P.K. Subban Under Fire for Being P.K. Subban

By
Updated: January 18, 2014
photo credit: bridgetds via photopin cc

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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7 Comments

  1. Francis

    January 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I always wonder why the elephant in the room is not addressed. Yes, this is all true because his name is P.K. Subban, and I appreciate your article and pointing out the double standards here. A lot gets written about P.K. in a negative light, when other players are left untouched despite doing similar or worse things. Much of this is also focused on P.K.’s “personality” and “flamboyance”. Why doesn’t anyone have the bruan to say something else….Yes, this is true because his name is P.K. Subban, but if P.K. Subban was white, would it matter? The elephant in the room and what is left out of all these articles on P.k. P.K. is black, and when he gets treated differently than every other player because of his “personality” and “flamboyance”, how can writers keep ignoring this?

    • Aaron B

      January 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      I consistently say it. The politically correct world is terrified to speak the obvious truth.

      Since PK’s first day in a Habs jersey, he has set a new precedent for black players in the NHL. He outskated and arguably outplayed two dominant NHL stars in his first playoff stint with the Habs and was a major factor in their surprise run to the Conference finals that year.

      But the media criticized him for being cocky. They didn’t talk about his fluid motion of the puck, his confidence as a 20 year old, his ability to fully control the speed and flow of a hockey game. They talked about him being cocky – because he is black.

      His second season, he proves again that he’s not only fast, but he can hit, he can throw his weight, and that he can….wait…I’ll leave fight out of this. He gets called out by Philidelphia for standing up for Andrei Kostitsyn. I’m pretty sure I saw Richards take off his pointy mask just before he said it. Brad Richards didn’t like a black player making him look bad when he was trying to bully Kostitsyn.

      I don’t have to go on. PK has consistently proved that he is above and beyond most NHL defensemen in all aspects of the game, but the media will still run with his “attitude” because it goes with the hype.

      Defensive liability. Check stats, Erik Karlsson has WAY more giveaways than PK Subban this season. Has anybody mentioned that? Only Subban himself, Thursday night, when he capitalized on a Karlsson turnover to win the game.

      He makes a statement, and the media calls him out for celebrating…. not because he celebrated, but because he ….. is black.

      • Ben Kerr, Admin

        January 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        Should be Mike Richards, but other than that, I see your point. Some of the flack he takes may be racially motivated.

        He’s not the typical black hockey player… he has the NBA or NFL attitude on a hockey rink and i think that drives the old school hockey types nuts… whereas a guy like Jarome Iginla doesn’t have that same flamboyance, so he doesn’t face the same issues of colour.

    • Shawn Wilken, Analyst

      January 18, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      I stopped short of flat-out bringing up the color issue by offering this sentiment;

      “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?”

  2. Tim Sarrazin

    January 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Couldn’t have said it any better myself. PK is constantly ostracized for everything he does yet he is pure heart and loves playing for his childhood team…. If PK pots an OT goal in Sochi and reacts the same… I’m sure there won’t be many complaining

  3. jack stone

    January 19, 2014 at 3:55 am

    It’s not subban’s skin colour that gets him in trouble. Yak and Ovie were also criticized for their celebrations. I hate how everyone thinks everything is racist.

  4. Seamus Iteverwas

    January 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Darren Pang said it best:

    http://youtu.be/-tNVwQUJoik

    It’s bigotry plain and simple

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