So, Mike Richards is accusing P.K. Subban, who's never said a cocky word in public in his time with the Canadiens, of thinking he's "better than everybody else?" Richards thinks Subban is going have "something happen to him" if he doesn't "earn respect" in the NHL? Mike Richards?! He's got to be kidding.
This is the man who was named by a fraternity president at Temple University as one of a group that crashed a campus party and drank the kids' booze without paying for anything. Extremely respectful and classy behaviour there.
This is the guy who's a key member of the Flyers' young guard, which was called out by team GM Paul Holmgren last summer. Holmgren, no shrinking violet on or off the ice when he played, admitted the coaches thought the team's young guys were partying too much. The implication, of course, when those stories came up during last season while the Flyers were losing, was that the team worried the partying was partly responsible for their poor play. The captain was one of the people named in some stories. His response? He decided to blame the media and refused to speak with reporters for weeks. He accused his team's beat writers, respected journalists among them, in a Hockey News article, of making things up to hurt him and his teammates. That's just exactly the kind of behaviour any team would like to see from its captain; a guy who's "earned respect" in the NHL.
When he's not ignoring the media, Richards is whining to it (when he catches his breath after whining to the refs all game). Last month he called the Penguins a bunch of divers and Matt Cooke a chicken. He said, "Obviously, in a one-goal game at the end of a period he tries to come after me, but when Sidney Crosby fights Carcillo, maybe I'll fight him." Huh? The martyr act doesn't sit well on a guy who's so "respected" in the NHL, especially when he's captain of a team that sends its goon out on a PP with a minute to go in the third period of a lost cause.
He's labelled Alexander Ovechkin "dirty," and warned his hits to players' heads could hurt someone. That's rich, coming from the perpetrator of one of the dirtiest head shots in the post-lockout NHL. His K-O of Florida's David Booth wasn't just disgusting in its own right, but the fact that it went unpunished forced Colin Cambell to let Cooke off with a similar offence against Marc Savard. That's a precedent every fan would naturally like his team captain to set.
It's all okay, though, if you're Mike Richards, because you've "earned respect" in the NHL, and you're not "too cocky." What I'd like to know is, what, exactly, did P.K.Subban do to draw the ire of such a paragon of hockey virtue? Did Subban dare to hit Richards? Shut him down defensively? Score a bunch of points against his team? Yap at him in the corners? Perhaps it's all of the above.
P.K.Subban is a very good young player who's handled the intense media scrutiny in Montreal with dignity and class. He's done everything required of a professional hockey player, including going to rookie camp when he obviously was too good to be there, and going with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He worked like a dog all summer to get into the best physical shape of his life. He works for charity and mentors poor kids in his off time. Even though he's young, rich and handsome, he's never been accused of putting his play at risk because of his partying. He's brash, exciting and no doubt irritating to those he's beating, but he's not done anything to warrant criticism of his character.
So, Mike Richards thinks Subban is going to have "something" happen to him? That's a threat, coming from a douche who already attempted to remove an opponent's head from his body. If anything happens to P.K.Subban on Monday night or any other night against the Flyers, the NHL should suspend his ass until the spring. Sometimes, class and respect are earned by the things a player says as well as those he does. Richards isn't exactly coming across as a positive example for a rookie player; more like a whining sore loser. Who is he to judge when someone has earned his stripes in the NHL? Richards would be better off worrying about his own image and keeping his advice for opponents inside his gaping pie hole. Now, that's respect.
Good on Subban for his response. He said he respects Richards for all the Flyer captain has accomplished, and he also served notice he's not going to modify his style. "What am I going to do," he wondered today? "Not hit anyone or say anything, just because I'm a rookie. It's not going to happen." Subban will learn how far to go in his own time. It's not for Mike Richards to tell him anything.