The Vegas Golden Knights and Nashville Predators faced off in a battle of Western Conference powerhouses Wednesday night in T-Mobile Arena. Despite a plethora of quality scoring chances in Vegas’ favor, Nashville wound up pulling out a 2-1 victory — largely thanks to the spectacular play of goaltender Juuse Saros, who made a whopping 47 saves in the contest.
However, the result of the game likely won’t be the topic of conversation in the morning. Rather, it’s what happened between whistles that’s drawing all the attention.
With 26.4 seconds remaining in the game’s middle period, a scrum ensued in front of the Nashville net. It initially looked like nothing more than typical after-the-whistle antics, but a closer look reveals something a little more interesting.
Why does Predators defenseman P.K. Subban look like he’s in so much pain?
Holy smokes, did Pierre-Edouard Bellemare bite Subban’s finger?
“He bit my finger.”
It certainly appears Subban’s fingers were either in or around Bellemare’s mouth.
But did Bellemare actually bite down on Subban’s fingers? Based on Bellemare’s visual description on the bench, that isn’t what really happened.
At the end of all the hubbub, Subban and Ryan Reaves — who tried to fight the former Norris Trophy winner — both served two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Subban was also assessed a two-minute roughing penalty, which was served by teammate Rocco Grimaldi.
Bellemare was not assessed a penalty for the extracurricular activities.
After the game, Bellemare gave his side of the story, and he made it very clear that he had no intent of biting on Subban’s finger.
“I’m trying to get the rebound and suddenly I’m in a headlock with an entire glove in my mouth. And I’m, like, choking,” said Bellemare. “Obviously when he put his hand there, he removed my mouth guard and he tried to pull me up, so obviously he’s feeling teeth and he’s acting on it, so I don’t know what to tell you really.”
Subban, on the other hand, didn’t change his story after the game.
“I mean, he bit me,” said Subban. “My finger was bleeding. All I tried to do was grab him by the head to pull him up, and he bit me, so that’s it. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how I walk out of there with four minutes in penalties. It wasn’t explained.”
P.K. Subban’s thoughts on tonight’s incident with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. pic.twitter.com/5XbLPKciwF— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 24, 2019
Subban continued, “He knows he bit me. I’m not trying to rip his head off or anything like that. I’m not that type of player. It is what it is.”
At the end of the day, neither Subban or Bellemare will agree on what really happened in front of the net just before the second period expired. But we can certainly draw up our own conclusion.
Bellemare didn’t bite Subban’s finger. But he also didn’t not bite Subban’s finger. Subban’s fingers were in Bellemare’s mouth. This is confirmed. But did Bellemare consciously bite down on Subban’s fingers? It’s impossible to tell. Based on what Bellemare gestured on the bench, though, it seems quite possible that Subban may have given him the old fish hook and somehow received the worst of it.
Lucky for us, the Golden Knights don’t play another game until February 1, so we’ll have plenty of time to continue analyzing this very important video evidence.