Subban doesn't deserve heat

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:23 PM ET

There are all kinds of NHLers who should apologize.

We’ll start with those who carelessly dish out hits to the head or from behind or with their sticks and put players careers — and lives — at risk while putting the game in disrepute.

But the list doesn’t end there.

The NHL has its share of jerks who treat people around them with disdain, has its share of bad actors who don’t appreciate how fortunate they really are and those who contribute so little for seven-figure salaries they should be wearing a ski mask and carrying a sawed-off shotgun every second week when they collect their paycheque.

However, Montreal Canadiens rookie defenceman P.K. Subban should never have to apologize for celebrating an overtime goal, which he essentially did after tallying to beat the Calgary Flames this week.

“I should have just celebrated with my teammates, because it’s a team win,” he said. “To be honest with you, I wasn’t thinking, I was just ‘Oh my God!’ I was just pumped, I’m just happy I scored the goal for the guys.”

He had enthusiasm, but never showed an ounce of disrespect to the opposition with some choreographed in-your-face antics such as pulling out a Sharpie and signing the puck before handing it to one of the Flames.

Yet, Subban took flak for it.

Alex Ovechkin’s enthusiasm when he or even a teammate tallies is embraced — although that “my stick’s too hot to touch” act was goofy.

Yes, Subban is a rookie, therefore people want to remind him of “his place”, but that’s short-sighted.

When a player celebrates and actual accomplishment — it’s fair to say an overtime winner falls into that category — they should show unbridled enthusiasm. As long as they’re not being disrespectful, since the only thing worse than a poor loser is a poor winner.

The NHL needs players to show their personality, otherwise the league will be just as dull as the PGA Tour, with a collection of players who are as hard to differentiate as storm troopers from Star Wars going out week after week and plodding along to those 10th- to 20th-place finishes.

Subban has taken deserved criticism for chirping on the ice from those who believe he must learn where to draw the line.

It’s time to draw the line on what to criticise him for, too.

FLAMING C-NOTES

In these dark days, Flames fans needing a chuckle may want to check out the Olli Jokinen dance (http://fuldans.se/?v=xapeifcwtg). You’ll feel like going to a disco in Helsinki ... A report this week said the Flames were offered Tomas Fleischmann, then of the Washington Capitals, for Robyn Regehr but former GM Darryl Sutter balked. Yes, Fleischmann is younger has a much lower salary and scored at an impressive rate since going to Colorado for Scott Hannan, but a one-for-one deal would have been bad for the Flames. Fleischmann is due to be a UFA and the Flames have too often been forced to over-pay for players in that scenario ... Should the Flames opt to trade Miikka Kiprusoff, another netminding option could be pending UFA Craig Anderson in Colorado, who was actually drafted by Calgary in 1999

HOCKEY TALKY

Talk about too easy of a target. Tim Horton’s in Toronto is selling the Leafs Donut in honour of their local heroes. Where do you start with the lines? Where do you end after asking whether the inspiration was Vesa Toskala? ... If the Detroit Red Wings do sign Evgeni Nabokov and he has to go through waivers, don’t you want the St. Louis Blues to claim the former Sharks netminder just to make a point after losing Marek Svatos (Nashville) and Kyle Wellwood (San Jose) trying to bring in a player? Speaking of Wellwood, there has to be a few more Leafs Donut jokes there, too ... No matter what, I just can’t help but think there will be a goalie controversy when the Vancouver Canucks are marching to at least the Western Conference final, likely to face the Detroit Red Wings ... Of the 15 goals scored by Marian Gaborik prior to Thursday night’s game against Carolina, consider this trend: Four of his goals have come against both Toronto and the New York Islanders and another three against Edmonton. Now that’s feasting on the bottom teams ... Want a sure way to win a division? Go with Philadelphia 12-1-1 against fellow Atlantic Division teams.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Listen, we’re No. 30 so every team is better than us. We can’t take a day off because they’re missing a couple of superstars.” New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur to NHL.com on facing the Pittsburgh Penguins without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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