When news broke that the Nashville Predators had traded P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, most everyone in Nashville knew that the city would never be the same.
Though he only played here for three seasons, P.K. Subban elevated Nashville as a hockey city in the eyes of the league. With his incredible personality, both on and off the ice, Subban left a permanent mark on Smashville. He will surely be missed by most of the fanbase.
With that in mind, here are P.K. Subban’s top moments in Nashville, starting with some honorable mentions.
- P.K. Subban lands on the cover of EA Sport’s NHL 19, making him the first Nashville Predators player to grace the cover of the iconic hockey video game.
- The emotional return to Montreal. I put this as an honorable mention only because it had more to do with Montreal than Nashville. Still, it was a pretty powerful moment, and it deserves recognition.
- “He bit me!” or that time that P.K. Subban was bitten by Vegas Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. What a bizarre situation.
- When P.K. Subban told us all the s**t that hockey players say, as well as all the other brilliant videos he’s been a part of, like the time he dressed up as an old man to spread some holiday cheer.
And now the top five moments.
5. Subban sends perfect message to young hockey player
Who could forget the time P.K. Subban sent a heartwarming message to a young hockey player who was enduring some awful racist treatment on his hockey team? This video just perfectly encapsulates who P.K. Subban is as a human being.
This is incredible.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) January 7, 2019
The story of Subban’s message, and the story of the 13-year-old hockey player, made national headlines. It helped start an important conversation about racism and bullying in the hockey community. No matter how you feel about Subban as a player, you have to admire and respect the steps he took to make one young kid feel important and valued.
This is the part of P.K. Subban that I think Predators fans will miss the most. He is, and always has been, a generous and thoughtful human being who always looks for ways to help other people.
4. First goal in Nashville
This was a fun moment.
After the mind-bending trade in June 2016, when David Poile sent Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban, there were a lot of expectations when Subban finally arrived in Nashville. Most fans knew he would make an impact, but how long would it take to see results? And what kind of player had the Predators acquired with this deal?
Subban answered those questions about eight minutes into his Predators’ debut.
Scoring a power play goal on an absolute missile from the blueline, and following it up with his patented goal celebration in front of a raucous Bridgestone Arena crowd, P.K. Subban wasted no time to win over the Smashville faithful.
And it probably didn’t hurt that he did it against the hated Chicago Blackhawks.
3. 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs – 2nd Round, Game 1 vs. St. Louis Blues
P.K. Subban turned in one of his best playoff performances for Nashville in Game 1 of the Predators match-up with the Blues back in 2017.
Most folks remember this game for the major leg injury to Kevin Fiala, but Subban played a major role in the win. Three of Nashville’s goals came off hard slapshots by Subban. The first was tipped in by Colin Wilson, the 2nd went in directly off Subban’s stick, and the third was just slightly redirected by Filip Forsberg.
Vernon Fiddler had the game winning goal with just over five minutes left in regulation, but P.K. Subban helped keep the Predators in the game. He was a huge factor in the win.
This was an important road playoff win by the Predators, who had just come off a sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks. With the Blues gunning for another trip to the Western Conference Final, the Predators had to yet again prove they belonged in the playoff race. Because of Subban, they did so, going on to win the series in six games.
This game ended up being Subban’s only three point game in the playoffs for Nashville.
2. Norris Trophy Finalist in 2018
P.K. Subban put up one of the best seasons ever by a Nashville Predators defenseman in 2017-18. His 59 points ranked 2nd behind Roman Josi’s 61 points in 2015-16 for the franchise best by a defenseman in a season.
His performance that season was good enough to be named a finalist for the Norris Trophy, the award given every year to the top defenseman in the league. It was the first time a Predators had been a finalist for the award since Shea Weber in 2013-14.
While Subban’s chance at winning the award were a bit of a long shot, it will still go down as one of the best seasons by a blueliner in Predators history.
1. Battle with Sidney Crosby at the 2017 Stanley Cup Final & “Mouthwashgate”
On the biggest stage in professional hockey, P.K. Subban helped create one of the sport’s most compelling storylines at the time.
From the moment the puck dropped on Game 1 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final between the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, P.K. Subban was involved in the series. He scored just over seven minutes into the game to give the Predators 1-0 lead, but the goal was overturned when the video review ruled that Filip Forsberg entered the zone offside.
There were plenty more fireworks after that.
In Game 2, Subban got into it with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, earning himself a five minute major for fighting. In Game 5, Sidney Crosby was seen punching Subban’s head into the ice behind the play, yet somehow the referee called a holding penalty on both players. The two were seen jawing back and forth for most of the series and on more than one occasion they exchanged punches after the whistle.
But the best part of the rivalry came off the ice.
After Game 3 in Nashville, P.K. Subban was asked about an intense exchange on the ice between he and Crosby. Subban said “he told me my breath smelled, but I don’t know, I used Listerine before the game so I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
What other player in the NHL would say something like that after a Stanley Cup Final game? And what other player in the NHL would do what he did next?
Prior to Game 4 in Nashville, Subban was seen arriving to Bridgestone Arena with a bag full of Listerine mouthwash. Then, prior to Game 5, he tweeted this out:
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 8, 2017
While Sidney Crosby and the Penguins obviously got the last laugh in the end, you have to give it up to P.K. Subban for creating one of the more memorable off-ice distractions in Stanley Cup Final history.
— Featured image via Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports —