There's no question that New Jersey Devils' star defenseman P.K. Subban is one of the most unique personalities in the National Hockey League. Not only is Subban's outgoing and boisterous personality so much unlike that of his fellow players in the National Hockey League, a group of athletes that very rarely stray away from canned answers to the media, but he is also a much more forward facing figure than most players in the NHL.
Subban's activities off the ice, including pouring millions into charities and giving hundreds of hours of his time to those efforts as well, in cities like Montreal and Nashville have made him almost as big a celebrity, if not more, than his actions on the ice have throughout his career. I have to admit that in a world where the athletes can often come off as boring stereotypes, it is nice to have a guy like P.K. Subban around to shake things up every once in a while. The personality that has made him a favorite of so many fans across numerous hockey markets in North America however can also seemingly cost him at times.
It is no secret that Subban's personality rubbed many in the Montreal Canadiens front office the wrong way, and perhaps some inside the Canadiens locker room as well, and it is believed to have been one of the primary motivating factors in that organization's decision to trade him. It is one thing to cause a little drama off the ice though, and another matter entirely when your personality ends up costing your team on the ice at the most important time of the year.
A few years ago, during the Stanley Cup Final, Subban accused Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby of calling him out over his bad breath on the ice. At the time Crosby denied the accusations but in spite of that Subban began showing up to practice with a bag of mouthwash by his side, a clear attempt to troll the Penguins captain. It did not seem to work however as Crosby would go on to have a terrific series, although Crosby did seem a little annoyed at the time that he had to deny such a ridiculous accusation.
Well in a recent interview with Sportsnet, Crosby was asked if his frustration at the incident had proved to be a motivator for his team to go on to win the Stanley Cup. Looking back on things Crosby did admit that Subban's attempts to get under his skin may have been a part of the Penguins turning the series around.
“Yeah, I was a little irritated by it,” Crosby said as per Sportsnet. “I mean, I think you could tell at the time when I was doing the interviews. It was just like the last thing I wanted to be talking about. But I mean, maybe that was part of it.”
What is particularly interesting is at the time the comments were made, the series was all tied up with Nashville having just won back to back games over the Penguins. The remainder of the series played out very differently however, with Crosby leading the charge no less, so you genuinely have to wonder if Subban may not have hurt his chances at a Stanley Cup Championship.
To be clear I am in no way suggesting that this was the difference maker in the series, but lighting a fire under Crosby probably was not a great idea in hindsight.