Let’s be real, if you’re reading something by me you probably know me from my wrestling writing so I don’t have to explain the concept of the column too much. But just in case you’re not a wrestling person, there is a WWE-contracted sports entertainer by the name of Chris Jericho that’s a pretty big deal. He’s been around since the 1990s and continually finds ways to reinvent himself and stay relevant with today’s wrestling fan. Last year, he started carrying around a clipboard with a piece of paper on it and writing down the names of people after they had angered him. People didn’t want to make the List of Jericho. Why? Because…they’d get it.
I’ve decided to liberally rip off the idea for a new feature here at THE USB. The List of Cook will feature somebody in the world of sports that has managed to anger me one way or another recently. Make me mad, and you make the list. Make the list, and you’ll get it. What’s “it”? IT.
We start in the world of professional hockey and somebody I didn’t even know until Saturday…
I’ll be honest: my only real exposure to national NHL coverage comes during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They rarely show Nashville Predators games nationwide during the regular season, so a good 99% of my hockey viewing is done via Fox Sports South. They have a good crew and I miss them when they leave the airwaves after the first round, but I generally don’t mind NBC/NBCSN’s game coverage. Doc Emrick is probably the best active play by play man for any sport, Kenny Albert does a fine job as well and the rest of the pbp guys are inoffensive. A lot of people don’t like Pierre McGuire’s analysis INSIDE THE GLASS, but I’m still not much of an expert so I’d have no idea how right or wrong he is on anything and he doesn’t annoy me too much.
I don’t watch the pregame show because I usually don’t watch pregame shows (I do usually catch Predators Live because of Terry Crisp & Lyndasy Rowley), so I have no idea who is on them. Apparently one of them is a fella by the name of Mike Milbury, who played for the Boston Bruins before eventually getting into coaching, then general managing before failing so bad with the New York Islanders that he had no other choice but to get into announcing. His playing career was mostly known for an incident where he removed a shoe from a spectator during a fight that had broken out and hit him with it.
Could you imagine if something like that happened today? It would be such a huge deal that ESPN might let Barry Melrose talk about it for two minutes on SportsCenter. Anyway, Milbury is one of the analysts on the show I never watch, and I wouldn’t have noticed him until everybody online started going crazy over what he had to say about Predators defenseman and all-around hockey gawd P.K. Subban. They were showing P.K. warming up on the ice prior to the game, and he was doing a little dancing around because that’s what P.K. does. He keeps it loose. Old Hockey Guy hates it when the young kids don’t take everything super seriously & stand around like they have a stick up their butt, and Milbury had the following to say about it:
“P.K. has got a tremendous personality and sometimes you got to keep it under control. This worries me. I know it’s a new day and age and everybody wants to be on Instagram or Twitter or whatever. But you got to keep focus. This is a tough game. When I see this I start to think maybe (Predators head coach) Peter Laviolette ought to give him a rap on the head and say, ‘Hey P.K., we got a game tonight, focus in, you don’t need to be a clown out there. And he will. He’s been a clown in the past and we’ve seen him act like a clown. When he’s serious and focused he’s one hell of a player.”
Actually, I’m not as surprised as the Bubbles GIF would indicate. This is so Old Man Hockey it just cracked open a Molson and started telling me about the old days with Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, maskless goalies and when the men were men, women were women and the sheep were scared. I’ve talked with Dustin James & Jeremy Lambert just recently about how hockey does a piss-poor job of building stars and appealing to a younger crowd. This is largely because of stupid idiots like Milbury that like their hockey players to be as monotonous and uninteresting as they were back in their day.
P.K. Subban is not monotonous or uninteresting. He is the most charismatic man I’ve seen in hockey and any amount of talking he might do is backed up by his play on the ice. His “lack of focus” only led to him being the most productive Predator of Games 1 & 2 of their series with the Blues by a pretty wide margin. Subban has excelled in the playoffs his entire career, and he’s picking up right where he left off now that he’s with Nashville. He is the type of player that the Predators need to take things to the next level as a team, an organization and an option of entertainment.
P.K. is the kind of player that the NHL should be building itself around. He’s active in the community, he’s a fantastic talker and engaging in any environment, and he’s one of the best defensemen in the league. Now that he’s in a growing hockey market in a growing part of the United States that the NHL has been obsessed with getting popular in for more than twenty years, P.K. Subban should be a superstar in this league. And he is to anybody that follows the sport.
Except, of course, for the cranky old guys that wish things were the way they were back in 1955 when they started watching hockey. Back when the NHL had six teams and people knew their place, by gum. Back before we had those pesky Europeans and those downright unthinkable non-white players. What in the world is hockey coming to?
Do you know what happens, Mike Milbury?
Do you know what happens when you question the great P.K. Subban because your sensibilities are stuck in the Stone Ages?
Do you know what happens when you make lazy assumptions and assume people’s heads aren’t properly in the game?
Do you know what happens when your philosophy towards hockey was outdated when Rocket Richard retired?
Do you know what happens when you sound like a cranky old white guy mad because the world changed and everybody isn’t just like him anymore?