May 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) skates with the puck against the New York Rangers during the third period in game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Subban Loses EA Sports NHL 15 Cover; Here’s Why

For those of you who live under a rock, P.K. Subban found out at the NHL Awards that he did not win the chance to be the face of EA NHL 15. The news was delivered via a truly interesting in-character dance-off by JabbaWockeeZ. The hip-hop dance troupe staged a dance battle between Bergeron and Subban, the two finalists for the cover, and while I personally felt the dancers playing Subban had more impressive moves, ultimately, Team Bergeron pulled it off.

Then again, in the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Subban.

At first, I couldn’t understand why, or how, Subban lost this vote. He’s charismatic, a dynamic player, and surely his social media presence was a positive for him. Why, then, did he lose the popular vote? Below are five reasons why Subban lost this contest.


Subban smiling with JabbaWockeeZ

Jun 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban poses for photographers with members of the entertainment group Jabbawockees on the red carpet of the 2014 NHL Awards ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

1) He’s a defender.

Think about it. Of the last 10 players to grace the video game cover, only one was a defender: Dion Phaneuf. Eight others were forwards, and the cover player of EA NHL 14 was goalie Martin Brodeur.

It’s difficult in any sport for defenders to get as much press as forwards. Their job focuses on protection, which is not nearly as sexy as offense and if done well, should result in goals prevented. If done really well, it can also result in goals scored (for your team) but that is rarer. Goals are exciting, we understand, and it can be tough for the average fan to break themselves out of that offense-thinking mindset.

For popularity’s sake, it’s unusual for a defender to make the cover of any game, and more so for a goalie and defender to take the cover in back-to-back years.

In this case, the gloryhogs that are forwards kept this honor for themselves.

2.) He’s too Canadian.

Look at the man. He practically reeks of Canadian-ness. He’s always smiling, has fantastic dress sense, and is so kind to everyone that he’ll even kiss reporters, as Pierre McGuire found out only a few weeks ago.



I love the guy, but in this case, voting worked against him. Given that hockey is so popular in Canada, there’s a good case to be made that a large number of Canadians were voting, and here’s where he lost out on a good percentage of votes precisely because of the team he plays for.

The fans of other Canadian teams (particularly the Leafs) would not be likely to vote for Subban, no matter how good he is, and no matter how Canadian he is. Bergeron is Canadian, but he plays for a team in the U.S., which in this case works for him. Not only does he play for the Bruins, one of the most popular NHL teams in the United States, but remains proudly French Canadian.

(It’s also a nice little “gotcha” to vote for a Bruin over a Hab if you’re anti-Canadien, considering the longstanding rivalry between the two teams.)

Bergeron’s Bruin-for-life attitude combined with his charity work in the Boston community gives him international appeal to both Canadians and Americans, something Subban doesn’t have. This most likely dealt him a significant blow in the voting.


3.) I’ll say it: he’s black. Didn’t know that, did you?

In our society, a lot of choices are racially motivated while flying under our conscious radar. Fans were asked to vote for their favorite player, and while Subban is getting more of the credit that he deserves, he still suffers from racist comments made by fans and media alike. Think back to the Canadiens-Boston series, if you’re hard-pressed to recall a single incident where he was unfairly targeted because of skin color.

If you do the research, none of the last ten players to make the cover are people of color. Sadly, I did not have the time or money (or the authority) to do a full online family tree search for each of the individuals, but after digging into their backgrounds via Wikipedia I couldn’t find any evidence to support POC status, aside from the basic premise that all life started in Africa. And to be fair, they’re all pretty darn pale.

Even if I am wrong, and one or two of them do identify as a person of color, that still displays a disappointing lack of diversity in the public’s cover choices.


4.) He’s saving himself for when he wins the Ted Lindsay Award, the Hart trophy, the Norris trophy and is asked to host the NHL Awards show.

It’s as good a theory as any. And what’s more, I bet you can’t disprove it.


5.) His campaign wasn’t flashy enough

I know this is a ridiculous reason for someone who faced many complaints for his flashiness on the ice and enthusiasm in his goal-scoring celebration, but he simply did not deliver his normal, exuberant Subban Experience this time. Other potential EA NHL 15 faces went to extremes to get votes. T.J. Oshie created a series of videos of him playing — and failing at — other sports, and Bergeron sent the Bruins mascot out into the streets to shill for him. Subban, on the other hand, ran a thoroughly enjoyable Twitter campaign, but did not push hard beyond that.


In truth, it was most likely not one of these reasons, but a combination thereof that prevented Subban from garnering enough votes for a definitive victory. (Though maybe not reason 4. That was pure silliness on my part.) Honestly, I’m glad Subban didn’t win this time. It will make it all the sweeter when he does.


Tags: Montreal Canadiens P.K. Subban

  • JOJO

    To be frank. I just don’t like his on-ice attitude. That’s why I didn’t vote for him. In fact, most people I talk to say the same thing. They don’t like his game time attitude, Sure, off the ice he seems nice and funny, but he really pisses you off when he’s being a straight up douche against your own team. So for me, that’s why

    • Kate C

      He does go all-or-nothing on the ice. IMO that’s something to admire, especially since it’s contributed so much to the team.

    • Nick

      To be completely honest his character is not unlike some other players in the NHL, but believe it or not subconsciously people take more offense to it when he does it. It is underlying subconscious racism. And most people have it even if they don’t admit to it.

      • Nick

        If it was subban telling Boston players at the end of the series in the handshake line: I’m going to kill you next season.. Or pumping his chest like a gorilla after an empty net goal.. How much more would it have bothered you the when Lucic did it? Yet we have some media for NBC and NESN defending the clown. Subban would of been crucified.

        • sal

          It wasn’t a vote between PK and Marchand or Lucic. It was Bergeron. A guy who is generally liked on and off the ice. JOJO’s criticism is completely valid. Subban is a good guy off the ice, but he’s douchey while playing. Still talented, but douchey.

        • ArthorBearing

          Everyone understands that Lucic is basically a gorilla who somebody taught to skate and shoot, so his expectations are lower. Subban is not disliked for his attitude, in fact it’s a big positive for him. I think most of the reason there is anti-Subban sentiment is that Hab fans are so far up their own ass about him that we feel it’s necessary to counter that absurdity.

  • Jordan

    Such a bias article. He didn’t win because he didn’t get enough fan support. The Only reason he lost is reason number 5. Boston tweeted once every 2 hours saying vote Bergeron and they gave away jerseys pucks lunchboxs and what did Montreal do. Well they didn’t do much. Plain and simple not enough votes.

  • Moby Dick

    I’m a diehard Habs fan and I think picking Bergeron was the right move here. Bergeron played with a partially collapsed lung in the Finals 2 yrs. ago and he’s a good guy, easy to like, even though he’s a %$## Bruin.

    P.K. may get the nod down the road. I do think he has some hidden racism to have to overcome though, which he will as white fans get used to him over the next few years.

  • Bruce

    2003 – Jerome Iginla

    • Moby Dick

      Jerome was a light-skinned, quiet, ‘non-abrasive’ guy, that’s why he was accepted. They had no choice but to accept him. PK is khaki, outgoing, controversial, and this is where his race becomes a factor. Jerome basically was a ‘house nigga’ while PK refuses to be and white audiences have difficulty coping with that.

  • corey

    I don’ think racism plays into it. what it comes down to is he is not a solid player all the time. look at bergeron – not only can he pass the puck and but it to the back of the net, but he can also win face-offs, play defence and gets time on the penalty kill. he plays a complete 200′ game. I’m not saying that Subban is all offence or all defence, but there is a significant portion of time where what he does on the ice is suspect. he gives the puck away in the final minute, or doesn’t pick up the man on the way back into the zone. he can be a game changer with the puck for his team, but he can also be a game changer without (or with) the puck for the other team. He made team canada this year (a political move) but didn’t play (in my opinion) because he’s just as likely to give the game away as he is to make a great play. bergeron makes mistakes, sure, he’s human. but most of the time he’s solid, and when the game is on the line, theres no one (aside from maybe toews) that id rather have on my team.