During the 2004-05 NHL lock-out, the league and it’s comissioner, Gary Bettman, made the decision to change some of the rules. In particular; two-line pass offsides were abolished, the reinstatement of touch-up offsides and how hooking and holding minors are officiated. The reason for doing this? To add excitement to the game.
Since the expansion years in the mid-nineties, the neutral zone trap had become popular and scoring goals was on the decline. Due to this nature, interest, particularly in the United States, also met a decline.
More goals, more excitement, right? Right…
So when a hockey player in the NHL scores a goal for his team, what follows? A celebration, of course! Since the beginning of the sports’ existence, celebrating a goal after scoring one was and still is as natural as having to swim to surface when you run out of oxygen. It’s something you do. Some players raise their sticks. Some players hug their teammates. Others show a little more of an eccentric side, with more colorful ways of displaying their excitement. At the end of the day, they are celebrating a goal that they scored because they are excited and happy that they were able to contribute for their team.
Is that not what Gary Bettman wanted? More excitement? Excitement equals ratings, does it not?
So in the year 2014, when a player scores an overtime goal, winning the game for his team, it’s only natural to feel that need to celebrate with his team. …right?
There is one exception to this rule of “celebrating a goal” in today’s game;
Your name can not be P.K. Subban.
Once again, we are in the year 2014. We are years removed from Sean Avery doing push-ups after scoring, Alexander Ovechkin pretending to warm up his hands over his stick that was on fire and Andrew Ference giving the middle finger salute to the Bell Centre in Montreal. All three got their fair share of ridicule by the media, but not as much as P.K. Subban. Why?
Because he’s P.K. Subban
We want excitement! We want ratings! We want passion! Fans want their team to CARE when they score goals, when their goalie makes a big save and when they win a game. Coaches and General Managers want their players to play with intensity night in and night out – just don’t celebrate a goal. Why?
Because he’s P.K. Subban.
How dare he!? Losing his mind, jumping into his teammates arms, waiving the logo on his jersey to the many Habs fans who made the trip to Ottawa. He can’t do that. That’s disrespectful to the game, that’s direspectful to the opposition, that’s a black eye to the game of hockey. Why? Professional athletes often point to the name on the back of their jersey, which is hard to defend when you put yourself ahead of the team. But when you’re celebrating the logo on the front of the jersey, why is it that big of a problem?
Becuase he’s P.K. Subban.
A celebration should not be considered “news” in the sports world unless Joe Thornton pulls out his rooster friend and strokes it, or someone takes off a skate, stabs someone in the front row and performs a slip-and-slide down centre ice. Hyperbole aside, you get the point. But here we are, 48 hours removed from the Montreal Canadiens defeating the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa, and we are still talking about it. I’m a guilty member of the party, as I am talking about it as well when I write this article. This should not be a story worth talking about, let alone talking about it for two days and some change. Here we are. Why?
I’ll spare you this time. You know why.
Remember when Don Cherry chastised Nail Yakupov for his antics of celebrating a goal by sliding down centre ice, a la Theo Fleury? Never mind the fact that he tied the game for the Edmonton Oilers in a highly spirited game, what he did was repulsive. His coach didn’t seem to mind and even suggested that if Nail did that twenty or so more times that year, he’d be happy. Don Cherry’s response; typical Russian behaviour. A good ol’ Canadian boy would not do that.
Well, luckily P.K. Subban is from Toronto. Don’t hold your breath. Subban is no stranger to Cherry’s verbal assaults in the past and it will come to nobody’s surprise if Subban is the centre of attention on Coach’s Corner.
Bobby Clarke, a Canadian hockey HERO, will forever be remembered for being one of the all-time greats. Yet the slash he laid on Valeri Kharlamov, in game six of the 1972 Summit Series, that broke his ankle, taking him out of action? I guess you can call that “Good Ol’ Canadian hockey,” right?
Watch out P.K., you should quit celebrating goals before you face anymore criticism from the know-it-all’s in this world and the emotionally-scarred players of the opposing team that you embarrassed while scoring your goal! Go out there, break an ankle or two with a vicious slash and you should be fine. After all, that is what “Good Ol’ Canadian hockey” is all about. Score a goal, pretend like it’s the worst day of your life and then end the season of somebody that is having a better game than you.
We’ll call it the Bobby Clarke hat-trick.
P.K. is Canadian in the truest form. He plays a Canadian game and will represent Canada in Sochi for the Winter Olympics. He is proud to be Canadian. Born and raised in Toronto, P.K. should fall into the “Good Ol’ Canadian” label and be adored by Don Cherry and the rest of the Canadian media, should he not?
But he isn’t. Why?
Attitude problems? He is a young guy with a lot of heart and loves the game of hockey.
Respect problems? He respects the hell out of every player he plays against.
Diving? Not one player gets called out more for this. Not even Brad Marchand.
I wonder what could be the problem then. What is the difference between Canadian-born P.K. Subban and any other Canadian-born hockey player?
Let’s stop with the choking of any personality out of the athletes whom we celebrate and allow them to operate with a bit of sincerity of who they are.
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