Criticism of Subban’s scoring celebration indicts his critics, not him

Adam Proteau
P.K. Subban (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
P.K. Subban (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s little in the hockey world more tedious than when the guardians of the Morose-O-Meter decide a player isn’t emotionless enough for their liking. A familiar target for Her Majesty’s Fellowship Of Wet Blankets is P.K. Subban – and the Canadiens star defenseman was back in their crosshairs after celebrating scoring the game-winning overtime goal Thursday night against Ottawa.

Asked about it Friday in Toronto, Subban said, simply, “I don’t care.” Good for him, because he shouldn’t give a damn whether anyone – fans, owners, GMs or players – is enraged by what he did. This was overtime of an important divisional showdown. The game mattered, the goal mattered and bitching about anything else doesn’t matter.

Look, I get being upset if an NHLer goes completely over the top after scoring. Using Subban as an example, this is what I’d consider over the top:

1. Subban cartwheels down the ice, pulls out a cigar, snips the end, lights it, and skates over to Senators players to blow smoke in their faces;

2. Subban brushes the dirt off his shoulders, begins mean-mugging and using his fingers a la vintage Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, spells out ‘K-H-L’ in the air;

3. Subban leaves the ice and beings fraudulently selling and packaging $200 billion worth of suspect mortgage-linked securities, triggering another global financial meltdown.

4. I think that’s it. Give me a minute. Yeah, that’s it.

Anytime the NHL turns into the No Happiness League, the chief scowls and tsk-tskers need to be reminded this is an entertainment business, not a fraternity initiation. The idea of “acting like you’ve been there before” is nice, but think of it this way: we ask these guys to care about nothing more than winning and then turn around and demand a robotic response when they actually do win. It’s preposterous, it’s an awful way to try and convince kids hockey is fun, and, as has been the case since sport began, the best revenge isn’t complaining about the way the winners behave.

The best revenge is shutting up, moving on and beating that winner next time to prevent them from celebrating.