Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Don't Expect Me to Slip This Under the Rug

I'm about to put myself in the minority-room...

I'm not interested in trying to get anybody any bad press, or to necessarily expect people to agree with me, or to provide you all with a homily. I just need you to listen and to think from another person's perspective on this

As much as I have entrusted my hockey learning, my hockey life, and my old hockey video game color commentary with former goalie Darren Pang, I am quite disappointed in him as of tonight.

For those who are unfamiliar with the incident, this evening on TSN, Darren Pang was talking about the emergence of the young and talented defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, PK Subban. As a player who is not only known for his on-ice performance but his often controversial" behavior, PK has, of course, caused concern for the conservative hockey community.

Here are the comments by Panger:

Of course, what everybody is going to think I'm referring to is the Freudian slip Pang makes, but you wouldn't listen to me if I just told you he's racist because he said that Alex Pietrangelo does things the "white way."

Instead, I have more issue with the things he said leading up to it. Implying that there is a "right way" for one, when there are other paths other players have taken to make it to the NHL is a problem for me. For all the players who made it to the NHL a not-so-mainstream way, through different programs, did they not do it "right?" Does that make them a lesser player?

Even as a player who came up through the juniors, how did he not do it the "right/white" way? Why should he have to follow the example of another player?

Well, notice how Pang, and of course everybody else comments on Subban's behavior, need of "settling him down." The same conversation has happened with Russian Alex Ovechkin's personality and party-boyish ways. While it is understandable in the case of Subban in a community where everyone else doesn't act the way he does that he should be mindful of this for the betterment of his team, it is still troublesome that he has to do so.

This all goes under this concept of "conformity"... the idea that the right, proper way to do everything is to assimilate by conforming to the Anglo-Canadian style of play, attitude, training, etc. And this concept appears in many forms in our daily lives, and it is hard to detect by others on the outside because of the idea of privilege... unfortunately, this is All We Do Is Puck and not sociology class, so I won't explain all of it here, but it is something to be aware of.

Hockey is obviously still a sport run almost entirely by old white men, with a majority of white players in 2010. So yes, the ideas will be antiquated, with a fear of the game being taken away from them, the game changing too much, new types of players and personalities coming in, Ochocincos and T.O.s, and all of these things if non-traditional types come into the game. Still, you cannot ignore the concept of race in this, because who are they scared of t going to? Yeah, I said it - race. Say it with me now! I'm not scared of it!

Even though this issue goes much deeper than what was said here, and it seems like a "gregarious" problem to fix, do understand that it can't be totally ignored, denied or minimized either to make it okay. It is the way it is, but that doesn't make it right. It's Subban doing all the talking, but let's try not to blame the victim or his "ways," or call it something else Let's not say "it didn't count because he didn't mean it." Trust me, it won' get you off the hook.

As much as people are going to label this incident as "just a slip" and that "he didn't mean anything by it" are missing the bigger picture; that this isn't okay, and that he had to apologize because it's inherently wrong to say. However, not just the slip, but everything else before that, which leads me to believe that of course Pang wouldn't want to say "white way" on television. I still trust Panger with my hockey analysis -- after all we short goalie-types must stick together -- but I call it like I see it and this was inexcusably wrong.

Sermon - done.


Stay tuned later for a post on the polling of YOUR favorite defunct NHL team. Cause I know I have one, and I'm not telling you until I post!


  1. PK is and always was a breathe of fresh air among the stagnant pond of Don Cherry's mothball collection. This whole "well, why won't you be like Pietrangelo" and the "shut up and sit down" treatment PK is getting, it's unbelievable. What I don't understand is he does in fact do things the so-called right/'white' way. He worked hard to get to the NHL, he grew up wanting to be awesome like Bobby Orr, he trains non-stop, he works like a horse in practice, he wants to be the best, and he wants to be the game-changer that will help the Habs (his and his father's favourite team) have a chance to win the Stanley Cup (and said so to Bob Gainey when he was drafted, also to bring it home to Toronto to rub it in their faces haha). He just wraps it all up in a lovely personality. He's eloquent in his speech, intelligent, respectful to his peers, and extremely mature in his answers instead of spouting Hockey Quotes 101 on how to give it 110% (well, he uses those too). Weird thing is, having a personality isn't anything new in the hockey world even before a character like Ovechkin appeared. Perhaps because it was delegated to the "weird" like Jeremy Roenick. Or maybe the old boy's club of the NHL are finally showing their stripes and they don't even realize it...and don't know how to deal with it.

    Can't wait for the Habs to finally go to a shootout and hopefully Martin picks PK so he can do his Jussi Jokinen move and COMPLETELY insult the entire hockey world, like Linus Omark.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Thanks for the insight in to how Subban is with the team. Definitely adds to the story.

    Because there seems to be a few other players as well who are dealing with the issue of personality clashing with conventional hockey ways, I think the "old boys club" you mentioned are feeling threatened. It's like the tea party of the NHL haha.

    Again thanks for the Habs' fan perspective on this! Really appreciated!

    *p.s. I looked on your profile and it says that you are a Ken Dryden fan... that is MY all-time favorite NHL player EVER! Very smart, quirky guy and of course, a goalie!