P.K. Subban’s coach does delicate dance around Game 3 ‘guarantee’

NASHVILLE – After the Nashville Predators’ Game 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman P.K. Subban vowed they would win Game 3. “We’re going back home. We’re going win the next game,” he said.

On the day after their Game 2 loss, Subban reaffirmed that vow. “There’s no question, we’re going to win the next game,” he said.

If this sounds like a Messier-esque playoff prediction, Predators coach Peter Laviolette would like you to pump your brakes.

Here’s the glorious exchange with a reporter at Friday’s press conference:

Q. Peter, P.K. Subban said after the game that he would promise a victory for tomorrow night?

PETER LAVIOLETTE: Is that what he said?

Q. Well.

PETER LAVIOLETTE: Well, what did he say?

Q. Exactly, We will win, something like that. As a coach, do you embrace the fact that a player like him takes the pressure on him?

PETER LAVIOLETTE: I didn’t hear the words you had said. I don’t want a misquote here. If a player is confident about our ability to be successful, I have no issue with that. I’m confident with our group’s ability to be successful, as well. I don’t know the exact quote that he used, but I don’t think it was that. He didn’t promise anything, I don’t believe. I do believe there’s confidence in the room. I said that yesterday.

So two days after the Nashville Predators’ Game 2 loss, Subban said … yeah, well, actually, they’re going to win Game 3.

“When we play our best, no one can beat us in this league,” he said. “Like I said, we’re going to win the game. And then we’ll move forward from there.”

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It was pointed out that this kind of declaration is rare.

“Why is that rare? I don’t understand why that’s rare,” Subban responded.

“Because we’ve done it before. When we play our best, no one can beat us in this league. We’ve shown this throughout the playoffs and the regular season, so why wouldn’t I have confidence in our team.”

Subban’s never been one to shy away from producing potential bulletin board material for the opposing locker room. Like his infamous line in 2014 when the Montreal Canadiens played the Boston Bruins, and Subban said “I can’t wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building. I can’t wait to take that all away from them.”

Montreal won that series in seven games. So does it help to have a lighting rod in the room?

“Everyone handles media differently,” said defenseman Mattias Ekholm. “Whatever he’s been doing the last few years has been working for him, because he’s one of the best defensemen in the league.”

Subban doesn’t see himself as someone trying to take the attention away from the Predators’ 0-2 hole in the Stanley Cup Final.

“I just speak my mind. I speak the truth. At the end of the day, I speak about how I feel,” he said, “and I feel that our team is going to be the best on the ice tomorrow.”

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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