There are garden-variety nitpickers, and then there are nitpicking hockey fans. Whether it’s their sheer volume of nits picked or their ability to find and pick nits where it wasn’t believed any existed, puck-loving pedants are a cut above most others. So it should surprise no one that Subban’s playful weekend in Montreal – in which he drank beer through a straw from a replica Stanley Cup at a Just For Laughs comedy event (see video below, starting at the 3:50 mark) – has some peoplegrumbling.
That’s because the superstitions surrounding the Cup have grown to ridiculous levels. We’ve known for years now how averse NHL players are to touching sport’s most beautiful trophy, but when you can’t even have a little fun with the award that represents the pinnacle of success in your line of work, something is seriously awry.
It needs to be stressed that the Cup used at the Just For Laughs show was a replica. That fact alone should be enough for the complainers to cram it. But as we all should be aware, virtually everything Subban does comes under fire from deranged fans – in some cases, out of jealousy; in others, because of his race – and this is but another sad example.
To avoid this particular issue reemerging, let’s put together a complete list of all the things you can’t do near or around the Cup if you’re an NHLer. It’s clear you can’t touch it, and apparently you can’t touch a replica of it with a straw that’s touching your mouth at the other end. But what else is taboo? Can you be in the same room with it? Can you draw it on an etch-a-sketch? Can you purchase a Pez candy dispenser with a replica Cup on top?
You see where I’m going here. It’s ludicrous to suggest any of this has an actual effect on which team wins the Cup. Superstitions appeal to people because they purport to make sense out of our world of chaos and randomness. But ask yourself this: if Subban and every other NHLer who hasn’t won a Cup were forced to touch it prior to the season starting, would the trophy not be awarded to any team this year? If it’s really a curse, it doesn’t arbitrarily pick and choose which players it affects. It affects everyone.
But of course, it’s not really a curse, just like there's no real THN cover curse. It’s something somebody dreamed up, and it’s now metastasized into this even more preposterous notion. Is it hockey season yet?