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Subban Defends Himself For Turtling Against Ference

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P.K. Subban laughs as he's escorted to the penalty box in Boston on Jan. 12. 2012. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

P.K. Subban laughs as he’s escorted to the penalty box in Boston on Jan. 12. 2012. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — As far as P.K. Subban is concerned, he should be free to elbow star center’s in the head and face no repercussions.

That’s what the Canadiens defenseman seemed to be saying to ESPN The Magazine this month when responding to criticism of his hit on David Krejci that led to the 6-foot, 212-pound Subban to crumple to the ice when immediately confronted by Andrew Ference.

“I didn’t even see [Ference] coming, really,” Subban told ESPN. “People who talk about me turtling don’t talk about him jumping me and not giving me a chance to get my gloves off. If people want to say I turtle, just look at how many career fights I’ve had in less than two years.”

A quick look at those fights (there are six of them) show Subban picking on smaller forwards not known for fighting, like Brad Marchand, Joffrey Lupul and Mark Letestu. The only real fighter on Subban’s fight card is Brian Sutherby.

Subban also didn’t have a problem with his own hit on Krejci, which included an elbow to Krejci’s head that drew a penalty.

“My job is to get a guy like Krejci off his game,” Subban explained. “Anybody I wouldn’t want to be fighting I wouldn’t even look at twice if he challenged me. When I do need to stick up for myself or my teammates, I will. I make that decision, not the other team.”

The play in question came midway through the third period of a game between the Bruins and Candiens on Jan. 12. Ference immediately went after Subban after the hit on Krejci, but Subban dropped to the ice and protected his face as Ference tried to lift him to his feet. After Ference dragged Subban around the ice, officials separated the two, and Subban skated to the penalty box with a smile on his face.

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