we get it. No, really, we get it. WE UNDERSTAND, Pensblog. And Mr. Cherry. And Mr. Richards. And Miss Lupul. And the rest of you. You think our little guy is disrespectful. Or arrogant. Or a cheapshotting punk. Or too big for his britches. Got you, loud and clear.
No, I didn't say uppity. No, I don't think you are all American History X/National Front/Chelsea Headhunters racists. Do I think some of you aren't exactly comfortable discussing PK's race? Maybe, but I don't think there is a global old white guy conspiracy to keep PK down like some sort of 21st century Roots. Part of the problem might be stupid stuff like this that only served to set off sirens in everyone's head that make everything about PK Subban somehow a racial issue.
PK is an issue because he's a potential star in one of the biggest markets in the NHL, a market that has been starved of a) any real success and b) a true superstar for almost 20 years. It's an issue because the captain of another major market team (Richards) spouted off about respect and people ran with it, with Montreal fans defending PK, traditionalists defending Richards' sentiments and Montreal haters piling on. It's an issue because a media icon (Cherry) jumped on the story, and TSN's Darren Pang Freudian slipped into infamy, and PK scored an overtime winner and celebrated too much, and threw on a Carolina jersey to play up to the fans, and didn't do the right thing in a fight with Lupul, who just happened to be a recent addition to the most widely followed team in the NHL.
Does PK need to zip it sometimes? Probably. Is he unfairly singled out for criticism? In a league where the Islanders pull their stunt from last Friday, and Matt Cooke remains employed, and the Bruins see nothing wrong with firing punches at guys who are already beaten to the ice, and owners get indicted, and players are rumoured to be sleeping with teammates wives, yeah, I think the whole "PK is disrespectful" angle gets a little too much play. Sadly, such is life on a team with such a polarizing place in the game. It works both ways. I can read 1000 "Brian Burke is a blowhard jackass who lucked into a Cup, ha hah ha Kessel trade" articles for every mention of the amazing support he and his family show towards the gay community in Toronto and elsewhere in the wake of Brendan Burke's coming out. Life in the internet age isn't always fair and balanced.
The challenge for PK is to continue to learn how to be a good professional hockey player without curtailing his unique skill set too much. The challenge for Canadiens fans is to not take any criticism of PK's attitude as a personal affront. People didn't like Patrick Roy's attitude either, you know. A guy named Chris Chelios didn't win a lot of friends his rookie year. Ask Mike Milbury what he thought of Guy Lafleur. Even that Rocket fellow ran afoul of his colleagues once or twice. PK will learn, or not. If he does, the Canadiens and the league will benefit. If he doesn't, the league and the Canadiens will move on. And so will everyone else.
What does this have to do with Buffalo? Well, PK is playing versus Buffalo tonight, if that helps.
What, you guys again?: For what seems like the millionth time, Buffalo meets the Habs at the Bell Centre ce soir. 7:30 on RDS, Versus, and TSN-Habs. Canadiens stopped three game losing streak with Saturday's shutout of Toronto, while (look out!) Sabres are a runaway train lately, winning 7 of 10 and sneaking to within 4 points of the playoffs with a bunch of games in hand.
Leading the charge: Sabres are getting scoring from Drew Stafford (8 goals in 4 games) and Tomas Vanek (7 points in 4) with rookie Tyler Ennis starting to find his feet in the absence of whining diving crybaby Derek Roy. Habs are being lead by the kids lately, as Max Pac (4 points in 3) DDD (First star on Saturday, 6 points in his past three) are helping out uber-consistent Pleks (10 points in 9).
Dragging the boat down: This space might soon become the Scott Gomez and Andrei Kostitsyn memorial paragraph, if they don't start scoring more consistently. Unless it becomes the "OMG, we gave up Jaro for a stiff, Lars Eller is way over matched right now" memorial paragraph. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Lars Eller has one more point that Josh Gorges. Josh Gorges is a low-scoring defenseman WHO HAS MISSED THE LAST TWENTY GAMES. When Squid gets back, please send Eller to Hamilton for the Max Pac treatment. Thank you. Sabres are hard charging towards 8th and have a lot of guys hot, but would be even better with some more help from Paul Gaustad and Rob Niedermayer.
Not Miller time. Price is Right: Cliched headlines abound when the Sabres and Habs meet, because Ryan Miller and Carey Price usually man the nets and the mainstream media is full of idiots. Let's see how the spin the fact that Jhonas Enroth is rumoured to be starting in goal for Buffalo, ending a string of starts for Miller that began on November 26. Suddenly, I'm worried Alex Auld will break down under his massive workload backing up Price.
Owies: Whining diving crybaby Derek Roy is out for the season with a bruised va-jay-jay ... no, wait, he had surgery on his left quadriceps. Sissy. Walk it off. Steve Montador is questionable after being concussed in the head. Habs missing long-term absentees Markov, Gorges, Cammy (for a few more days). Darche and Max Pac are probable for tonight, and Hal Gill and Spacek are questionable so the Habs called up big fella Brendan Nash from Hamilton.
Read this, if only for the title: Die By the Blade.
After game entertainment: See if these ladies want to trade up from Pominville and whining diving crybaby Roy.