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Author Topic: The Ice Breaker  (Read 330 times)

Offline Jay_Thomas

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The Ice Breaker
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:03:21 AM »
Can P. K. Subban win over hockey’s stoic traditionalists?

Illustration by Owen Freeman

Subban is one of the world’s most thrilling athletes, someone who, like Roger Federer, or Kevin Durant, or Yasiel Puig, awes less because of the results he achieves than because of the way he achieves them—kinetic charisma, approaching genius. But a hockey preservationist he is not. Within the context of his sport’s culture, he is more like a gaudy mansion, with a waterslide out back and a cigarette boat parked in the driveway leaking gas. He “craves attention,” as Ken Dryden, the Hall of Fame goalie turned author and liberal politician, put it last spring, during a playoff run in which Subban performed brilliantly and was reaffirmed as perhaps the “most polarizing” player in the game, to quote Canada’s National Post. (Earlier in the season, Sports Illustrated had identified him as hockey’s “most hated” player.) He has a reputation for running his mouth—chirping, in rinkspeak—and not long ago he gave an interview on a popular French-language TV show in which he boasted of using pregame café as ammunition for weaponized flatulence on the ice. He peacocks after scoring goals and brings a debatably excessive exuberance to the serious business of bodychecking. He seems to regard the national anthem as an opportunity for limbering up, if not boiling his blood. Sometimes people—even well-meaning people, not intending it as a criticism, exactly—say that he reminds them of a basketball player.




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