By now you’ve seen the P.K. Subban slash heard throughout the hockey world. In Game One of the battle for Eastern Canada, Subban released a violent chop on the wrist of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone. He of seemingly every big goal the Senators have scored over the last month.
If you haven’t seen this yet, or you root for the Senators and want to feel blinding rage again, here is another look at Subban and his “Ax Men” audition tape:
I can’t remember anyone reacting to a slash so quickly and in obviously pain as Stone did. Turns out there was good reason to as Stone was diagnosed with a microfracture in his wrist. Thoughts are this will put Stone out for at least the rest of this series, maybe the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Though GM Brian Murray, in true playoff style, committed to none of that.
Earlier today Stephane Quintal, representing the Department of Player Safety and not his former employer, said P.K. Subban would face no other discipline for the slash. Let me take things one issue at a time. I’ll get to Quintal.
First, P.K. Subban is one of my favorite players in the league that doesn’t play for the team I root for (Buffalo). I love the offense he brings and the fact he plays with such emotion on such a tradition-rich franchise is very interesting to me. And fun to watch. He deserves to be talked about with élite defencemen in the NHL.
Which is why I have such an issue with this slash. Subban is talented enough to know how to get back into position and make this play. He has the speed to close the gap on Stone and meet him in front of the net without trying to remove his hand with the slash. He could skate in and lift the stick while playing the body, eliminating Stone as a scoring threat.
Instead of that, Subban unleashed a violent chop on Stone. The referee was in perfect position in the corner to catch it and made the correct call throwing Subban out of the game. Making this worse for me is knowing that Subban has the skill to make this play differently and chose to slash instead. He got what he deserved at the moment with the major penalty.
The temper tantrum Subban throws when he sees a penalty is called is a joke. You make that play in clear view of the referee and he is going to see it. To react by jumping on the ice and screaming in protest of the penalty is sad to watch. You are an elite player in the league with a letter on your sweater, playing for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Act like the leader your team thinks you are.
Now, back to Quintal and the Department of Player Safety. If you had any doubt it would take a felony to get suspended in the Stanley Cup playoffs, that doubt is gone now. The league earns all the criticism it gets on discipline and more because time after time there is no consistency in delivering it.
One thing I don’t want to hear is discipline being fixed or a bias existing. Yes, Quintal used to play for the Canadiens. But again, the league hasn’t been consistent in any way with discipline. Quintal being involved in whether to suspend P.K. Subban is coincidence, nothing more.
Chris Pronger knows better too. He has a rap sheet longer than most bad guys on your favorite crime drama. If Pronger had slashed Stone instead of Subban he would have been suspended. Would he? I think so. I question it because of the lack of consistency.
If the league won’t discipline Subban or players making similar acts, then players need freedom to police the game better on the ice. But no, we want fighting out of the game. And heaven forbid one of the Senators takes a whack at Subban or Alex Galchenyuk and knocks them out of the game. Will the Senators player get suspended? Imagine the uproar if they did. Or would it be met with exhaustion and confusion?
All of that could have been cooled off by suspending Subban for two games. It would have evened up the series considering Stone’s injury. Even if he plays he won’t be the scorer he had been. Shooters need their hands and wrists healthy, and we know his aren’t because of a play that should have ended with a suspension.
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