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Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, centre, comes off the bench during first period NHL action against the Buffalo Sabres in Montreal on Saturday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)
P.K. Subban got a new contract this week, and now he’s got a different way to celebrate team wins.
And Don Cherry won’t be complaining.
The star of Coach’s Corner praised the Montreal Canadiens brass for instituting a new team policy on victory celebrations earlier this week during his Hockey Night in Canada segment on Saturday night.
Instead of triple-low-fives between Subban and goaltender Carey Price — which have now been banned by the team — only team celebrations will be tolerated, which include Montreal players collectively gathering at centre ice and saluting fans.
Cherry said he’s been preaching all along for Subban — who got a two-year, $5.75-million US deal and played in his first game of the year Saturday — to stop his overenthusiastic and attention-seeking displays during and after games.
“I knew [Subban] when he played for the Marlies,” Cherry said. “I said ‘stop that silly stuff you’re doing, jumping around and giving high-fives and all that.’ Players will turn against you if you don’t stop it.”
Cherry also noted how the defenceman’s exuberant celebrations weren’t making him the most popular player on the ice among either fans or his peers, and praised him for his more subdued post-game behaviour on Saturday afternoon in a 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
“Now watch him now [after the game], he does it sensibly like that [by not showing off],” Cherry said. “That’s the way to do it. And I tried to tell him that a few years ago, ‘stop that silly stuff,’ same as I did with [Capitals forward Alexander] Ovechkin. And you can’t do that and expect the players to like you.”
One player who didn’t seem too fond of Subban’s contract holdout situation was veteran teammate Andrei Markov, who wasn’t exactly welcoming when he heard the flashy defenceman would be rejoining the Canadiens.
“He's not in the room yet, so let's talk about it when he's going to be in the room,” Markov told reporters earlier this week.
The Canadiens don’t get much of a rest as they square off with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).