Scooby Axson
Tuesday November 18th, 2014

John Huet for Sports Illustrated

There is no in-between with Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. Fans either love him or hate him.

He can be fearless and play with reckless abandon, but also can drive opponents crazy, and that’s what makes him one of the NHL’s best.

In reality, Pernell Karl Subban wants what every other player wants in the NHL, a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup in June, and with little regard about how they do it.

Subban, 25, has noteworthy accolades already, after winning the Norris Trophy for being the league’s best defenseman in 2013 and a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Fans in Montreal hold their hockey team to a high standard and will let players know if they aren’t playing well. They don’t have to worry about that so far this season. The Canadiens, at 14-4-1 through Nov. 16, have the NHL's best record and Subban has five goals and seven assists and +1 rating.

But the Canadiens haven’t hoisted the Stanley Cup since 1993, the last of their record 24 championships.

“When is the last time the fans had a player who played with the same passion that they have for watching the game?" Subban says. “The fans see a player who understands what it means to wear the jersey. There’s a difference between that and being a good hockey player.”

For more on P.K. Subban and the Canadiens check out Michael Farber's story in this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).

Also in this issue: features on the New England Patriots and running back Jonas Gray, AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith, the revival of the Phoenix Suns and Thomas Lake's story on the heartbreak of the 2013 Iron Bowl.

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