Thursday, March 17, 2011

Waiting for Justice

I've wanted to write this blog for a week or so now, but I decided I would wait. I wanted to hold off until all the outrage and annoyed pique of commentators and NHL regulars after the most recent newsmaking by a cocky rookie had run their course.

Amazingly, I'm not talking P.K.Subban in this case. I'm talking about Brad Marchand. Last Tuesday, before the fateful game in which Zdeno Chara nearly killed Max Pacioretty, Marchand said in reference to the Habs: “They like to get in and shoot their mouths off and then when you hit them they’ll dive down and fall easy,” and “They stir the pot, and they got what they deserved . . . whatever anyone’s mad about, they can suck it up, it’s not our fault."

Interesting. A raw rookie, who, if most of them graduated from high school in junior hockey, would have had "most likely to be suspended" pencilled beside his mugshot in the yearbook, feels within his first-year rights to slag NHL Cup winners and thousand-game veterans.

Just imagine for one moment if it had been Subban who had uttered those statements about the Bruins or the Penguins. Got it in your head? Yeah. The spittle of the overheated and outraged critics would be flying as they outshouted each other to express their disapproval. The words "disrespectful," "cocky" and "arrogant" would be more overused than Roman Hamrlik. Yet, in the case of Marchand, there's silence from the peanut gallery.

Now recall Joffrey Lupul's comments about Subban "jumping" him in a fight last month. Both players had agreed to drop the gloves, and Lupul skated toward Subban, who punched him. Lupul cried foul because he hadn't had time to remove his helmet, even though he'd approached Subban first. Video of the "incident" and Lupul's comments, giving Subban the "benefit of the doubt...this time" aired on every TV sports show ad nauseum.

The night before last, Marchand, before the eyes of all 30 NHL GMs gathered in Boca to discuss head shots, skated up behind R.J.Umberger and nailed him in the head with an elbow. The incident got a quick mention on TSN, after a long discussion of the leafs playoff chances and the GM's review of spineramas during the shootout. It aired behind footage of Dany Heatley throwing an elbow at Steve Ott.

Does anyone think, for one moment, that if that had been Subban, that hit wouldn't have lead every sportscast? Of course it would have. And it would have been followed by a smug panel discussion between reporters and former pros who'd have shaken their heads and bemoaned the lack of respect displayed by that brash rookie in Montreal. Yet Marchand's hit is barely mentioned.

It doesn't make much sense. Why would there be such intolerance for Subban and everything he does, while another team's rookie who's no less (and, one could argue, more of) an on-ice agitator gets a free pass from the critics? Subban speaks with intelligence and humility, and gets blasted for celebrating a goal the wrong way. Marchand talks about an opponent with scorn and mockery and the critics gleefully broadcast his quotes.

We must conclude there is actually that much hatred for the Habs out there. The Candiens have won so much and held themselves above the rest of the league for so long, historically, that opponents are bitter. That must be it, right? Why else would Subban draw the ire of the league, while Marchand gets a pass?

Then again, maybe Marchand will be put in his place by the righteous critics. I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Anonymous said...

Yup, most people I know around North America who support other teams do not like the Habs. Would be intereting to conduct a poll to find out why. As far as Subban goes, I stand firm with my opinion that it's about race. We are so quick to dismiss that notion as this is the era of political correctness, but people don't change that fast.


RL said...

Dear J.T., Great Post! Like DanielleJam I too believe it has something to do with race. I mean we would be foolish to believe that a bunch of oldtimers and traditionalist would not be somewhat intimidated that a young africanamerican dipsy doodles, spins, and dangles like many great and yet... as you mentioned, he is most often frowned upon for "antics" (eg, goal celebration) while others are celebrated for creativity(Selane - skeetshooting, Avery -pushups).

Moreover, I forced to beleive that these feelings seep into the habs very own organization and locker room and conclude that the bad rep Subban gets is in part due to the laxck of support he got from his teammates at the neginning of the year and the granular dissection we give to our beloved team.

Ex: Had Subban been carried off as a hero following his overtime winner the league would not have made a fuss... but since Gomez and other veterans snuffed him... the press jumped on it.

Had his teammates and even coaches defend vs punished his superconfident attitude... the press would have given as much attention as they give Marchand.. But since he never got the proper backing by his teammates well then everyone else jumps in to critique.

I think Marchand should get some sort of notice for speaking out, but at the same time it goes to show you just how "important" he really is to the hockey commuity... The Habs... and PK however... are news worthy ;-)

Marco said...

It's clear enough that the race has to play a role concerning the critics about Subban.

DB said...

The NHL lives in a binary world where everything is either right or wrong.

People are slotted into two camps; the good guys who act properly and follow The Code, and the heretics who threaten to destroy the NHL by the numerous atrocities they commit by not following the unwritten rules of the elders.

The elders, the Don Cherrys and Brian Burkes, and their annointed successors like Mike Richards, must be on constant alert for heretics like Subban.

Every atrocity, whether it's an exuberant goal celebration or a player showing personality, is toxic and must be crushed by swift and constant condemnation. The troops must be rallied and the walls fortified. Otherwise the great enemies of facts, rational discussion and charisma may overwhelm the league and who would want that.

Anonymous said...

Pacioretti may come back? Hmmm...makes me question everything...

Philm said...

I gave them the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the season, chalking the anti Subban attitude as typical Habs hatred, but my patience ran out a while ago. You can can only go crazy about everything the black guy does for so long before it becomes clear that there's something there.

dusty said...

Am glad to see someone addressing the Marchand situation. Was feeling very alone regarding his insane remarks with no apparent backlash. Thank you.

Racism is having a noticeable revival in the US. This explains why Subban is booed in almost every rink in the States. I hope that his teammates don't suffer from the same dreaded disease. Marchand, on the other hand, represents the values of the white trash who love violence above all else.

moeman said...

Right vs. Wrong.

History vs. Futility.

Black vs. White.

Class vs. Crass.

Bonzo said...

I have been thinking the same thing for ages JT! I am a Habs fan and I think Subba is prolly one of the best things to happen to the league. Kinda reminds you of a Bobby Orr'esque type player. Becoming a true 2-way defensemen...really quickly! He may talk a bit of s**t once in a while, but who doesn't on that NHL ice?!!! Marchand has been seen with his aggitaor-like play all over the ice. I remember a game maybe a week or two ago that Marchand got a penalty for spearing in the groin area from behind on someone! That's totally disrespectful and his disrespect shows once again with a blindside elbow to Umberger, which only found Marchand with 2 games suspension. 2 games???!!!! That's it, but Chara gets off clean! NHL is sh****ng the bed once again! should been 5 plus! I think Campbell is too afraid to face his son's team personally and opts for a phone session with Boston. Controversy! Coincidence! I think many true hockey fans are thinking so!

Phil G said...

To Anonymous question patches early return.. Yes Mr.Anonymous...please do.I guess everything your brilliant mind can come up with:) Marchand is low life scum a lot the same lines as Sean Avery,Jarkko Ruutu,Ken Linseman (Proudly know by the B fans as the RAT), and the last but not least of the the very WORST Ulf Samuelsson.

Number31 said...

Marchand's a loudmouth, slewfooting little twat. They let him run around with nary a stern talking too and he finally throws the magic elbow.

To Anonymous: If you question Patches' early return you haven't paid any attention to him, as the minute he gets hurt and finds himself out of the lineup regardless of what ails him, he's on the phone talking to his trainer to find the best possible way to return as soon as possible. That's if what ails him knocks him out of the lineup as he usually plays through injury. He's like the Black Knight from Monty Python with no limbs yelling that he'll bite your leg off and it's just a flesh wound.

Anonymous said...

I usually agree with you but I think there is another side here. Marchand and his very dedicated fanbase are haters. They hate Crosby big time. Very, very jealous that the kid gets all the attention.

I remember watching Marchand as a junior. Buckets of talent, no class.

That I think is what you see. He is simply parroting words thrown his way one time or another when dissing the Habs and players.

But yeah, reality and NHL talking points seldom match up.

MC said...

I really don't think it is about race. It is simply that the English sports media in Canada is EXTREMELY Toronto-centric. By default that means anti-Habs, and they love to jump on any negative Habs news, rightly or wrongly. I almost can't bear to watch a Habs game on TSN or CBC. Even when the Habs were the only Canadian team left In the playoffs last year, the Sidney Crosby love-in on CBC was nauseating, I thought I was watching Pittsburgh TV. As Habs fans, we can't be surprised; Toronto is the biggest english-speaking market, so it makes business sense to pander to Toronto. If it makes you feel better, they can be unfairly tough on the Leafs as well. When Kadri got sent down to the Marlies he took it like a man and said all the right things- but still got protrayed as a cry-baby.