With their second round selection (43rd overall) in the NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens selected energetic defenseman P.K. Subban from the Belleville Bulls of the OHL. After a strong regular season with 56 points in 68 games, Subban helped the Bulls reach the OHL semifinals with an impressive playoff performance adding 13 points in 15 games, helping him climb to No. 33 on the McKeen's Draft Rankings. McKeen's recently had a chance to conduct an interview with the talented defenseman and asked him about his game, his rapid development, his draft day experience, and his thoughts on reaching his dream by being drafted by his favourite NHL team.
McKeen's: At what age did you start playing hockey?
Subban: I started playing hockey when I was 4 years old.
McKeen's: Describe the type of game you play. What do you feel are your greatest strengths?
Subban: I have a complete game. I have the ability to play in all situations. My strengths as a player would be my confidence, skating, shot, and all around just my ability to be a complete player when I'm on or off the ice.
McKeen's: What current NHL player do you pattern your game after?
Subban: Well, I like to try to pattern myself after Bobby Orr but a current player I pattern myself after would be Scott Niedermayer.
McKeen's: What will you be focusing on during off-season training and what do you like doing in your spare time?
Subban: I will be focusing on improving my overall strength and endurance. In my spare time, I like to play with my brothers or go out with friends.
McKeen's: When you were younger you attended the PASS Program. How did they help you in terms of your development?
Subban: Well, Kam Brothers has been the biggest person to have an influence on my career other than my current coach George Burnett and my parents. I basically developed all my skills through Kam Brothers' guidance and his hockey school at PASS, and it's starting to pay off.
McKeen's: In 2005, you were selected in the sixth round (102nd overall), by the Belleville Bulls and now only two years later, you were a second round selection at the NHL Entry Draft. To what or whom do you credit your success and rapid development?
Subban: Obviously to my coach George Burnett, he gave me the opportunity to be successful when 19 other teams were not willing too. He has been a huge part of my development not only as a player but also as a person. I owe a lot of my credit to him. I also owe a fair amount to my parents who stuck with me through the tough times and just continued to support me.
McKeen's: After a great regular season, you managed to raise your game with an impressive postseason. How did you turn on the switch even brighter to elevate your play?
Subban: It kind of just clicks! I mean the playoffs are where good players are separated from the great players, and that's what motivated me. I wanted to be better than everybody else in the most important time of the year.
McKeen's: The Bulls fell just short of reaching the OHL final after a tough semifinal loss to the Sudbury Wolves. Assuming you return to Belleville, how would you rate the Bulls' chances to take it one-step further next season?
Subban: The chances are always high, but I think we can really do something special next year with the guys that are returning.
McKeen's: You are known for your electric dashes up the ice. What are you thinking about as you get closer to the net and has coach Burnett said anything to you about surveying your options better?
Subban: As I get closer to the net, I'm thinking about finishing or making the right play to give us the best opportunity to score. In my first part of the year, he explained to me that I have to understand when to go and when not to, and by the second half, I really thought I handled that part of my game really well based on how much I developed.
McKeen's: You have always dreamed of playing for the Montreal Canadiens, and knowing your Dad's passion for the Habs, take us through your draft day experience and what it felt like at the exact moment you heard the Canadiens call your name?
Subban: Well to be honest, when my name was called, me and my family were still celebrating the fact my teammate Eric Tangradi just got drafted. So when my name was called it was a total shock but everyone seemed to react pretty fast to it. Ha-ha, it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. Especially to see the happiness on the faces of my family, that was the icing on the cake.
McKeen's: Being a Canadiens fan, who were some of your favorite players growing up and what is your most memorable Canadiens moment?
Subban: My favourite player when I was younger was Vincent Damphousse. I even wore his number 25 on my team then, because I played for the North York Canadians. I also liked Scott Stevens, and Patrick Roy. My most memorable Canadiens moment was when Saku Koivu returned after his battle with cancer.
McKeen's: Have you ever been to Montreal?
Subban: I've never been to Montreal before. However, I've heard so many tremendous things about the fans of Montreal and most importantly, I've heard even greater things about the people of the city.
McKeen's: You made quite a splash with the media at the draft. How would you describe your personality?
Subban: I'd say I'm a likeable, trustworthy, and a confident person.
McKeen's: The NHL has sometimes been criticized for not allowing its players to express themselves more freely. Being a person who likes to speak his mind and who can be entertaining with his words, what are your thoughts on that issue?
Subban: Well I do like to speak my mind, but I'm not trying to entertain people with my words. If people are entertained by what I say that's great, but I just speak my mind but within the boundaries of being a professional. I think that's crucial especially when the youth look up to you.
McKeen's: Finally, what would you like to say to your new legion of fans in Montreal?
Subban: Thanks for your support, and I'm going to represent the organization well.