Canadiens’ P.K. Subban skates with the puck in his first game of the season against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre on Saturday. During that game, Subban had to get his skates resharpened after he stepped on a stick. The next game a day later, his skate holder broke, requiring a 20-minute repair during the game.
Photograph by: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images
MONTREAL — P.K. Subban has one pair of skates. But he thinks by practice Tuesday morning he might have two.
The Canadiens defenceman suffered two wardrobe malfunctions quite fittingly on Super Bowl weekend, both his left and right skates almost sabotaging his return to the lineup.
On Saturday, against the Buffalo Sabres, Subban had to go for an in-game sharpening after he stepped on a stick, which ground the edge off his left blade.
Then Sunday, he suffered the breakage of the high-impact plastic holder that attaches the steel blade to his right boot.
“That was pretty bad,” Subban said, laughing later at his misfortune. “This always happens for me at the start of the season. And these were brand new skates. I’d worn them for maybe two weeks.”
Saturday, Subban crashed awkwardly into the boards, leading some to briefly fear that he’d suffered a leg injury.
“I think there was a sniper sitting where my parents were,” he joked after the game, suggesting his skates had been shot out from beneath him. “I might have stepped on a stick the shift before and when I went to take a turn to pick up a puck, I fell face-first into the wall.”
More embarrassed than injured, he hustled off the rink for a sharpening.
But Sunday was another matter. The Canadiens were ready to return to the ice for the third period against Ottawa when forward Colby Armstrong looked down at Subban’s right skate.
“I’d sat in the room for 20 minutes, not knowing it was broken, and just before I went on the ice, Colby said, ‘Uh, P.K., your skate holder is broken.’ I saw a little hole in it, but it was basically broken in half, probably hit with a puck.
“I told Colby, ‘It’ll be fine,’ but he said, ‘No, dude, if it snaps and breaks, you could get seriously hurt.’ If it broke while I was skating, I’d be done. The skate would be finished.”
So Subban alerted Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais, whose assistant, Pat Langlois, sprang into action to make hasty repairs — even if it seemed like an hour to Subban.
“It took Patty about 12 minutes just to get the holder off because the rivets were so deep,” Subban said. “I’m a hard skater so the rivets were almost welded into the plastic. Patty had to drill the plastic just to get the rivets out. That took an extra five minutes or I’d have been out earlier. But at least I got back out for a few shifts.”
Subban kept appearing in the tunnel at the Canadiens entrance to the rink to grab a quick view of the game, ducking back out of sight. Finally he laced back up and returned to the bench.
It wasn’t as simple as Subban putting on a second pair of skates because he has just one.
“I hope they have their bad luck out of the way,” he said, laughing. “But I’m sure Gerv and Patty will get me moulded for a new pair (Tuesday) so I’ll have a backup ready in case these have another hiccup.”
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