (43rd overall) in 2007, Subban is recognized as one of the leaders on a skilled Canadian club, evidenced by the “A” currently displayed on his jersey.
After Canada’s convincing victory over Germany, Subban was awarded the game puck by coach Pat Quinn, who has affectionately dubbed him “Subbie-doo,” an apt nickname originating from Subban’s patented spin-o-rama move that opposing forecheckers have nightmares about.
“Pat Quinn is a great coach and he lets us get away with a few things,” Subban said. “It is something that I may want to tone down a bit on this world stage.”
Subban is looking forward to Canada’s date on New Year’s Eve with the rival United States; a game that will decide first place in Pool A and a bye into the semifinal.
“I am looking forward to it; I have a teammate on the other team (Eric Tangradi),” Subban said.