P.K. Subban has been called a lot of names over the years for various reasons, some more innocent than others. On Thursday night, name-calling went way too far. After he scored two goals including the overtime game-winner against the Boston Bruins in Game 1, he was the subject of a deluge of racist tweets.
Perhaps triggered by the volume of tweets, the Bruins spoke out against the appalling words, releasing an official statement Friday. Subban was silent about the disheartening acts until after his Montreal Canadiens dropped a 5-3 decision in Game 2 to the Bruins in Boston Saturday afternoon.
Though he has every right to be upset by the actions and no one would think less of him for speaking in anger or frustration, Subban struck a more reserved tone. In fact, Subban came to the defense of the Bruins organization and the wider fan base that does not act in the hateful ways as those on Thursday.
“First things first, the Boston Bruins are an original six franchise, they have been around for a very long time, they are respected,” Subban said. “It’s completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base. They have passionate fans here, great fan base and since I’ve been in the league it’s been awesome. I’ve come to Boston many times, my family has come here, and it’s been great.
“What people may say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins. So whoever that is, they’ll get dealt with, but it’s completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins organization. I know some of those players personally on that team, like I said, the fan base has been awesome, they are a great bunch of fans.”
“It’s unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago,” he continued. “It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey, and that’s what we are going to talk about. So I’m happy now that we can just move on. You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league, you see how people come together and it’s great.”
Consider the fact that Subban is making these comments after his team just had a third-period collapse in a huge playoff game, when emotions may have been running high for on-ice reasons as opposed to those from off. Also note that Subban barely addresses those that spewed such vile thoughts at him, rather focusing on the people who didn't.
The fact that he seems to care more about how his opponents are viewed than what happened to him is rather telling.
Don’t take it as indifference, though. By barely acknowledging those small-minded individuals, Subban shows whatever they think or say will have no impact on him (at least not publicly).
Though often criticized for his play on the ice, be it questionable hits (like many players deliver) or overt goal celebrations or simply having too much fun, Subban has been a consummate professional. He is open with the media, he is heavily involved with charities and connecting with fans. On top of all that he’s actually a lot of fun to watch play the game.
Most Bruins fans don’t like Subban for the same reasons they don’t like any Canadiens players. That’s as far as it should go, especially when Subban gives no valid reasons to think less of him as a player or person. After his comments Saturday, even Bruins fans have reason to applaud a Hab.