It must be a thing to do in the city of Pittsburgh, or at least among its sports fans. When quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is having a bad game, everyone wants to see the team’s backup in as the new starter. When Marc-Andre Fleury lets in a soft goal, people want to run Fleury out of town so fast that his clothes wouldn’t be able to catch up, just like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
In recent weeks, the one topic among many fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been whether or not the Penguins should trade defenseman Kris Letang.
To many people across the NHL who do not pay that much attention to the Penguins, this question would be ridiculous. Everyone would say, “Why would you want to trade away a guy who was a finalist for the Norris Trophy last season and that you just re-signed for big time money?” Yes, this sounds crazy, and yet many Penguins fans want to see Letang’s head on the proverbially silver platter.
The Penguins took on the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. After watching the game, I wanted to post a question to all of the Pens’ fans out there — would you be willing to trade Letang to the Canadiens for Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban?
This is a legitimate question to ask. For everyone who wants to run Letang out of town, let’s compare the two players, shall we?
First, we have the play of Subban. Look, no matter if you think Subban is a clown for how he acts on the ice, you cannot deny his talent. The guy is fourth amongst NHL defensemen in total points, he is tied for fourth in assists by a defensemen, and is one guy that a team definitely wants out there during any situation. A few days ago, Don Cherry ripped Subban for his goal celebration after he scored the game-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators. Subban rushed down the ice, waving his arms in the air right in front of the Senators’ bench. He is also known for getting under the skin of many NHL players during every Canadiens’ game. The funny thing is, there is no cry from Canadiens fans that they want to see Subban leave town.
Now, Letang on the other hand just cannot seem to do anything right for the Penguins. Fans will say, “Sure, he is scoring goals and putting up points, but he is playing terrible defense.” This would be true in some aspects. Yes, Letang is often careless when he passes the puck from his own end to stretch the ice and hit a forward for a breakaway. He gets scolded when it doesn’t work because he was not responsible, but he never gets the credit for it if it turns into a goal. It always seems to be a better play by the guy who scored. That is Letang’s show boating, not the goal celebrations, but as Rob Scuderi called it, “The Harlem Globetrotter” mentality. Does he get under the opposing players’ skin? Yes he does.
So, who would you rather have on your team? On one hand, you have a young Letang who is still developing his game and is one of the most offensively gifted defensemen in the NHL. His problem is that he does not know exactly when to stop thinking offense and start playing defense. Or would you rather have a player in Subban who is a showoff when he scores a goal, is hated by 90 percent of the NHL, and is considered a dirty player by most of the NHL?
The answer is up to you, although this trade would never happen — the Penguins have invested too much into Letang and the Canadiens have no plans on trading Subban. I just want people to sit back and think about who they could have in Pittsburgh — Letang or Subban? No matter who was here in Pittsburgh, fans would still boo those players. They just can never seem to be happy with anything, but hey, that’s how we do things in Pittsburgh!