It’s Just Business

I realize everyone has already done their analysis of the complete malarkey that happened on June 29th. I decided to take some time to cool off. Think it over.

And after some consideration, I’m still furious.

Some are lauding those roughly 30 minutes as the craziest in league history and it’s hard to argue that they weren’t. Those two trades were some of the most bizarre 1-for-1 trades the league has seen. And in terms of PK Subban and Shea Weber, downright insulting.

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson was bad. And even after signing Milan Lucic yesterday, the hole left in the roster is far from filled. While that trade is extremely lopsided, they did at least trade a forward for the defense they needed. As Peter Chiarelli said, defense is costly right now. But Taylor Hall? First overall draft pick from 2010? The Taylor Hall that has been at least second in points on the Oilers since he was drafted? That Taylor Hall? For Adam Larsson. Eh, it happens. Chiarelli is no stranger to making bad trades with the 2010 draft picks. (Thanks for Seguin, Chiarelli.)

Which brings us to the abysmal PK Subban-Shea Weber trade. My first criticism is that, if sources and rumors are to be believed, Bergevin was approached by Edmonton for Subban. And clearly, they were willing to pay big for a top level defenseman. (Just imagine a Taylor Hall playing in front of Carey Price. Picture it. I guess thank the Lord that it didn’t pan out that way, but come on now.)

If the trade had been announced that morning PK Subban for Taylor Hall, yeah it would have still been a risky trade, but at least the apparent value in player would seem more reasonable. It also always seems more reasonable (at least in my amateur opinion) that you trade players of different positions, i.e. a defense for a forward. Instead, we have a one-for-one defenseman for defenseman trade of arguably one of the best defenseman still in his prime for the veteran Shea Weber.

Now, Weber is a good player. (We will all ignore his performance in Game 7 against the Sharks.) Weber and Subban play similar games. Strong defense, strong shots, good at getting points. Weber, though, had his place in Nashville. That was his home, his team. He was captain of that team. It’s hard to argue against the idea that Shea Weber and Roman Josi were one of the most dangerous d-pairs in the league. While numbers are just numbers, Josi and Weber had good ones.

Weber’s career should have finished out in Nashville. Period. And while that’s my opinion, I feel very strongly about it.

Now let’s talk about poor PK Subban. Subban should have finished out his career in Montreal. Period. PK Subban who had a no movement clause that would have kicked on July 1st. There is not one other player I can think of who loved his team’s community more than PK Subban loved Montreal. And Montreal loved PK Subban. How do you not love a guy that donates $10 million to a children’s hospital and proceeds to visit the children in that hospital so much he had 1) an atrium named after him and 2) his own parking spot. It shouldn’t need pointing out, but $10 million is a lot of money. It also just so happens to be more than he makes in a year. So let that sink in. Just absorb that. PK Subban donated $1 million more than he makes in a year to a children’s hospital, visited those kids regularly (sources say almost weekly, isn’t that something), and now will no longer be calling that city home.

Forget the team, forget the business of it. Imagine the impact this is going to have on those kids. If you want proof that Bergevin doesn’t care about the ramifications and the impact this will have on Montreal the community, there you go.

And for just a second let’s talk about the reason he was traded: “character issues”. PK Subban, character issues? You’re got to be joking. Not only is PK Subban all over the media in the most positive ways imaginable (again, $10 million to a children’s hospital), they just signed two forwards who have been in the limelight for scandals. Andrew Shaw, Chicago’s bad boy who called a ref several slurs over a penalty he disagreed with, and Alexand Radulov, who was suspended in the NHL once for missing curfew (As a Predator with Shea Weber as his captain) and then, get this, hitting his coach with a hockey stick in the KHL. Yikes.

So, let’s move on to what the league said to smooth things over. PK Subban was traded because his “popularity” and “personality” did not fit in with what Montreal was trying to achieve.

Excuse me?

I’m sorry, let me get this straight: You DON’T want a player to bring your team popularity? PK Subban has the second most popular jersey sales for defense. I liked the Habs for two reasons: Carey Price and PK Subban. PK Subban probably just rakes in money for the Habs organization, but you don’t want his popularity or personality on your team.

I don’t buy any of it.

Michel Therrien had documented problems with PK Subban. To the point that, back in February, he placed sole blame for the Hab’s loss to the Avalanche on PK Subban losing an edge and falling before the game winning goal was scored.

Word for word: “Too bad an individual mistake cost us the game late in the game”.

It’s one thing to think that. It’s one thing to tell Subban that behind close doors. It’s one thing for Subban to take the blame himself. It is completely disrespectful and cruel for the coach to tell a room full of media that PK Subban lost them the game.

When you’re in charge of people, you need to understand how to tactfully handle disagreements. And calling someone who is essentially your employee out in front of media, and coincidentally the thousands of people who will watch or read what you said, is not the way you handle anything tactfully. Therrien has not kept it a secret that him and PK don’t see eye to eye.

This is our Patrick Roy-Mario Tremblay trade. This is what it looks like when the management and front office chose the coaching staff over the player. (Even after Bergevin flat out said he wasn’t shopping PK Subban. Funny how that worked out.)

Shea Weber is not going to be able to fill in for PK Subban. Not on the blue line, not in that city.

PK Subban is going to have a tough time trying to fill Shea Weber’s shoes in Nashville. He was their captain.

For the second time, in nearly the same season, Montreal has had a hand in taking the heart and spirit of a team and removing it entirely. They had a hand in the John Scott debacle, and now this.

And for me, this time, it is unforgivable.


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