Fan base swells for Canadiens' P.K. Subban | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaFan base swells for Canadiens' P.K. Subban

Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 | 07:41 PM

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Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, left, has won some fans over by the way he handled being the subject of racial tweets after the first two games of Montreal's Round 2 playoff series against Boston. He's also standing out on the ice with two goals and nine points in six post-season games. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, left, has won some fans over by the way he handled being the subject of racial tweets after the first two games of Montreal's Round 2 playoff series against Boston. He's also standing out on the ice with two goals and nine points in six post-season games. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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P.K. Subban handled a sticky situation in a smooth manner on Saturday. How the Montreal Canadiens defenceman finishes his stellar playoff run will be interesting.

Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban wasn't a winner on the ice Saturday, but he certainly continued to win fans for his off-ice actions.

During and after his two-goal performance in the 4-3 series-opening victory by the Canadiens over the hometown Boston Bruins, Subban was the social media subject of thousands of racial tweets and retweets on Twitter.

His teammates, opponents and even Bruins president Cam Neely and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman chimed in to denounce the actions of the Twitter twits.

Following Montreal's 5-3 loss in Boston on Saturday, Subban skated down the high road as he addressed the firestorm that occurred in the previous 48 hours.

"You know what, this is the first time and probably the last time I'll comment on it," the 24-year-old Subban said. "First things first, the Boston Bruins are an Original Six franchise. They have been around for a very long time. They are respected. It's completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base. They have passionate fans here, great fan base and since I've been in the league it's been awesome. I've come to Boston many times, my family has come here, and it's been great.

"What people may say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins. So whoever that is, they'll get dealt with, but it's completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins organization. I know some of those players personally on that team, like I said, the fan base has been awesome, they are a great bunch of fans. 

"It's unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago," continued Subban. "It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey and that's what we are going to talk about. So I'm happy now that we can just move on.

"You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league, you see how people come together and it's great. And it's not just about me, the NHL has tons of players from different backgrounds, from different places around the world and that's what makes this league so special and that's what makes sports so special, it brings everybody together. Another great hockey game today, I'm sure everybody enjoyed it and I look forward to the rest of the series and everybody else should too."

Banner post-season

With Game 3 back in Montreal on Tuesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET), the Habs faithful look forward to see what Subban will do next in this series, too. He's having a banner post-season with two goals and nine points in six games. He's riding a five-game points streak and has been in on nine of Montreal's last 18 goals.

The Canadiens defenceman already has surpassed his career-high playoff point total of eight when he burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2010.

In the Game 2 defeat in Boston, with the spotlight on him even more than usual because of what transpired on Twitter, Subban checked in with two assists.

He has been the biggest reason why the Canadiens have gone an impressive 4-for-9 on the power play against the Bruins, who had the most effective penalty-killing unit in the first round.

Subban's parents, Maria and Karl, were in the crowd at TD Garden on Saturday. His 20-year-old younger brother Malcolm, a goalie, is engaged in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs with the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

His 19-year-old brother Jordan, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, finished his third season of junior with the Belleville Bulls several weeks ago.

"The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday's game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization," Neely said in his statement.

"I fully endorse and support the comment that Cam Neely and the Bruins issued," Bettman said. "We are about diversity and inclusiveness. We condemn bias and hatred. It has no place in our game and it's not acceptable."

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