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Jason Chen



Hockey players have always stood out from basketball, football, and to a lesser extent, baseball players because they carry themselves on and off the ice with a certain demeanor. Some call it boring or calculated, while others say they're humble and down-to-earth. Some of the greatest leaders the NHL has ever seen, including Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, and Bobby Orr, were very soft-spoken players who did more with their stick than their mouths. They were professional and knew their place in the league, respected the veterans, and realized that there was a time and place for everything. Having said that, PK Subban and Linus Omark have all recently attracted a lot of negative attention with their swagger.

But, seriously, what's wrong with that?

Subban has always been a very confident player. It was the reason why he made a seamless transition from a four-year career with Belleville to Hamilton, where he won the Presidents' Award in his first professional season for his outstanding accomplishments. After logging a team-high 25 minutes against the Oilers on December 1, in which the Habs blew a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime, Jacques Martin decided to make Subban his scapegoat and proceeded to make him a healthy scratch for 3 games, all Habs wins. It was Subban's fault that Sam Gagner so easily sidestepped him en route to a shorthanded beauty and a lackadaisical pass to Mike Cammalleri, who also should've been at fault, that led to the Dustin Penner winner. But which rookie doesn't make mistakes?

<img src="http://flyersorangecrush.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/0subban_0.jpg"class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Elliotte Friedman used his 'Price Theory' to rationalize Subban's exile, but I think that Price Theory is absolute junk. Price's game fell apart and there were questions about his work ethic. As far as I could tell, the only mistakes Subban made were in that game. Sure, he talks a lot of trash, but so do two very good players on the Canucks. Mike Richards obviously lost a lot of respect for Subban because he ran his mouth too much, but if that's the reason why Subban's sitting then the Habs are doing nothing but hurting Subban's game. What had become a trademark of Subban's game, enormous talent and a mouth to go with it, disappeared when he returned to the ice against Detroit. It was so obvious that Subban was overthinking the game, trying to stay within the boundaries Martin had drawn, that he became ineffective, and it didn't help matters when he was -3 against the Leafs a night later. Let's get one thing straight: Price was benched because he was awful for a long period and to win games the Habs were better off with Jaroslav Halak that year (as a side note, even though he was heavily criticized Price put up better numbers last year than he did the year before, but if you don't win games you get vilified in Montreal). Subban should've been benched and called out for his play in that Oilers game. But to tell this kid that what had made him so successful on the ice is the wrong way to play sends the wrong message. The Habs went 3-0 without Subban in the lineup, but in the process they potentially killed this kid's season and development.

Like Subban, Linus Omark is a confident player whose reputation precedes him, especially after

made him a YouTube sensation. Omark isn't a very well-rounded player, but he's got great hands and give him room around the net and he'll make sure the puck goes in, and after what he did in Sweden you can't fault Tom Renney to pick the rookie as one of his shooters. Well, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnsngTNeGTg, and all he did was do a spin-o-rama at center ice before faking a shot and slipping it into the net. After the game, Martin St. Louis wasn't too happy about it and accused Omark of disrespect and showboating. A lot of hockey pundits agreed, and to them, I say: "What!? Are you crazy!?"

Let me first remind everyone that this is the same guy that pulled off the

in a shootout once that caused as much controversy as Omark's goal. Not only is St. Louis being hypocritical, he's also being a sore loser. Omark did what he did best - he put the puck in the net. As gimmicky as that spin-o-rama at centre ice was, he got the job done, didn't he? That move may have been unnecessary, but I also wouldn't be surprised if that put Dan Ellis off guard. The moment Omark pulled off that move he instantly made himself unpredictable. Ellis probably didn't have a very comprehensive scouting report on Omark and was probably reading deke all the way and that spin-o-rama just sold it. The shootout was meant to entertain fans and Omark did just that. If the Lightning weren't happy about Omark's goal maybe they should've won that game in regulation. If Omark didn't score, this would be a complete non-issue. Stop whining, Marty.

<img src="http://cache2.asset-cache.net/xc/85898170.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF8789215ABF3343C02EA54885FC7A2A8F6E4AD040BA0C0C7507895D4FECAFC04AA11091E30A760B0D811297"class="imageFloatRightFramed">Breaking into the NHL is difficult and most young players have their ups and downs, but often the most successful players are the ones who are confident in their abilities. We don't have to look too far to find better examples. When Daniel and Henrik broke into the league, they were physically unprepared for the rigors of the NHL play and schedule, and after less than stellar rookie seasons I think they were questioning themselves if they had left MoDo too early (yes, they did). It wasn't until it became quite obvious that the days of the West Coast Express were over that they really stepped up their game. I don't think it was a coincidence at all that when Markus Naslund dipped from 32 goals and 79 points to 24 goals and 60 points in 2006, both the Sedins broke out and hit the 70-point plateau. It was then that they realized they could play and the Canucks were counting on them in the future.

Their play wasn't all that different - they could still find each other telepathically and no matter who you put on a line with them, be it Wade Brookbank, Trevor Linden, or Taylor Pyatt, these guys found ways to score. They were confident in their abilities. They weren't the sisters anymore. I must admit, I was quite critical of them, even during the 2005-06 to 2007-08 seasons when they put up three consecutive 70+ point seasons. I thought they were statistically good, but had only led the Canucks to the playoffs once in three years and in their only postseason showing they were average at best. But there was one play in particular, and it wasn't of the highlight reel variety, that told me the Sedins were ready to compete.

The Sedins are often victim of extra shots and after whistle scrums and for the most part they don't retaliate. Players with confidence and swagger don't back down. I'm not saying the Sedins are easily intimidated, because they're not, but they've never been in-your-face players. It's a trait that I like in hockey players and it's all about body language. I've never seen Subban shy away from a puck in the corner, a hit, a risky play, or a bigger player. I don't think there's a shootout move that Omark wouldn't attempt. But on December 27, 2009, the year that saw Henrik capture the Art Ross and the Hart Memorial in June, I knew the Sedins had arrived. How? After being totally abused by Dion Phaneuf alongside the boards, Henrik got up, headed towards the net, corralled the rebound and scored. That's resiliency. But the swagger? Immediately after the goal, Henrik went up to Phaneuf and just nearly made him cry. Watch the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx0MYvc-eiY.

So, I ask again. What's so wrong with swagger?



Recommended Comments

Stastny is my hero.

I respect what Omark did. I dont respect how whiny and terrible Dan Ellis is. Great he did a spin-o-rama at the blue line, that doesnt stop you from making a save 3 seconds later. Tbay needs to get on Nabokov asap, cause Smith and Ellis are costing them games.


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being sat for 3 games shouldnt kill ANY rookies season... if it does, then the problem stems a little deeper than his (subbans) trash talk...

however i completely agree with you on the shootout goal... the whole point of the shootout was to get rid of regular season double, triple OT's... and inject some excitement into the game.

mission accomplished.

i was very dissapointed ohlund was part of the embarrasing whining coming from tampa. its a shootout. he pulled a move that you dont see every day, and in all probability is a 10% shot (especially now).. next time maybe he will miss and look terrible, maybe not... but bitching and moaning after the fact is just an embarrasment to the losing team

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being sat for 3 games shouldnt kill ANY rookies season... if it does, then the problem stems a little deeper than his (subbans) trash talk...

Subban's looked better since but he certainly wasn't very good against Detroit or Toronto. He's going to make mistakes and if Martin benches him again for the same reasons as he did last time then I question the Habs' handling of Subban. That Flyers game, a team he has had a history with, gave him a little more jump.

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