Thanks for the Memory: A look back at what P.K. Subban brought to Nashville

There were good times not too long ago, and they’re still worth celebrating.

In a league of relatively reserved personalities, P.K. Subban has been the Broadway of hockey—a little neon, a lot of swagger, with a dash of fun and rowdy.

I am one of those Predators fans who has taken Subban’s trade hard. The last few days I’ve cycled through the five stages of grief. After curling up on the couch, clutching NHL ’19 to my chest, and listening to Rascal Flatts sing “Here Comes Good-Bye”, I’ve decided to reflect instead on a few of my favorite P.K. memories.

Subban’s First Goal as A Predator – 10/14/16

Subban’s first goal in Smashville came midway through the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks. Not only was it against the Hawks (always a bonus), but it was sweet foreshadowing of future goals coming from the top of the zone. Subban’s first goal was also a power play goal. After this season’s anemic power play, I confess I watched this goal on loop yesterday to remind myself what playing up a man is supposed to look like.

“Eddie” and his Random Acts of Kindness

Lest anyone think Subban’s best moves are confined to the ice, he demonstrated his agility and heart spreading holiday cheer disguised as Eddie, the kind and sociable 75-year-old Nashvillian. He spent the day doing random acts of kindness around town and blessed a Blueline Buddies family with a surprise living room makeover that rivaled his own transformation. Ordering a prune juice shot was a nice touch.

Subban’s 2nd Period Goal vs Canucks – 12/13/17

There was much to love about this 7-1 smacking of the Canucks, including Subban’s goal to start the game 1:33 post-puck drop. But it was his second-period goal from center ice that epitomizes P.K. play to me. Those seconds in neutral ice during line changes are the only few seconds that could be considered a “lull” in hockey action. I’ve loved watching Subban hunt for those minuscule windows of opportunity.

Subban and the Listerine

Most Preds fans with a decent sense of humor will forever link Subban with mouthwash and a missed marketing opportunity for Listerine. Subban took a little Sidney Crosby on-ice snark and turned it into a media discussion on halitosis during the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.

I have to confess, anyone short of the devil himself would get bonus points from me for trolling Sidney Crosby for any reason. But it was the brilliance in which it was done that makes this one of my favorite Subban memories. Subban’s alleged bad breath was the hot news topic, not the Penguins’ hockey play, and can’t we all agree that less focus on Sidney Crosby is a service to all?

Subban’s Farewell Message to Smashville

The most bittersweet Subban moment happened Saturday as he posted a farewell message to Smashville on Instagram. He arrived in Smashville well, he played in Smashville well (do not argue with me about this), and he showed us how he is leaving Smashville well.

Not all athletes—or adults—have mastered the art of closing a chapter with class and kindness. Subban’s maturity (Eddie and Listerine aside) has endeared #76 to me even more as we are forced to say goodbye.

Maybe instead of a country breakup song, it would be more appropriate to play P.K. Subban out with a few lines from another classy, humorous personality—Bob Hope and his signature song “Thanks for the Memory”:

We who could laugh over big things
Were parted by only a slight thing
I wonder if we did the right thing
Oh, well, that’s life, I guess.

... Awfully glad I met you
Cheerio and toodle-oo
Thank you
Thank you so much.

Best of luck, P.K. Thanks for the memories.