Team Canada cheat sheet: meet the blueline, goalies

Earlier today we introduced you to the forwards that make up the Team Canada roster. But the team is more than just its most exciting players. There are also defencemen and goalies on this team. Let’s meet them in much the same way.

DEFENCEMEN

JAY BOUWMEESTER
About:
Jay Bouwmeester is a left-shooting defenceman for the St. Louis Blues. He holds the current active ironman streak at 692 games, but has a reputation for not being a playoff performer, by virtue of basically never playing for a playoff team, which is totally his fault. Sure, he’s spent most of his career with the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames, but sure, we’ll blame Bouwmeester.
Nickname(s):
J-Bo, Javid Bouwie, JWoww, Boa
My wife thinks he looks like:
A more robust DJ Qualls.
Expect to hear: “Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo have excellent chemistry.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo do excellent chemistry. You absolutely must try their meth.”

DREW DOUGHTY
About:
Drew Doughty is a right-shooting defenceman for the Los Angeles Kings. He was the youngest member of Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics and ended up being arguably the team’s best defenceman. Also, he wishes he had a pet lion.
Nickname(s):
No Doubt Doughty, Doughnut, Dewey, Brad Doty
My wife thinks he looks like:
Kevin Corrigan.
Expect to hear: “Doughty is so poised.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Doughty is so poisoned.”

DAN HAMHUIS
About:
Dan Hamhuis is a left-shooting defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks. He’s a super-nice guy and is just as quiet and unassuming off the ice as he is on it. He’s known for his charity work. In Vancouver, we call him the Community Man. He’s not known for his powerplay proficiency. Fortunately, he likely won’t be playing on the power play for Team Canada at all.
Nickname(s):
Hammer, Hammy, Community Man
My wife thinks he looks like:
He has never smiled before in his life.
Expect to hear: “Dan, you can’t adopt all these puppies!”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Pretty sure it was Hamhuis who poisoned Drew Doughty. Just look at him. He looks like a poisoner.”

DUNCAN KEITH
About:
Duncan Keith is a left-shooting defenceman for the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s incredibly talented and he’ll likely be Team Canada’s top defenceman in Sochi. We don’t particularly like him around here because he once tried to take Daniel Sedin’s head off with one of the dirtiest elbows I have ever seen. It was one of many retaliatory cheap shots in his career. Also, he might be a pinch sexist. But since he’s on our team now, we take offence to all the things we said previously.
Nickname(s):
Scumbag McGee, Jigsaw, Duncan Teeth
My wife thinks he looks like:
Mick Foley.
Expect to hear: “Keith is such a smooth skater.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Keith is such a smooth criminal. Hey, remember Alien Ant Farm? They were an incredible band.”

ALEX PIETRANGELO
About:
Alex Pietrangelo is a right-shooting defenceman for the St. Louis Blues. Considering he’s the number one defenceman for the team that allows the fourth fewest goals in the NHL, we rarely hear much about him. He’s an excellent all-around defenceman and these Olympics may be his coming out party as one of the best defencemen in the world.
Nickname(s):
Petro, Peter Angelo, Neck, Necky P
My wife thinks he looks like:
The Globe & Mail reporter James Mirtle.
Expect to hear: “I know nothing about Alex Pietrangelo, which is crazy, because he’s amazing.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Alex Pietrangelo is amazing. He has evolved to be able to reach the leaves of the tallest trees.”

P.K. SUBBAN
About:
P.K. Subban is a right-shooting defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens. He is one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL, which, of course, means people question his defensive ability, but he tilts the ice so much in his team’s favour that any defensive deficiencies are a moot point. He’s also a black star in a predominantly white game, so he’s frequently described as having a bad attitude, i.e. he’s too black. It’s really dumb. He’s also the star of one of hockey’s best GIFs.
Nickname(s):
Pernell Karl, Primetime, Subbanator
My wife thinks he looks like:
A young Forrest Whitaker.
Expect to hear: “That P.K. Subban is so brash and so reckless.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“I suspect my opinion of P.K. Subban is coloured by a preconception of the way black athletes usually act, and my own, haughty, overly moralistic and fully unwelcome opinion about how they should act. Once his confidence and basic enthusiasm for the game is filtered through the lens of my unspoken, racially-driven bias, it comes out looking like arrogance and selfishness to me. But rather than search myself and sort out the complicated relationship with race that’s driving this perception, I call for him to smarten up, which is silly and hypocritical. It’s my problem. I am the problem.”

MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC
About:
Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a left-shooting defenceman for the San Jose Sharks. He was one of the more surprising selections to Team Canada, simply because he has flown under the radar during his career. He doesn’t put up big numbers, but quietly makes everyone around him better. Everyone on the Sharks who has spent any time with Vlasic has significantly better statistics with him than they do without him.
Nickname(s):
Pickles
My wife thinks he looks like:
A less dreamy Nick Jonas.
Expect to hear: “Vlasic is so steady. Not a flashy guy, but he always seems to make the right play.”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Seems pretty obvious to me that one of the vowels from Vlasic’s last name escaped to his first name.”

SHEA WEBER
About:
Shea Weber is a right-shooting defenceman that plays for and is the captain of the Nashville Predators. His slapshot is insane. At the last Olympics, he put one through the net. Through the net. Plus he should give Canada the upper hand on Sweden, as Weber has shown he knows how to handle Henrik Zetterberg.
Nickname(s):
Shea Butter, The World Wide Web, Captain Turnbuckle
My wife thinks he looks like:
Young Tom Waits.
Expect to hear: Whoa! Weber’s shot ripped a hole in the net!”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Whoa! Weber’s shot ripped a hole in the space time continuum! Now it’s the past!

GOALIES

ROBERTO LUONGO
About:
Roberto Luongo is the goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks. He was the starting netminder when Team Canada won gold in Vancouver. He has a reputation for not being able to win the big game, despite that pretty memorable time he won the big game. But hey, things that actually happened matter very little when you’re trying to tell a story.
Nickname(s):
Luuuuuuu, Ra-ra-ra-Roberto, Funny Bob
My wife thinks he looks like:
Sacha Baron Cohen
Expect to hear: “LUUUUUUUUUUUU!!” 
Don’t expect to hear:
“ONGOOOOOOOOOO!!”

CAREY PRICE
About:
Carey Price is the goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. He appears to be the heir apparent to the Canadian goaltending throne, with Martin Brodeur aging out of the role and Roberto Luongo likely starting to slow down as well. If you ask Roland Melanson, his former coach, Price is nothing without him.
Nickname(s):
Pricey, Bob Barker, Vanilla Price, Carey “Better than Blake” Price
My wife thinks he looks like:
That one kid from The Sandlot.
Expect to hear: “Price should get the start next game.” 
Don’t expect to hear:
“Price should get the start next game… at forward.”

MIKE SMITH
About:
Mike Smith is the goaltender for the Phoenix Coyotes. He used to suck, but then he went to the University of Phoenix, and upgraded his diploma. Now he’s at the Olympics! Although he likely won’t play. He’s the third-stringer. Smith plays an aggressive style, leaving his net to play pucks (he scored a goal once), and initiating contact with the opposition’s forwards in hopes of drawing a call. It’s pretty much ridiculous, unless he’s on your team, and he is now, so did I say ridiculous? I meant reasonable and admirable. 
Nickname(s):
Mr. Smith, the Washingtonian, Floppy, Puckbutt
My wife thinks he looks like:
When he has more hair, Carrot Top.
Expect to hear: “Get back in your net, Smith!”
Don’t expect to hear:
“Mike Smith will play tonight.”

by Harrison Mooney and Daniel Wagner

28 comments

  1. Wetcoaster
    February 11, 2014

    Just how many captains of NHL teams are on the Team Canada roster anyway?

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    • Poops McGee
      February 11, 2014

      7

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  2. Chinstrap Joe
    February 11, 2014

    By all racial standards, Subban’s a dirty player. Same vein as Keith.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 11, 2014

      And yet, Subban has yet to receive a single suspension in his NHL career. I’ve seen him described as a dirty player many times, but have never seen much evidence. He’s had a few high hits in his career, typical of most defencemen, and he has had a few slewfoots, which are considered dirty, certainly, but are also common across the league. Basically, he’s about as dirty as most defencemen in the NHL. So why does he get singled out as a “dirty player”?

      I’ve never seen anything from Subban like Keith’s elbow to Daniel Sedin’s head or Keith’s previous predatory head hit on Matt Cooke or stick swing to Jeff Carter’s head. Subban is chippy, physical, and aggravating, but I haven’t seen anything that would make me label him as “dirty”.

      If you have any evidence of him being a particularly dirty player, I’d love to see it. The worst I’ve seen from him in a quick google search is a high hit on David Krejci that, from what I could tell, didn’t even get Krejci in the head.

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      • Chinstrap Joe
        February 13, 2014

        A little late on the response as I was steelhead fishing all day yesterday. No time for hockey talk when the steelhead are running…

        - True, Subban has not been suspended but he was fined the maximum for the trip on Kunitz. Not a clean record.
        - Keith was in the league about 7 years befofe he recieved his first suspension – now he has two. This is Subban’s fourth season. I beleive it takes the league a while to catch onto a players ways. I would bet real money that before Subban’s career is over, there are suspensions on his record.
        - The slewfoot is a dirty move – no matter who does it. Bieksa did it recently – dirty move. To say that it is “common” across the league is a gross exaggeration in support of your point. It is far from common.
        - Daniel didn’t insinuate this but Harrison did – that people’s criticism of Subban is racially motivated. I live in the US and this bugs the living hell out of me when people insinuate that being critical of our black president shows ones racism. Beleive it or not, there are white people that aren’t racists. I would submit that most of the them are not. Probably some white hockey fans that aren’t racist too but when they see a dirty play done by a player of any race, they call it a dirty play and call him a dirty player. Especially when there is an emerging pattern (multiple slewfoots as stated by Daniel). Quit pegging anyone that doesn’t like Subban’s style of play as racist.
        - Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of your guys’ work but I wholehearted disagree with you on Subban.

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        • Chinstrap Joe
          February 13, 2014

          Sorry about the spelling mistakes. The font in this window is so dang small and my eyes don’t work like they used to.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          February 13, 2014

          Yes, the slewfoot is a dirty move. But is Bieksa a dirty player because he’s committed a few slewfoots in his career?

          I’m just going by the criticism I’ve seen. People are far more critical of the dirty plays Subban has made than they are for similar plays made by, well, white players. Harrison and I both see a lot of the criticism of Subban as being racially motivated because, quite frankly, there’s little other explanation.

          Does that mean you can dislike Subban for non-racial reasons? Of course not. You’re perfectly within your rights to dislike Subban as a hockey player. Not everyone that dislikes Subban’s style of play are racially-motivated. But it’s hard to find another reason for the constant criticism of his attitude, enthusiasm, etc.

          Really, what got me going was your comparison of Subban to Keith. Keith has a history of targeting the head in premeditated, retaliatory hits. That is dirty. That makes Keith a dirty player in my mind. I haven’t seen anything similar from Subban and the evidence generally presented by those who claim he’s a dirty player doesn’t strike me as particularly convincing. If you’re going to say that Subban is at the same level as Keith in terms of dirtiness, you better have more than a couple slewfoots as evidence, that’s all.

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        • Daniel Wagner
          February 13, 2014

          To make it clear: we’re definitely not saying that everyone who dislikes Subban is a racist. Not at all. But we do want to challenge those who dislike him to examine why.

          Also, something can be racial without being racist. Not every white guy that dresses up in blackface for halloween is a racist, for example, with some just wanting to dress up as a favourite celebrity. They are, however, ignorant of the history of blackface and why people are offended by it.

          This isn’t the same thing, by any means, but a person’s views and perspectives can be subtly influenced by race without that person truly being a racist. Is everyone who called Richard Sherman a “thug” after the NFC Championships a racist? I would argue no, but Sherman’s race surely had an influence on them choosing the word “thug” rather than some other word that does not have racial connotations.

          The issue is the lack of examination. If you told some of those who referred to Sherman as a “thug” what the racial connotations of that word are, they would likely respond, “Well, I didn’t mean that,” but they still used that word.

          And to further clarify, the original post wasn’t even talking about people’s opinions of Subban as a hockey player, but the criticism of Subban as a person, as he’s constantly been criticized for his attitude rather than for his play.

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          • Chinstrap Joe
            February 13, 2014

            All interesting points.

            You’re a stats guy, Daniel. If you were to compare Subban (black, talented, hardnosed, African sounding name) to another similar player, say Iginla (black, talented, hardnosed, African sounding last name), and say that race colo(u)rs peoples opinon of said players, wouldn’t you have seen over Iginla’s career the same type of treatment as Subban? Plus, Iginla has been in the league about 4 times as long as Subban so there should be roughly 4 times the amount of unfair criticism? Shouldn’t there be similar patterns with all the other black players in the league?

            Or could it be that Subban’s style of play and off ice personality rub a lot of people the wrong way? Igninla has always been a tough guy to play against but he has always played by the code and is a class act off the ice. I would bet that of all the players in the last 20 years, few players command as much respect around the league as Iginla. Black skin and all.

            There is the difference between the two…

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            • Harrison Mooney
              February 13, 2014

              The difference, obviously, is that Iginla’s a much quieter, more demure guy. That’s what Canadians expect out of their athletes. But it doesn’t mean it’s the only way to be, and the fact that Subban is a little more colourful, pardon the pun, rubs people the wrong way. Should it? I don’t think so, and I think if a lot of the people bothered by him did a little self-examination, they’d discover that the discomfort they feel is racially-informed. It’s as simple as that.

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              • ikillchicken
                February 13, 2014

                Look, I think your criticisms of Chinstrap Joe are pretty legitimate. But he does raise one valid point: If you agree that people won’t really criticize a guy like Iginla because he’s quieter, then why do you feel that it is an issue of race at all? Do you think there are white players who are less like Iginla and more like Subban in personality who aren’t criticized for it? I’m sure that some criticisms of black players are racially informed (a lot even if we’re talking about criticisms of NFL players in the US) but it seems like there’s a whole laundry list of white guys in the NHL (Just off the top of my head, Marchant, Kane, Seguin, Burrows, Yakupov) who get criticized more or less as much for going against that Canadian expectation that athletes be quieter, and more demure. By and large, Canadians just don’t seem to like brash, chippy players. Again, I’m not saying race doesn’t still sometimes come into it but I’m honestly not convinced it is a major factor.

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            • Chinstrap Joe
              February 13, 2014

              On the Bieksa/slewfoot point, I would say that he falls on the dirty side of the spectrum compared to someone like Garrison or Hamhius. The difference is that he is our dirty player. Fans overlook the sins of their own players and magify it in the competition.

              Case in point – the Rome/Horton incident. Did Canucks fans see Rome’s actions as particularly dirty? Probably not but to a Bruins fan, Rome was the Anti-Christ. Knocking one of their best players out with a dirty check in the finals! To a Canucks fan, it was a clean check delivered about a half second too late. Plus you gotta quit admiring your pass there Horton! Keep those eyes up or you are just asking to get flattened!

              Same thing with the Marchand/Salo lowbridge. Bruins fans for the most part probably chuckled and then decried the lengthy suspension.

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              • Chinstrap Joe
                February 13, 2014

                Harrison – I guess that begs the question that if a racially-motivated critic of Subban finds that a white player (someone like Dustin Brown) rubs him the wrong way, what is his motovation for being critical of said player? What sef-examination should he be doing? Is it his underlying disgust for hockey players that don’t have trophy wives?

                What about a black hockey fans opinions of white hockey players? Are those opinions racially informed?

                My point is that racism is a charge that is thrown around way too much these days. How are you to know the intent of a mans heart? How can someone defend himself on such a nebulous charge? How does one prove that they are NOT racist? It is impossible, so making such charges shouldn’t be taken lightly.

                My utopian wish is that people would default to assuming the best in people rather than going straight for the worst. Racism is an ugly sin. The accusation of racism, where there is none, does no one any good.

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              • Harrison Mooney
                February 13, 2014

                My utopian wish, Joe, is that more people would do the self-examination and actually open themselves to the possibility of what I’m saying than simply demand we pretend there isn’t a racial aspect involved in what’s going on.

                I’ll tell you what does no one any good. When a nuanced approach to race in culture, or in this case, sport, is highjacked by someone accusing me of “playing the race card” or “throwing racism around”. That’s not what I’m doing. I never once cried racism. I didn’t use the world. That’s not what this is. I’m talking about racially-informed biases and I don’t want to sit here arguing with someone who’s just trying to steer the conversation towards a straw man.

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      • akidd
        February 13, 2014

        oh, we’re doing race today, eh? sure there’s racism in canada. and some of those people are hockey fans too and maybe they don’t like subban because of his skin colour. pretty hard to argue with that.

        but generally, i think the aversion to bravado may be a cultural thing not a race thing. i can’t really recall any particularly grating bravado from subban but i don’t pay that much attention. sherman’s rant on the otherhand i did catch and it was creepy. i didn’t think of it as so much a black thing as an american thing. I’ve seen lots of white americans talk like that and some white canadians too, well, not like sherman exactly as that was pretty amped up, but in that vein.

        it’s no secret that canada is influenced tremendously by its southern neighbour and the insecure macho tough-talk is part of that( not all the blame to the states of course.) not my favourite way to behave in public and most of the world would agree. the idea of cultural, let alone racial, insensitivity really didn’t occur to me. it’s just unpleasant behaviour imo.

        again, i’m not talking about subban–a good-looking hockey player, that’s for sure. trade edler for him?

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        • akidd
          February 13, 2014

          um, so, harrison, are you saying that a certain kind of flamboyance is a black culture thing and should be respected as such?

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        • akidd
          February 13, 2014

          oops, getting thumbed down. don’t trade edler for subban?

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  3. Mr Lewis
    February 12, 2014

    Does he cheat at scrabble?

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  4. Nix
    February 12, 2014

    Nice politicization of PK Subban. In a country as diverse as Canada, it’s pretty embarrassing how little representation we see of other ethnicities in the game. I personally love his swagger and think he brings lots of excitement to the ice. Can’t wait to see him in action. Go PK! Go Canada!

    Also, Luuuuuuuuuuuuu all the way.

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  5. Patrick
    February 12, 2014

    Boy, Luongo sure looks like Vlasic. Much in the same way that Duncan Keith looks like Doughty, and Vlasic looks like Keith. Keep up the good work – seriously, a well written piece. I’m going to see if Crosby looks like PK Subban now.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 12, 2014

      I am seriously confused by this comment.

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  6. akidd
    February 13, 2014

    not sure what the deal is with subban. i just remember a couple of years ago vs the canucks when he made this little move that was so smooth i immediately recognized his abilities forever after. his talent is obvious. dman is a tricky position though. it’s so much about smarts. i figure a guy like webber earns 80% of his salary from his hockey intelligence and 20% from his skills.

    i’m not judging subban’s defensive abilities but some pretty sharp hockey minds apparently are. so he sits and vlasic and hamhuis play. even jbow on the strength of 1/2 a season plays. it’s so crazy(the reigning norris winner is a healthy scratch) that there must be something to it…or is it just that eastern conference disability again. good enough for the nhl hype machine but not good enough for playing the best possible, winning kind of hockey, the kind keith and webber can play.

    that’s what’s neat about the olympics. all the other factors are stripped away and it’s really who’s good that plays…for the most part.

    i wonder if ovechkin would have made team canada. giroux didn’t. it’s a tough lineup to crack.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 13, 2014

      When it comes to Subban, the issue appears to be that hockey traditionalists are far too risk-averse. They see the risky elements of Subban’s game and they overshadow the fact that his team vastly out-shoots and out-scores their opponents when he’s on the ice. Far too often, teams play not to lose rather than playing to win, particularly in a single-elimination tournament like the Olympics becomes after the preliminaries. All they can think about is the one turnover that might cost the team a goal rather than the skill that will lead to scoring two goals.

      It’s the same reasoning that led Team Canada to take Rob Zamuner to the 1998 Olympics. Zamuner never scored more than 19 goals and 50 points in a season in his NHL career, but coaches touted his defensive ability. He made the team ahead of the likes of Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Mark Recchi, Pierre Turgeon, and Doug Gilmour. The 1998 team struggled to score and failed to medal.

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  7. zolltan
    February 13, 2014

    Hey, Harrison and Daniel, I tried to completely copy your style, but for team Russia:

    http://ratedzed.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/cheat-sheet-meet-team-russias-forwards/

    I hope you don’t mind too much? Let me know if you do, and I’ll drop it.

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  8. Cassie
    February 13, 2014

    “My wife thinks he looks like…” comments had me laughing out loud. Good piece.

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  9. Ternev
    February 13, 2014

    I very much appreciated your profile of P.K. as well as your analysis of the genesis of some of the negative perceptions of him. It is a fine and courageous articulation. Bravo!

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  10. forskis
    February 13, 2014

    My two cents on PK Subban as a Habs fan…disliking him is not racist but it is possible to have the dislike of him tainted by some racial preconceptions….there have been more than an a few online posters (possible trolls) who have come out and said they are not sure about supporting Team Canada because Subban is on the team. If we can all accept Chris Pronger The Jerk and cheer for him on Team Canada but we cannot accept Subban, who by all accounts, is NOT a jerk, has good offensive skills, is exciting, is adequate defensively (still some learning to do) and skates really well…if we remove the fact that he can be as aggravating as other NHL players (who are accepted, except for him), then all that is left is his skin color and the fact he is a Montreal Canadien. If people were crapping all over him just because he is a Hab, then I could live with that, because what else is new.

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  11. dontpassjustshoot
    February 14, 2014

    Re: Daniel’s comment, waaaay above: “And yet, Subban has yet to receive a single suspension in his NHL career. I’ve seen him described as a dirty player many times, but have never seen much evidence.”

    You’ve probably been watching him play a lot, and I might be cautiously prepared to accept your assessment of the actions you’ve seen him take.

    But it is (or should be) nearly meaningless to a thinking fan to look at whether any NHL suspension has taken place to judge whether a player is dirty. We’ve all seen a couple of suspensions where we thought, “I’ve seen worse getting ignored completely…” And we’ve all seen the NHL declare it perfectly OK if something really eyebrow-raising happens, like a guy is facing the glass, and another guy grab the back of his helmet , swing his head back, and knock it into the glass, allegedly hard enough to crack the helmet, in the dying seconds of a game he was winning (Red WIngs – Blackhawks).

    No evidence, please, from the Department for the Safety of Certain Players Only.

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