Senators not taking Canadiens for granted, Peter Budaj ready to take over as Habs starter, hockey world still adjusting to PK Subban, Alain Vigneault’s future with the Canucks, and Mark Fraser injured in Leafs-Bruins game.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd believes the hockey world is still struggling to adjust to P.K. Subban, its “first black superstar”, because he’s black and urban, rather than white and rural. Todd spoke with HNiC’s Kevin Weekes, who suggests part of the problem is Subban is black, not bi-racial, and didn’t play in the WHL, believing there’s a myth if a player didn’t come from the WHL they lack grit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban undoubtedly faces considerable criticism and challenges, some of it undoubtedly from racists and bigots, but his flamboyant, personality (especially on the ice) has more to do with it than the color of his skin. Subban is a confident, sometimes cocky young star unafraid to speak his mind, which sometimes rubs opponents and fans of rival teams the wrong way.
Furthermore, Subban isn’t the NHL’s first black superstar. Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr was the first, followed by future Hall-of-Fame Jarome Iginla. True, they’re bi-racial, played their junior hockey in the WHL and aren’t as flamboyant as Subban, but that doesn’t diminish their significance as the NHL’ s first black superstars.
OTTAWA SUN/LA PRESSE: Despite being poised to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens tonight in Montreal in Game Five, the Ottawa Senators aren’t taking the game for granted. Canadiens backup Peter Budaj, meanwhile, is prepared to take over for Carey Price if the latter (day-to-day with a leg injury) is unable to play tonight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have the Canadiens right where they want them, leading the Habs 3-1 in the series with a chance to end it tonight, with the Canadiens missing Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Brandon Prust and possibly Price to injury. Still, a team in that position can be like a cornered, injured wild animal. With nothing left to lose, it can tenaciously fight back. The Habs aren’t expected to just roll over and die, not in front of their hometown fans, and the Senators must be prepared for that.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher believes Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is better suited coaching a club with size and grit than a team built for speed and skill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a growing opinion Vigneault could take the fall for the Canucks early playoff exit this year.
TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser’s status for Game Five against Boston on Friday remains in doubt after being struck in the head by a Milan Lucic shot.