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Bruins fans: It’s okay to embrace your love for PK Subban

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Many of you have known this from the start. But for those of you who are struggling a little, here’s how to deal.

Nashville Predators v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Bruins are playing Nashville tonight, which means it’s time to think about something that maaaaaybe some of us have been putting off until now.

It’s time to think about P.K. Subban, Nashville Predator!

As Bruins fans, there was so much good stuff to hate about PK Subban, Montreal Canadien. He was the perfect villain on the ice; remember that time in game 7 in 2011 when he tucked Gregory Campbell’s stick under his arm and launched himself into outer space, drawing the most ridiculous penalty ever? Or remember any of his back-breaking goals against the Bruins, his lethal slapshot finding the back of the net just enough times to be infuriating?

“But he’s so good,” neutral fans wondered in our direction, often and frequently. “How could you hate such a good player, who does so much for his community, whose numbers on the ice are excellent and whose actions off it are even better?”

“Also you drafted his brother, come on.”

The simple answer, the one usually given to these fans, was that we hate the logo on the front, regardless of the player whose name is on the back of the jersey. And for most instances, this is accurate. Bruins-Habs is a legendary rivalry dating back generations. A lot of us were raised to unconditionally hate the Canadiens. For example, I will never personally enjoy anything with Max Pacioretty in it. I will laugh at Dave Stubbs being salty about Alex Ovechkin breaking Maurice Richard’s points record forever. And if Carey Price ever goes to another team, my residual hockey hate for him will likely follow him to the end of his career. Even with players like Glen Metropolit and Steve Begin - guys who had played for the Habs, and became Bruins - we needed time to be fully comfortable seeing those guys in black and gold.

In Subban’s case though, that hate was incredibly superficial. P.K. transcended all of that nonsense. How many times did we make #offersheetPK jokes when the Canadiens needed to sign him? How many bad photoshops of PK in a Bruins jersey did we do? Would we ever - ever! - do that for any other Canadiens player? (No. Resounding no.) We griped and groaned about hating him on the ice, but the reality is - we hated how good he was only because he constantly made us miserable.

But now he’s in Nashville.

And now we can appreciate him as many of us have always (not so) secretly very much wanted to do.

We can finally set our hockey differences aside and acknowledge the fact that he’s a fantastic human being who has done more for charity than most people do in their lifetime, taking on the Montreal Childrens’ Hospital as his personal project, pledging $10 million to that foundation and visiting the kids in his spare time, even after he was traded.

We can acknowledge that he’s a funny dude: he embraced Nashville immediately upon arrival, singing Johnny Cash at a bar and doing his best to ingratiate himself to the community that is his new home.

He’s not the enemy anymore. He’s just another dude playing in the Western Conference, being damn good at hockey and a damn good human being.

PK is not playing tonight as the Bruins take on the Predators in Nashville, but he’ll likely be back from injury in March when the Preds come to the Garden. I’m not saying that the Garden should laud him as a returning hero who has shucked the yoke of the garbage team that drafted him, but...if you go to that game, maybe talk him up to your neighbors. Maybe tweet about how good it is to see him back on the ice, playing for a team that we only see at home once a year.

As Bruins fans, it’s perfectly acceptable to embrace your love for PK Subban, Nashville Predator. We as a blog have been here from day 1. Come join the party.