One would be hard-pressed to find someone who has met the charismatic P.K. Subban and would use the word hate to describe their emotional response to the hockey player.
And yet on Monday, the Montreal Canadiens defenceman ranked Number 1 on Sports Illustrated’s top 10 list of the “NHL’s most hated players.”
The list, written by Allan Muir, does not appear to be based on a survey or poll but is rather a subjective ranking of “the guys you most love to loathe” and a response to hockey’s complete absence from Forbes’ ranking of “America’s 10 most disliked athletes.”
The ranking kicks off with a pair of Buffalo Sabres, Patrick Kaleta (No. 10) and Steve Ott (9), followed by Detroit Red Wings winger Jordin Tootoo (9); Vancouver Canucks finger-biter Alex Burrows (7); Washington Capitals new signee Mike Ribeiro (6); Phoenix Coyotes suspension posterboy Raffi Torres (5); Chicago Blackhawks embellishment artist Daniel Carcillo (4); the Boston Bruins’ “little ball of hate,” Brad Marchand (3); and another Canucks forward, Max Lapierre (2), who “might be the league’s premier hit-and-run artist,” according to the article.
Though ranking Subban No. 1, SI defends the defenceman’s panache, arguing that “the game needs more characters like him.”
So why is Subban viewed as more hated than the other 750 or so players in the show?
“It’s obvious that he has bridges to rebuild, and not just because of his lengthy contract dispute,” Muir writes. “Subban’s flashy personality on and off the ice is a break from hockey tradition, and that clearly rankles some people. Too bad.”
The only way P.K. Subban is the NHL’s most hated player is if he surgically conjoined himself at the head with Patrick Kaleta.