Montreal Canadiens fans are known for their passion and it stands to reason they expect the same blatant display of emotion from the team they adore.
That’s what makes a player like P.K. Subban such a natural fit for Montreal. His big personality on and off the ice plays well with people who want their hockey heroes to pack a powerful persona.
The issue of outward emotion has come up recently with reference to coach Jacques Martin and his less-than-demonstrative demeanor. As Pat Burns was laid to rest, people reveled in memories of the fiery former Canadiens coach banging sticks on the boards or kicking butts in practice. That’s who Burns was.
Martin is a different breed and people shouldn’t make the mistake of misinterpreting a lack theatrics for a dearth of passion. Tomas Plekanec is one of the most reserved men in the NHL off the ice, but nobody doubts the inner drive that propels him. Right now the best thing about Carey Price’s play – and there’s a lot to chose from – is the cool, confident way with which he carries himself. That position, more than any other, calls for a quiet sort of competitive nature that allows a goalie to keep his emotions in check.
And there are definitely advantages to having a more serene man standing behind the bench. For every lift a team gets from seeing a coach like the New York Rangers’ John Tortorella test the durability of water bottles, there’s also a lot to be said for giving the impression that no matter what’s going on, you’ve got things under control. It quells panic and instills confidence. It can also curry favor from referees who, don’t forget, are human beings under those stripes and probably have a softer spot for bench bosses who don’t bite their heads off for every perceived non-call.
Maybe that’s why there’s not a lot of footage of Scotty Bowman looking like his head is going to explode.
Martin isn’t the most exciting coach in the world, but his staid personality is a good match for a Montreal team that has learned to work for everything it gets.
This article was originally published in Metro News. For more hockey commentary, check out Metro Sports.