Fault Lies With Subban, Not Stone

Montreal’s PK Subban is one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. He’s a candidate for the Norris Trophy and a pivotal part of the Habs defence.

He also crossed a line last night – slashing Ottawa’s Mark Stone across the wrist, receiving a game misconduct for his troubles.

Yet some claim a great injustice has befallen the Toronto native – when really he has no one to blame but himself.

A little under 9 minutes in to a wild second period, Subban’s attempt to ‘disrupt’ Stone boils down to nothing more than two handed chop – just meters from the referee:

That’s not a stick lift, a nudge to put Stone off balance or an old fashioned grab to tie up an arm – it’s a slash. A nasty one. One for which Subban was rightly ejected, with both the need to get rid of such ‘plays’ and the rule book against the Habs blue liner:

Is Subban the first hockey player to cross a line? No, of course not. He himself has received his share of barbs over the years. Does that excuse his actions? No, no and no again.

It’s a cheap ‘play’ that has left Stone with a micro fracture in his wrist, side lining the Senators rookie for an undetermined amount of time – though some seem to hold the belief Stone’s reaction is to blame here, not the two handed slash he received.

While the sport so readily applauds those who play through pain, it’s disappointing to see the lack of perspective on show over the past 18 hours.

There is no one here to blame but Subban. That ‘play’ doesn’t need to happen; but Subban made the decision to do it anyway, perhaps subconsciously – which might be the most worrying element of all – but it happened and he has no right to complain.

Whether Stone came back for 1 minute, 10 minutes or not at all is irrelevant; the referee made the right call both by the book and really by what should be classed as ‘right’. Two handed hacks of this nature shouldn’t be tolerated or defended.

The idea players respect each other less now is bull plop – there’s always been a line people are willing to cross, and this era is no different to any other (see stick fights…). And there is no doubt part of what makes the game great is the physical aspect of it.

It’s the same as it always was in many regards.

And that’s how a lot of folk may like it; but it doesn’t mean acts such as Subban’s slash on Stone should be tolerated or allowed to pass. Quite the opposite.

Sadly talk about ‘injury severity’ and assorted spurious reasoning as to who is or isn’t at fault have become part and parcel of such incidents. Whacky theories and home town bias comes in to play, with bizarre reasons used to condone or inflame situations – when the simple reality of this unsavoury incident is that one player delivered a nasty slash on another.

Perhaps the NHL has done itself little favour here, adding notes on what severity of penalty should be handed out based on whether an injury is caused; but are we to assume two handed slashes are ‘condoned’, or only a 2 minute minor, as long as no one gets hurt?

The Department of Player Safety have let it rest; but if ever there was a catalyst for this series to get nasty, this is it.


About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on April 16, 2015, in 2015 Stanley Cup Play-Offs, Hockey, Montreal Canadiens, NHL and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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