Tag Archives: Ohio

Devils’ P.K. Subban is marketing everything except his own game

COLUMBUS, Ohio — P.K. Subban should be embarrassed.

The Devils invested a lot in the bombastic defenseman, and he has become an absolute shell of himself on the ice. Imagine, after this debacle of a season in New Jersey where his insipid play surely helped to get a good man and good coach in John Hynes fired, Subban is on the books for an annual $9 million for the next two years.

Players fade. Subban is 30 years old, and that happens.

But what should be embarrassing is that during this time of organizational upheaval, he is out and about almost every day with another promotion. On Wednesday, a day after Hynes was fired following desultory efforts in a 4-0 loss to the Rangers at home and a 7-1 thumping up in Buffalo, Subban was at Bryant Park doing an appearance for Red Bull. The press release said he was “2103 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.” On Thursday night, he was at the Adidas flagship store in Manhattan. What a great way to get ready for a big back-to-back under new coach Alain Nasreddine, Friday night at home against the Blackhawks and then Subban’s big return to Nashville on Saturday night. Should be a barnburner (or tape burner?).

The league has bought in, too. Opening up the All-Star game to fan voting again — remember how that worked out the first time? — it is pledging $25,000 to the players who get the most retweets on Twitter and the most likes on Instagram using their hashtag, #NHLAllStar. Just give it to Subban now.

It is amazing that he has time to practice and play games with all the time he spends posting on social media. They must let him keep his phone on the bench.

Which really wouldn’t be all that surprising, considering how much Devils managing partner Josh Harris has gushed about Subban and his personality. Every time Harris has talked, he can’t help himself by bringing up Subban’s fiancee, Lindsey Vonn, who is now making a living as a celebrity following an illustrious Olympic skiing career.

“Let’s face it — P.K., and we’re lucky enough to adopt Lindsey also, they’re major stars,” Harris said during the laughable circus that was Subban summer press conference. “I think it elevates our organization. I’m very excited about it. I think it’s a win-win on all sides, and we’re lucky enough to have someone who’s very good at it, embraces it and connects with fans.

pk subban lindsey vonn engaged espys
P.K. Subban and Lindsey VonnGetty Images

“We’re trying, as much as we can, to roll that out in an effective way.”

Know where you’ve heard the phrase “roll out” before? In marketing pitches.

Everyone knew that marketing was a big part of the trade, but this is at the expense of the on-ice product. People around the league have been quick to jump on Subban for years to say he couldn’t play anymore, but it seemed like jealousy towards an outgoing personality in a sport that prides itself on stoicism. But when Nashville traded him for two middling prospects and two second-round picks, what did that say about his worth? (And how do you think Montreal feels, with captain Shea Weber healthy and playing like The Mountain Man again?)

Subban’s over-the-top arrival in Newark back on July 26 would have made you think he was a returning war hero. At least, better than Damon Severson. The Devils made their bed with that pomp and circumstance, and now they’re laying in it.

If Subban’s poor play is weighing on him, it sure doesn’t show. He hasn’t even had the wherewithal to say, “I need to be better.” Maybe he doesn’t think that.

It should be crystal clear that this has nothing to do with Subban’s charitable work. His $10 million donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital is still breathtaking, and his visit when he was up there on Thanksgiving was heartwarming. His work continued in Nashville by bringing inner-city kids and police officers together. And surely he is going to positively effect Newark, which could use some love. His devotion to charity is awesome.

But at this juncture, Subban is hardly a NHL defenseman, let alone an elite one. All the while, he does remain an elite spokesman — just not for the Devils.

Get it in writing

Wait, the NHL didn’t have a written Code of Conduct? How is that possible. At least now, with all of the allegations coming out about coaches abusing players, that might stop.

And I wholeheartedly agree with the thoughtful Robin Lehner when he railed against “cancel culture” in a fascinating diatribe. So many of these situations are nuanced, and to jump to conclusions and end somebody’s career for something they may or may not have done 20 years ago is a stretch. And like Lehner said, people also deserve second chances, like the one he got and is taking full advantage of. Good for him to continue to speak out, and help bring about change in a sport that can often be stuck in the past.

Comfy Kevin

Good to see Kevin Hayes getting comfortable in Philadelphia, huh? He was honest about the pressure of his $50 million contract, and how he’s now just trying to play hockey.

He’s so comfortable, in fact, that they’re putting a mic on him. Not recommended viewing if you’re averse to wicked Boston accents and hockey-speak nonsense — “Go warmy”? Give me a break.

Les Habitants

The Canadiens organization celebrated its 110th birthday when the Islanders went up to Montreal on Wednesday. Let the Habs’ video help grow the appreciation for their history.

Also, it was the five-year anniversary of the passing of Jean Beliveau, and a good time to rewatch this gem of a tribute from superlative director Tim Thompson.

Stay tuned . . .

. . . to your weekly Connor McDavid highlight. Have you heard that he and Leon Draisaitl are having a good year together?

Parting shot

“It’s raining stuffed animals in chocolate town!” Pretty good call.

Justin Fields ready for Big Ten title game

Ohio State coach Ryan Day and QB Justin Fields talk about his knee injury and his toughness. (Dec. 5) Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress Website: https://apnews.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP Facebook: https://facebook.com/APNews Google+: https://plus.google.com/115892241801867723374 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/APNews/ ​ You can license this … read more