After one of the better sleeps I’ve had in maybe …three years, I was up getting a good chunk of my to do list done Friday morning. But as I always do, if I have a chance to, I took a break, poured another coffee and sat back to listen to TSN analyst Bob McKenzie’s segment on the TSN 690 Montreal Morning Show. The main topic of course was the amazing game between the Canadiens and Senators Thursday in which Habs defenseman and defending Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban scored the overtime winner. But McKenzie and the morning crew were hoping what Subban did after scoring that winner and earning a huge two points against a division rival didn’t become topic du jour as the day went on. Well unfortunately but not unexpectedly, it did.
“The key word there is unnecessary,” a disgruntled Craig Anderson said following Senators practice Friday. “I didn’t see us when we scored our overtime goal throwing our jersey up like that. It’s one of those things – it’s his character. It should make us all angry here and make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
With all due respect to Anderson and in the words of ‘Sergeant Hulka’ in Stripes:
“Lighten up Francis!”
Or in this case “lighten up” Craig and all the media and fans a like that took to Twitter and the airwaves criticizing Subban throughout the day Friday claiming he over did it and lacked class with his goal celebration. How much character does it show when a goalie that defined the word sieve throughout that game Thursday night is more worried about talking about a goal celebration than admitting he needs to be better and not let in the softie that led to that celebration. I admittedly am more of the “act like you’ve been there before” crowd and have been critical of Subban and other hockey players when they don’t. If your team is trailing 4-1 or even up 4-1 then of course the right thing to do is to hug and high five your teammates and move on.
But last time I checked, scoring an overtime winner against a division rival that has had your number and ousted you from the playoffs is something to celebrate and get excited about. If that’s not part of your character, then you shouldn’t be in the NHL or even pro sports! Too often – and I’ve been guilty of this too – the media and fans complain that the NHL regular season is too long and lacks excitement until the final month and the Stanley Cup playoffs. But now when a player provides that excitement and enthusiasm in the dog days of the season, he gets bashed and his character is questioned? Did it show character when Senators coach Paul MacLean called a timeout in the waning minutes of a blowout win by his team in their first round playoff series with the Canadiens last spring? If anything, that lacked way more class than Subban’s celebration.
Here’s hoping the next time the Senators and Habs meet, they give us another barnburner like they did this past Thursday. If Anderson comes up huge — as his counterpart Carey Price did Thursday — and makes an incredible save to win the game in the shootout, then by all means may he celebrate as if he won a playoff game because if team’s aren’t winning games at this point of the season with playoff intensity and exuberance then they may not find themselves playing in the playoffs.
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