Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boo Hoo, You Big, Whining Bully

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.


Unknown said...

Thanks for this JT. You stated your opinions of Richards in a much more respectful way than I ever could.

I couldn't believe the gall of Richards. The Flyers, and Pronger especially, are quite the team to model and earn respect in the NHL. Their tactics belong in the Dark Ages.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Richards said so I'll take your version as gospel. The only reason Richards would say that is to intimidate. I think it is a very good sign that the Flyers, or at least Richards, fear Subban and the Montreal Canadiens enough to try and verbally intimidate them. Last night when Gionta was creamed, Halpern and Gorges were cheap shotted the Montreal Canadiens and Subban responded by cranking it up a notch.

I don't know about the Flyers, but from what you reported that ability scared the crap out of Richards.

V said...

Will, this article saves me from writing a long reaction to what Richards said - you have captured everything I would say and more. When I first read of Richard's lecturing someone on respect for other players, I almost gagged on the hypocrisy.

His comments are just a subtle extension on what another douche (your word for Richards) - Don Cherry - said about Subban. This not so subtle 'he needs to be put in his place' rhetoric reminds me of the lead up to Bertuzzi's attack on Moore.

I have a question for you that I am reluctant to even explore... how much of the attitude towards Subban's 'cockiness' is less about his being a young player and more about his being a young, black player? I know, in the town that accepted Jackie Robinson with such open arms, a question like that seems preposterous. But there have been lots of young, cocky rookies in the NHL over the years and I don't remember any of them being called out quite like this.

What is it about Subban that is drawing this fire? Should we really be surprised that in the Neathandral world of NHL hockey it might be more than his obvious talent and charisma.

moeman said...

Beautifully written J.T. You are classy my dear.

With your permission, here is what richards said (read it, re-read it and just wonder what this vile comment means);

“He's a guy that's come in the league and hasn't earned respect,” Richards told the radio station. “It's just frustrating to see a young guy like that come in here and so much as think that he's better than a lot of people.

”You have to earn respect in this league. It takes a lot. You can't just come in here as a rookie and play like that. It's not the way to get respect from other players around the league. Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but something might happen to him if he continues to be that cocky.“

J.T. said...

@V: I'm going to accept that outright racism isn't part of the equation here, because the alternative would be so unpalatable, it would make the NHL and hockey itself a backwards, ignorant league and game. If there's subtle racism, I'm not sensitive enough to pick that up either. P.K. himself vehemently denied it, so it's not my place to contradict him. He knows the truth better than anybody, I'd wager. I give no credence at all to Don Cherry or anything he may or may not imply. It's like holding the words of the insane against them.

I'll throw it out that some of the problem people are having with Subban comes from him being a young, upcoming *Montreal Canadiens* player. There's a lot of animosity toward the Habs from fans and players on other teams. Maybe that plays in.

Anonymous said...

Great article. would like to see some \proof\ for lack of a better word for the college party and the other stuff you bring up though.

beezee05 said...

I too had the events that led up to the Bertuzzi incident in mind when I heard what this loser was saying. That's what he is...a sore loser and one of the dirtiest players in the league. I hope the NHL is monitoring this. Nah that'd be wishful thinking for a representative of ol' boys club aka the NHL executive (Collie are you out there?) in Toronto to be in the building on Monday night in Philly.

I'd dearly love to see an equivalent of Roger Goodell of the NFL in charge of the NHL. I digress...

Kristina Ashqar said...

Fantastic article, you were just as frustrated as the rest of the Habs faithful. Way to capture it all.

Anonymous said...

Well said!! This speaks to a bigger problem of the culture of the NHL and thes comments like "he better watch out" because he hasn't earned the respect of players in the game. What? Because he yapped and trashed talked him? And competes remarkably well for a player with so little big league experience. What has that got to do with respect?

The NHL and veteran players want charismatic players( because it is good for the game) and skilled players they just dont want them being to brash or too skilled or too much of a threat to more established players. They want them to develop slowly or at the very least at a slower pace than PK. They want these guys to be more humble. I think it just a lot of jealousy over the way he has developed and taken the league by storm. He is very effervescent and how can you not like what this guy brings to the Habs. He is oozing with leadership and I hope the Habs lock him up long term.

I agree on all of the arguments you make about Richards. What respect does he deserve√Č

ganderhab said...

Mike Richards has commented to press that he thinks Subban is too cocky and doesn't show respect. In a related story he added that Evander Kane is getting uppity and Dustin byfuglien needs to be knocked down a peg or two. Bobby Clarke's only comment on the matter was that in his opinion Pat Burns is getting a little goofy.

Anonymous said...

You bet it's racism. No one would have told a white young rookie to sit down and pay his dues. I feel for the guy because he's a kid who will face many ugly words on the ice in the years to come. This is a white man's sport. This isn't basketball, or football or baseball. PK is outnumbered in his ethnicity here and some angry wolves are starting to gang up. It's not only with the Flyers, the Penguins rattled PK as well.

As for Richards, he's a jealous little boy. I don't like you bringing up the comparison with him stealing the booze in college, I have to say. No offense, but who cares. That's just dumb frat shit stuff. If he stole money from a bank, that's one thing, but booze from a party? Who cares.

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece JT, I really wish PK reads your words

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article brother, someone should forward it to Bitchards himself..

Anonymous said...

JT it should also be noted that Richards carefully waited until the Philly press contingent had left the dressing room before delivering his rant to only Montreal media!

The Montreal media predictably took the bait hook line and sinker!

Well done!

punkster said...

PK is an outstanding rookie and Richards an established star. Richards knows how to manipulate the situation with his comments to PK and his annoying public comments to the media. He has the media in a frenzy and the fans up in arms but his real objective is to upset PK and the Habs. So far that hasn't worked. I'd prefer the Habs answer this on the scoreboard.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is racism as much as it is jealosy and desperation. PK is great and I wish more players were as excited about the game. It is big buisness and if a team is paying big dough for talent then the talent better give it! I think PK knows that his ticket to great life is to out work, out play and out smart the opponent as much as possible. For Richards to suggest that a new player should graciously allow the older folks in the league an easy time of it...screw that! I hope PK plays a well and as hard every game. If he is chirpy and it is throwing off the beans! If the Habs are winning and he is a part of it...Awesome! Richards should retire if he can't progress with hockey

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify something to Anonymous, JT wasn't stating when Richards was IN college, it was at a college party that the flyers crashed (from what I've read and seen on the situation).
Great article though JT. I agree wholeheartedly with it.
I've never been a flyers fan, and 99.9% of that is due to their disrespect towards everyone and how they seem to think Hockey is the WWE/Boxing on ice.

dwgs said...

Anon @ 220 on the 17th,

Let Me Google That For You

DB said...

Mike Richards is not a BIG whiny bully. He is a whiny, bullying, very small man.

Physically, he is the same size as Pleks and Gomez and, as countless hockey commentators have told us, Pleks and Gomez are small.

Emotionally, his actions speaks volumes about what a small man he is.

Navin V. said...

As a Leafs fan, even I've come away more than impressed by P.K. Subban. Kid gets it. Often confidence is mistaken for arrogance, and Richards isn't the brightest guy around, as you've pointed out, so I'm going to assume that's the case here. And if Richards has that much issue with Subban, it's simple: fight him. Looking forward to the next Habs/Flyers tilt.

AndyF said...

You hit the nail on the with a single word, J.T.. "Douche" says it all. Great article!