Stevenson: Outrage the right response to Subban racism

P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens is congratulated by teammates on the bench after scoring...

P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens is congratulated by teammates on the bench after scoring in the first period against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Second Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 1, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/AFP)

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

BOSTON - Stay classy, Bruins fan.

The hail of water bottles, yellow towels and other crap that rained down on the Montreal Canadiens as they celebrated P.K. Subban’s double overtime winner Thursday night was nothing to the torrent of vile, racist garbage that was unleashed in Subban’s direction on Twitter in the ensuing 24 hours.

Judging by the reaction, having Subban score the winner – it was his second of the night in the 4-3 win which gave the Habs a 1-0 lead in their Atlantic Division final heading into Game 2 Saturday afternoon – was just about the worst possible outcome imaginable for what is likely a very small minority of racist fans.

There are idiots in every city and certainly the comments are not reflective of the majority of Bruins fans (there’s no excuses for the miscreants who fired water bottles – some of them appearing close to full – in the Habs’ direction as they exited the ice).

“It would be nice to be kind of naïve and wish it didn’t happen and that stuff wasn’t out there, but it is. I guess you have to just shake it off and understand that it’s a small group of individuals, I don’t think that represents their fan base or the NHL in any way. It’s a small group of ignorant people,” was the remarkably mature take from 21-year-old Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher.

Subban wasn’t one of the four players the Canadiens made available to the media Friday along with coach Michel Therrien. The aftermath was a topic for the Habs entourage at breakfast Friday.

“Honestly, I just heard about it like 30 minutes ago. This is inappropriate. There’s no one (who deserves) to be treated like that,” said Therrien. “No matter what, if you’re a professional athlete, no one deserves to be treated like this. P.K.’s got all of our support.

“I’m certainly going to sit down with him and talk to him tonight, but he’s got all of our support,” said Therrien.

“(It’s) very disappointing, very disappointing. I don’t want to go making any other comments. P.K.’s got our support. I’m shocked. Honestly, I’m shocked to hear those type of comments. I’m shocked.”

There’s an argument to be made not to call attention to the whack jobs out there because that is exactly what they want. But to ignore something like this is the equivalent of condoning it. Even if it is a small minority of human trash, they need to be called out on it.

This isn’t like keeping the cameras off some attention-seeking idiot who runs on the field at a sporting event.

Outrage is the only appropriate response.

“The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday’s game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization,” said Bruins president Cam Neely in a statement.

“There’s absolutely no room for that. It’s classless. It goes beyond being a fan in hockey,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. “There’s really no room for this in 2014 at all. It’s really ignorant.”

“It’s poor judgment, poor taste and we don’t associate ourselves with people like that,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “People who think that way are not what we call our fans.

“There are a lot of good fans out there and that’s the sad part about it, that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that from people who don’t belong in that same group.”

Game 1 concluded with a lot of things thrown at the Habs which pretty much was the way things went during the game.

The Bruins launched 98 shot attempts at Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (51 shots on goal, 30 blocked and 17 missed). That resulted in a Corsi by percentage of 62.8% (the Los Angeles Kings led the regular season with a Corsi of 56.7%).

The Habs ranked 26th in the NHL in the regular season with a Corsi of 47.2% and the analytics folks will tell you over the long-term that will catch up to a team. The thing that can skew it is what we saw in Game 1 and that’s Price putting on a goaltending display that was reminiscent of Canadiens Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden against the Bruins here in 1971.

Common sense will tell you that cannot be sustained over the long term.

“I think we got away with one (Thursday). We all know that,” said Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek, who struggled in Game 1 and was demoted from the first to the fourth line at one point as Therrien juggled his lines in an attempt to get things going.

“We’re happy that we won Game 1. I don’t think any of us are happy with how we won. We just need to improve by tomorrow and I’m sure we will,” said Vanek.

“We’re up a game, but we shouldn’t be. But that’s good. Now we need to step up and help Carey (Saturday).”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


MIKE ZEISBERGER BREAKS DOWN ALL 16 PLAYOFF TEAMS

-Click the box below for the skinny on who's in and who's out of Stanley Cup contention



Videos

Photos