Former NHL defenseman P.K. Subban was recently on the Pat McAfee Show and was asked about the current 12-game winning streak the Edmonton Oilers are on. Saying the team only goes as Connor McDavid takes them, Subban called the Oilers a team that is benefitting from his play but not really a group that can win tight games or play well without his wizardry.
While any team will benefit from the best player in the world playing like the best player in the world, Subban was terribly misinformed about the Oilers’ defensive game. Accurately giving more props to McDavid for scoring 48 points since the coaching change, he made the claim it was one of the best individual seasons in NHL history. Then then said the Oilers will only go as far as McDavid takes them and while trying to not discredit players like Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman, he noted, this is something fans should watch and marvel at.
The issue, of course, is that Subban is absolutely wrong when it comes to his assessment of the Oilers. That is, at least if you look at the numbers in the date range he’s referring to. The Oilers’ defense has been incredible since the coaching change and that’s a huge part of why they are winning. Goaltender Stuart Skinner has found his game, and the depth on the team, especially the rest of the top six has stepped up in a huge way.
Subban Has Been Taking Heat on Social Media
Subban was immediately called out for not being more responsible as a “trusted” analyst who is on a show that doesn’t often cover hockey. McAfee had him on as a hockey expert and it was clear he didn’t do the research he needed to make an informed comment.
In a tweet trying to defend his take on the show, Subban wrote:
My expectation like everyone else’s at the start of the season, was for Edmonton to be a contending team for the Stanley Cup. That’s how I evaluate them! You have 2 of the best players in the world who have dominated the league since they have been in it, and they have to accept mediocrity in terms of team success. I’m not jumping on an off the bandwagon because you win a streak of games. It’s a long season folks. No easy games, lots of parody [sic] in the league, you need to trust your defensive structure to win you games some nights.
One fan of the show commented on the video and said, “Pat, please stop bringing PK on the show to talk about the Oilers. This man does not watch the games, clearly by the stupidity that comes out of his mouth.”
Subban Doubled Down… and Was Wrong Again
Subban saw the tweet and responded. He doubled down after being called out by other analysts and a ton of hockey fans (Oilers fans included). He said:
“I actually love watching Edmonton play! they are just too easy to play against in their own zone. Too much emphasis on McDavid, Leon etc and the superhero offense to always get it done. You need to win tight games with your defense. You saw what happened last year with Vegas…yes Jack Eichel is a stud and ex factor, but Defensive structure, goaltending and being hard to play against won them a cup. Not just talent and skill….but hey… anything can happen..”
Again, he was wrong if you look at the statistics. The Oilers have been one of the best teams in the league at limiting shots against and goals against since head coach Kris Knoblauch took over. They are respectively third and fourth in the NHL in those two categories. They’ve clearly figured something out and their 12-game streak proves it.
Responses to Subban’s appearance on the Pat McAfee Show have been met with harsh criticism. Oilers analysts and fans took to all sorts of platforms to call out the former NHLer for making comments about something he clearly didn’t know well and then doubling down by saying he was watching a ton of Oilers games. Meaning he either did watch them and ignored the obvious improvements in many facets of their play. Or, he didn’t watch the games and said he did.
Some of the Responses to Subban’s Comments
Dustin Nielson of Edmonton Sports Talk called it a dated take and an uninformed opinion from someone who is relying on a stance that would have made sense back in November. He added that it is an old take on a team that would have been accurate in the past, but not today and certainly not in the past six weeks. Tom Gazzola called it “Not a good look for P.K., all due respect.”
Jason Gregor of Sports Talk 1440 and Oilers Nation said on his show, “”P.K. Subban, feel free to watch the games.”
One Twitter user wrote: “PK, you are such an awful analyst. You touched on McDavid, and he’s not even the 2nd or 3rd reason why they are succeeding.”
Another user wrote, “I can’t believe when I was younger that I thought PK Subban would be a good analyst. He’s horrible.” Someone else wrote, “Subban is all about hot takes and doesn’t seem to be worried about making a lick of sense. Brutal analysis.”
Opinions Are Fine, Misinformed Analysis’ Looks Silly
If Subban wanted to say something to the effect that he didn’t think the way the Oilers are playing is sustainable and that they would need McDavid to do his magic, that would be one thing. If he noted that he was shocked at the overall improvement in the team, coupled with McDavid’s play, that would work too. But, to have a take that was clearly misinformed and then stand firm on that take is what has upset hockey fans. Many want a better rep on a show like Pat McAfee’s. McAfee has an absolutely massive audience and the least Subban can do is his homework.
It’s not likely Subban will ever backtrack on his comments. He doesn’t have to. That said, in the process of sharing his analysis, he’s lost a lot of fans that actually watch the Oilers play.
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