PK Subban Slash Worse Than Erik Johnson Slash, No Suspension


On February 8, 2014, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson slashed New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen. It looked like a play you see a dozen times a game. Indeed, captain Gabriel Landeskog has both delivered and received such slashes on a regular basis. (Which probably explains his wrist issues, but that’s a different story.)

Here’s the Erik Johnson slash:

Why am I bringing up ancient history? Because of the PK Subban slash on rookie Mark Stone, of course.

In Game 1 of the first round of the playoff series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators, Montreal defenseman PK Subban delivered a two-hand slash on Ottawa forward Mark Stone. Here’s the PK Subban slash:

If you look at the two slashes, they’re almost identical.

Concerning Johnson’s slash on Nielsen, the Islanders were on a 5-on-3 power play. It’s immediately obvious that Nielsen is injured, though we don’t find out until later, of course, that there’s a broken bone in his thumb.

More from Avalanche News

Concerning the PK Subban slash on Stone, it’s just regular play. It’s also immediately obvious that Stone is injured — badly, it looks like. Indeed, we find out later he’s suffered a fractured wrist.

A couple of big differences make the Subban slash worse. First of all, according to Stone, Subban had been threatening him prior to the incident and had been targeting Stone all night. Johnson hadn’t been targeting Nilesen in particular. Secondly, it’s a playoff game. Stone’s out indefinitely for the series, and that’s significant at a time when every game is do-or-die.

To my mind, one of the biggest differences is the tantrum Subban throws after getting called for a penalty. He actually jumps up and down like a kid having a conniption. That’s just not sportsmanlike, but, admittedly, has no bearing on the play itself.

It might have a little bearing on what came next.

At the time of the incident, Johnson received just two minutes for slashing. He was later informed he’d be sitting a two-game suspension for the slash.

Subban received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. He was ejected from the game. However, according to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, that’s the extent of his punishment:

With the news of the extent of the injury, the NHL Department of Player Safety may revisit that ruling.

Now, I’ve expressed my frustration with the NHLDPS in the past. I was very vocal against them when they suspended Johnson for the Nielsen slash. I was even more vocal when they failed to suspend Martin Hanzal for a dangerous — and sickening to watch — elbow to Erik Johnson’s head. It feels that the department is very inconsistent and that there is no accountability.

That said, I think the Canadiens should have to play one more game without their best defenseman. Subban was targeting Stone all night. He made threats. He, as Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur points out, “tomahawked” Stone. He threw a hissie fit when called out.

Of course, if you’re going to suspend Subban, then Ottawa coach Dave Cameron might face supplemental discipline for his post-game remarks:

"“I think it’s quite simple. It’s a vicious slash on a unprotected part of the body, and you either do one of two things. I think it’s an easy solution: You either suspend him, or when one of their best players gets slashed, just give us five (minutes). Not that complicated.”"

I don’t know about up in the Frozen North, but down these parts that can be seen as a veiled threat.

Either way you look at it, the fight between French-speaking Canada and the Anglo-phone capitol is now being played out on hockey ice. And we have our first casualty — Mark Stone.

Next: Avs Fan Playoff Profile: Bobby Ryan

More from Mile High Sticking