Professional athletes make way too much money for what they do, few would argue with that. It’s no different in hockey, where a mediocre player will earn, at “minimum wage”, more than the average Canadian will earn in a life time. However, some people try to make others believe that the amount of money a player is getting paid should not be taken into consideration when analysing its worth to a team. While in some sports in might be somewhat true, the same cannot be said in the NHL where they deal with a hard salary cap.
As much has been said and written about the saga between Michel Therrien and P.K. Subban, I certainly don’t want to add fuel to the existing fire and I’ll stay away from the whole debate about who’s right and who’s wrong. To each their opinion and I have mine, but as the team’s best paid player, well above what the true best player is making (Carey Price), the expectations are proportional to the salary.
Everyone can recognize, deep down, that Subban turns the puck over more than anyone of the Habs’ team, even if they refuse to admit it. They hide behind the fact that he does other things well, which is true by the way, to ignore that he too has facets in his game that he should improve on in order to help his team even more. Last year, it was the minor penalties as he led the NHL in that category. This year, it’s the giveaways.
Here are the 20 best paid defensemen in the NHL this season. I have added their ice time per game, their giveaways, their takeaways, their points total so far this season, their plus – minus and the difference between their giveaways and takeaways. This shows a pretty good picture, when tied to the amount they tie up on their team’s salary cap, on how they perform overall. Granted, it’s not a complete picture but no stat does, really, not even those fancy stats they’re trying to sell you on.
Subban is a great player and if he only applied himself to making some smarter and safer decisions on the ice, by cutting his giveaways in half, he would be that much more useful to his team and he would avoid post-game comments like a frustrated Therrien said after the game against the Avalanche in Colorado.
Fans must cheer the players and their team, in good and in bad times. But in no way should they think that they are perfect and don’t have flaws on which they should be working on. Players themselves will admit to that. Also, because someone criticizes a play or an aspect of a player’s game, it doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t like that player. As a matter of fact, it shows that this person is capable of being unbiased and see the game as a whole.
When Subban or any other player does something good, people should be able to acknowledge that and appreciate that. But when he makes a mistake, one should not hide behind what he’s done well to excuse a lack of focus or good judgment at that particular moment.
Go Habs Go!