Early this morning, Hockey Canada sent out the following tweet:
This decision, of course, comes on the heels of Canada’s lopsided 5-1 defeat at the hands of Team USA in the WJHC semifinals, a game in which Malcolm Subban was pulled in favour of Jordan Binnington after allowing 4 goals on 16 shots.
And while Binnington was at times spectacular in that appearance (stopping 25 of 26 shots in 27 minutes), an argument could and should be made that Malcolm Subban deserves the opportunity to jump back between the pipes and help Canada win a bronze medal over the host Russians.
First, most clear headed hockey fans & observers should be able to look at the game vs. Team USA and acknowledge the fact that Malcolm Subban does not deserve the blame for the loss. Naete Sager of Buzzing the Net put up a great piece on Thursday evening that pointed to both a sluggish start and sloppy defensive coverage as the contributing factors to an early hole that Team Canada quite simply wasn’t able to dig themselves out of.
In Sager’s words:
Team Canada, coming off the two-day break that is a double-edged gift for teams who win their round-robin group, was molasses-in-January slow to get into the game, as if it was as sleep-deprived as every supporter back home.
Through the magic of YouTube, each USA goal can be revisited in all their glory, displaying the various breakdowns and poor decisions that led to Canada’s ultimate demise. (Justin Bourne of The Backhand Shelf also does an excellent job of breaking the goals against down in this Systems Analyst post). The team meetings in the crease on the first two goals have already been well-documented, but here’s a look at the kind of help that Subban had in front of him on a rush by John Gaudreau that led to the third goal.
On every level, Thursday morning’s game was a disappointment for Team Canada and all their supporters back home, but it’s straight up foolish to pin the loss on any one player; this was a total team non-effort, and each and every player involved deserves the opportunity to redeem themselves in the bronze medal game against Russia.
As I said this morning on Twitter, not going back to Subban on Saturday is total horse bleep. From my perspective, he played well enough in previous games (especially the two round robin match-ups with USA & Russia) to warrant running the table in this tournament.
On top of that, Steve Spott named him as the starting goaltender from the outset, and, quite frankly, Subban did nothing on Thursday to warrant having that distinction removed from him.
Spott himself is even quoted as acknowledging as much:
If that’s indeed the case, Subban deserves a chance to get right back in the net and finish the job that he was given to do, albeit for a different colour medal than expected.
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