Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban became a lightning rod for controversy following a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Coach Michel Therrien placed the blame for the game-winning goal squarely on Subban's shoulders.
The winner was set up when Subban fell down near the blue-line, setting up an easy go-ahead goal for Jarome Iginla.
On the deciding play, Subban said he caught an edge and fell.
"My feet came out from under me," Subban explained. "Usually, if I feel a guy on me at that point, I just put it in deep. I didn't really feel him, crossed over and lost an edge."
'I thought he could've had a better decision at the blue-line. He moved the puck behind and he put himself in a tough position.' - Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on defenceman P.K. Subban
His coach, Michel Therrien, wasn't pleased with his defenceman's decision making and benched Subban in the game's closing minutes.
"It's too bad that an individual mistake cost us the game, late in the game," Therrien said of Subban. "As a coach, I thought he could've had a better decision at the blue-line. He moved the puck behind and he put himself in a tough position.
"Unfortunately, at the end of the game, when we don't play as a team, we could be in trouble and this is what happened."
Subban saw the play differently.
"It's not like I was trying to put it between a guy's legs or something," said Subban, whose team finished winless on a three-game trip. "I just crossed over and lost an edge. It's one of those things I can take out of my game totally. But you take it out of my game and maybe I'm not generating.
'Lost an edge'
"In that situation, I had lots of room and I tried to take advantage of it. I lost an edge. Not much I can do about it."
The 26-year-old leads the team with 44 points and has been one of the few bright spots for the struggling squad, who have been without star netminder Carey Price for the majority of the season.
Questions are beginning to pile up for the Canadiens, who are 3-14-1 in their last 18 road games, and captain Max Pacioretty chose not to speak to the media in Colorado.
General manager Marc Bergevin has been insistent about his faith in Therrien during Montreal's nosedive in the standings. Bergevin's decision has drawn ire from fans and pundits throughout the hockey world and many took to Twitter following Wednesday's developments.
Bergevin says the team has been playing not to lose and needs to play to win. Subban does that and gets benched. Talk the talk but no walk.— @AndrewBerkshire
Haven't really paid attention so how has P.K. Subban become the source of controversy in Mtl again? By being their best player? The nerve.— @ArponBasu