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Monday, September 26, 2011
Marchand defends Subban's celebrations

By James Murphy

MONTREAL -- Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban stirred some controversy in Montreal and even league wide last week when he celebrated a preseason goal with the same exuberance that he does in the regular season or even the playoffs, crouching down low and doing a windmill motion with his arm. Many in the media questioned whether the celebration was necessary in a meaningless game while others defended the always enthusiastic, personable and fun-loving blueliner. On Monday morning, Subban’s former teammate with Hockey Canada and now nemesis with the Bruins, Brad Marchand, went to bat for Subban. Marchand himself has had to learn to walk a fine line of knowing when to celebrate and let his personality show on the ice -- admittedly more so than Subban -- and doesn’t think Subban should tone down who he is.

“He’s in a market here where people get criticized a lot and whether they’re doing well or not, there is just so much pressure on them,” Marchand pointed out. “It’s his personality though and that’s how he is. That’s why he’s such a good player. I guess the way you can look at it is any press is good press and he’s doing his job.”

You don’t want to change what you did to get here. You may want to fine-tune it a bit but for the most part, guys have to stick to what got them in the NHL and be that player. For myself, if I change up too much, I’m not effective but at same time you don’t want to be that guy who goes over the line and makes a fool of yourself or your teammates and take penalties or what not. There definitely is a fine line but the older you get, the more mature you get, the better you get at walking that line.”

Late last season as he was skating off the ice at the end of the second period in a game against Toronto that his team was leading 3-2, Marchand mimicked a golf swing to the Toronto bench poking fun at the Maple Leafs that they would not be going to the playoffs. The Maple Leafs came back to tie the game in the third period and win it in a shootout. Marchand was called out by his teammates and head coach Claude Julien and the Maple Leafs acknowledged that they used it as motivation. Marchand talked about learning to walk that line from experiences like that but didn’t think Subban’s goal celebrations were in the same realm of showboating.

“You don’t want to go over the line and when you do there is usually consequences whether it’s from teammates or coaches or media,” Marchand acknowledged. “But anytime you score a goal, you get excited and sometimes you react in certain ways. Some guys do more than other and some guys are just more relaxed. He’s one of those guys whose pretty outgoing.”