It wasn’t the outpouring that followed Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, but P.K. Subban’s two-point effort on Saturday was enough to provoke a handful of racist taunts on Twitter.
And Subban plainly doesn’t care.
Asked post-game about the torrent of racial abuse after the series opener – he scored twice, including the double-overtime winner – he said “whoever it is, they’ll get dealt with, but it’s completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins organization.
“I know some of those players personally on that team, the fan base has been awesome, they’re a great bunch of fans. It’s unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago,” Subban said. “It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. I’m happy now that we can just move on.”
If Subban chooses to ignore racist invective, he took careful note of the gestures and words of support from both his teammates and on-ice foes.
The Bruins, to a man, reacted forcefully; though Subban induces rage on the ice, there is a mutual respect (this may owe something to the fact he was an Olympic teammate of Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, and the fact his brother Malcolm plays in the Boston organization).
“You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league. You see how people come together, and it’s great,” he said. “And it’s not just about me, the NHL’s got tons of players from different backgrounds, from different places around the world, and that’s what makes this league so special and what makes sports so special, bringing everybody together.”
Also, there was a hockey game on Saturday in which Subban was again brilliant.
Though he was on the ice for two Boston goals, including Reilly Smith’s late winner (it wasn’t on Subban, who was battling for position with Boston’s Brad Marchand) he also contributed two key assists.
In the third period, the 24-year-old was involved in a coming-together with Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton, who called Subban’s successful attempt to avoid a check near the Montreal bench “a dangerous play.”
He also second on the the Habs in ice time, playing 26:58, one second less than Boston’s Zdeno Chara and just 23 seconds behind teammate Andrei Markov, the most-used player in the game.
Subban now has points in five straight games, and leads the Canadiens in post-season scoring with nine points.
Those results are pretty hard to hate.