One of the more mildly amusing off-ice hockey fights this season involves the CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC) analyst P.J. Stock squaring off against Montreal Gazette sportswriter Dave Stubbs. The two media heavyweights decided to throw a few haymakers at eachother over the vitally important issue of how popular P.K. Subban is in the Montreal Canadiens locker room.
The ferocious fracas started when Stock shockingly insinuated Subban has very few friends on the Montreal hockey club. Stock’s criticism of Subban also consisted of a video overlay which shows Subban committing the inexcusable acts of both wearing a hoodie and a Walkman prior to a game. Finally, someone who gets the Walkman angle! Any audiophile worth his salt knows that cassette tapes have much better sound quality than tinny compressed MP3s.
Responding to Stock’s claim of Subban being a cancer who is getting the cold shoulder in the Habs dressing room, Stubbs wrote an article calling Stock “a vaguely informed TV panelist”, who irresponsibly uses sensationalism to spin his yarn. In all fairness to Stock, he does have to occupy his limited camera time with something other than being a major fanboy for the Boston Bruins.
Ironically, it was Stock who tweeted to Stubbs, “Next time write an honest article without your Habs pompoms on.” Stubbs should take the recommendation seriously if Stock ever decides to take off his Bruins speedo while providing analysis on HNIC.
Stock also seems to fancy himself an expert as to what is currently transpiring in the Habs locker room because he played the game. Should anyone with a life really care what Stock assumes is going on with the Canadiens behind closed doors? Should we be surprised there are other Habs players who resent Subban for not giving in sooner to a front office which was trying to lowball him from day one of his contract negotiations?
If there is a problem with Subban and the Canadiens locker room, the problem has been perpetuated and allowed to fester by the team’s management. For a management team which preaches team unity, they did a pretty good job of singling out Subban and hanging him out to dry because he was not interested in accepting their initial insulting offer.
And if there are players who resent Subban, were these not the same players who were just recently insulted by Gary Bettman’s initial insulting CBA offer to the NHLPA? If so, the hypocrisy here is multi-layered and not limited to just Stock.
Many years ago, way before Subban was born, there was a superstar baseball player by the name of Reggie Jackson, who was also considered a cancer to his team’s locker room. Jackson, who was a lightning rod to controversy, only managed to lead two different teams to five World Series Championships in seven seasons. With his near super-human postseason performances, Jackson proved he was the straw that stirred the drink and forever managed to silence his vaguely informed critics.
If Subban remains in Montreal and manages to lead his team to a Stanley Cup title, he too will silence his critics. If not, it appears we will never stop hearing why Subban prefers to listen to cassette tapes instead of MP3s prior to a game.
And one more thing: Stock’s blatant failure to find out and report what type of music Subban listens to suggests he is not the omniscient Habs locker room insider he wants us to believe he is. Although Subban is the one who wears the hoodie while listening to tunes, Stock is the one who is performing the hoodwink dance for his viewing audience.