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Holding Back On Crosby

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

Tell you a quick story. Just before Crosby suffered his first concussion in January 2011, I was scheduled to do an interview with him. As part of the preparation, I asked a few Flyers for their opinions. They were complimentary—even Mike Richards, who hated him the most. They said he’d really decreased his complaining on the ice and just played hard.

That’s why it was so stunning to watch him in Game 3. Undoubtedly, the Flyers were telling each other, “We’ve got him. He’s totally unglued.” Swatting the glove away from Jakub Voracek was so…high school.

If I was a Flyer, I’d have wanted to rip into anything in a white jersey after James Neal’s hit on Sean Couturier. It was dirty and made Aaron Rome/Nathan Horton look like a tickle fight. Crosby was on the ice and getting involved.

This is not about protecting Sidney Crosby or the Pittsburgh Penguins or having any issue with what was going on or cheering for a particular team or anything that myopic people accuse us of.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby


Hockey Night in Australia's avatar

The thing people miss about Crosby (or Shea Weber, for that matter), is that he’s the team captain.  When you’re behind in a pivotal playoff game, the captain has to show leadership: calm things down, get the team back on track.  Crosby never does.  He resorts to being a punk kid whenever anything doesn’t go his way.

If you act like that, someone will call you up on it eventually, no matter who you are.  And, quite frankly, both the NHL and the Pittsburgh Penguins did just fine this year without Crosby on the ice, so he’s not as indespensible as some might think.

Posted by Hockey Night in Australia on 04/16/12 at 12:11 AM ET


Cindy Crosby = Mario Balotelli. 

Dude is ruinning his legacy.  There are great sportsman in this world:  Joe Sakic, Rod Brind’Amour, Ron Francis, Steve Yzerman, Mark Messier, Nick Lidstrom, John LeClair, the list goes on and on…

This guy ain’t one of them.

He’s one painful ejection away from Mario Balotelli.  Sad to see it.  But the truth hurts. 
Honestly, good to see him go.  Hope he figures his stuff out.  While I’ll miss his talent, I won’t miss him at all.

At this point, he’s indefensible.  His parents raised him like a Richardhead.  Shame on them.  They stole the world.

World would be great with a Crosby that was accountable, honest, pure and a competitor.  He’s none of those things.

Posted by Bob Chipeska from Washington, DC on 04/16/12 at 12:44 AM ET


The fact that you include Messier on that list of great sportsman speaks volumes over anything else you said….

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 04/16/12 at 01:00 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

accountable, honest, pure and a competitor

He’s accountable.  He’s honest.  And he sure as hell is a competitor.  Nobody is pure (if you have an example, please tell me)...and Crosby has his faults.  Aside from the knocking of the glove away from Voracek - which was kind of funny, but I totally get why people will jump on him for it - he was better than most of the players on the ice today when it came to the after-the-whistle garbage.  He fought once, challenged Schenn to go later (Schenn declined) and I really didn’t see him slashing and hacking a lot of guys.

He’s the captain, though, so it’s his job to help reign these guys in a little…and he certainly didn’t do that.  Today was embarrassing, but Crosby handled it better than most of the guys wearing white.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/16/12 at 01:06 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

The fact that you include Messier on that list of great sportsman speaks volumes over anything else you said….

What? He’s got a cold medic- i mean leadership award named after him.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/16/12 at 01:08 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

That’s not to say Crosby didn’t instigate some of the stuff himself, mind you.  But, what is he supposed to do when his team is down 2 games in the series and 2+ goals in Game 3?  Has to try to get his team going.  Nothing dirty, just trying to get his guys going.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/16/12 at 01:12 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar


Aren’t there better ways to lead/ignite your team then to start slashing Bryzgalov after the whistle?  He also was the one who caused 2 other melee’s later on (Voraceks glove, and grabbing Hartnell)

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 04/16/12 at 01:41 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Can anyone here imagine Lidstrom acting as Crosby did today? Or even Pavel Datsyuk? I could see Franzen pulling that sort of bush league crap if his coach would tolerate it. Leadership is earned. It isn’t a marketing gimmick.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/16/12 at 01:45 AM ET


Crosby shows over and over why he is completely unlikeable. He is a punk who will get his due and it WILL end his career. I say good riddance.

Posted by timbits on 04/16/12 at 01:48 AM ET


In short, Tortorella was fined for being right.

Posted by Pffft on 04/16/12 at 04:29 AM ET

JBytes's avatar

Cindy Crosby = Mario Balotelli.

You’re spot on with that comparison!  The only difference I can see between them is that Super Mario [yep, we call him that too] never gets the benefit of a doubt from match referees, whereas Crosby almost always gets the calls in his favour.  I heard Balotelli had to agree to go see a psychologist in order for him to stay with his club.

Posted by JBytes on 04/16/12 at 05:13 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by topshelf14 from Hockeytown, USA on 04/15/12 at 11:41 PM ET

Christ, he didn’t slash him.  He was poking at the puck.  Huge difference, there.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/16/12 at 10:28 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The tone of Friedman’s article is good, but I’m getting farther away from agreeing with the message.

Yes, we’re still at a point where losing Sidney Crosby forever is bad for hockey, but the thought of it is getting less and less worrisome with every incident like yesterday’s game. The guy is a phenomenally talented hockey player with an electrifying skill set. Even hating the guy, it’s hard not to appreciate the things he can do on the ice when all of this circus bullshit isn’t a distraction.

The problem is that this circus bullshit IS a distraction and it’s a big one. Sidney Crosby has come across as a petulant heel over the last two weeks. I’m starting to wonder if the Penguins (and the game) wouldn’t be better off without him.

Sure, the Flyers are doing the little things on the ice to get under his skin, but when we’re talking about leadership, we’re talking about a guy who needs to be above that kind of stuff for his team. Sure, I thought jabbing away the glove was funny at the time. It would have been hilarious if it were Staal or Kennedy or Dupuis, but it wasn’t; it was Sidney Crosby, the team’s captain, the on-ice leader of a team that completely melted down on Sunday afternoon; the team that’s one loss away from turning from a cup favorite into first-round sweep fodder.

There is a leadership problem in Pittsburgh. As always, it starts with the coach who still refuses to reign in his players and allows games to devolve into farce while signing off on guys like James Neal taking idiotic runs at people. Just below that though, there’s Sidney Crosby and his antics in egging on the hate instead of trying to help his team focus on hockey and perhaps how to be a little more defensively sound. 

Crosby is supposed to be a leader of his team.  Unfortunately, he has been, and that’s been a disappointment, considering what his team turned into yesterday.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/16/12 at 11:08 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 04/16/12 at 08:28 AM ET

BS, the glove is completely covering the puck, no chance to knock it out. It’s a crap play I don’t care who does it. That kind of play makes its way all the way into the adult leagues I played in. I hated it and got many a penalty for sending the guy doing that down to the ice quickly. The pucks covered, you’re not going to knock it out, all you’re going to get for your troubles is a face-wash or worse. Again, it’s not a knock on Crosby in this case because all players do it.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 04/16/12 at 11:22 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Today was embarrassing, but Crosby handled it better than most of the guys wearing white.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 04/15/12 at 11:06 PM ET

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time in this space as the only Red Wings fan willing to give Crosby credit for his maturation, and I’ve mostly written off my fellow Wings fan whiners as envious that we don’t have a player like Crosby on our team.

Unfortunately, through yesterday’s display, Crosby pretty much unraveled all of that. Call it slashing or not, but the puck was clearly covered and he chose to get a few shots in on Bryzgalov. And that’s just a minor play compared to his petulant swatting of Voracek’s glove. Bottom line, I was clearly wrong. If Crosby really had matured the way I used to think he had, he wouldn’t have done something so childish, especially not when his team needed him to be composed to stay on the ice and score goals.

If you want to do silly stuff to try and get under the Flyers’ skin, you send Asham out, not the guy that is single-handedly capable of imposing his talent on the game and turning it in your favor.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/12 at 11:23 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by phillyd from New Jersey on 04/16/12 at 09:22 AM ET

Play to the whistle?  It wasn’t slashing.  I’ll stand by that.  Was definitely too much…but, it’s not like Bryzgalov didn’t have a couple of pucks sneak through him yesterday.

I don’t know, though.  I’m a broken man right now.  Yesterday was embarrassing…and the more that I look back at it and see replays and stuff, I don’t know.

Everyone but me is probably right…I should go hide somewhere.  I’m probably just looking for something, anything, to not be completely embarrassed about right now.  I just don’t know.

Really hate that I defended this team for the past couple of weeks…only for this to happen.  Man.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/16/12 at 12:17 PM ET


Will the Flyers/Comcast be allowed to replay the game this summer or will all evidence be erased?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/16/12 at 12:36 PM ET


Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 04/16/12 at 10:17 AM ET

My condolences Flashtastick, I am no fan of the Pens or Sidney but I feel you pain.

Posted by timbits on 04/16/12 at 12:53 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 04/16/12 at 10:17 AM ET

The first one was before the whistle and was a push of the glove which is fine. The 2nd was after and was more like a chop. Like I said, though, everyone does it but when it’s done, you have to expect you’re going to get hammered and cleared out of the crease or wherever for doing it. The whole thing in the 1st period would’ve simmered down if he doesn’t do the petty flick the glove away. And his post-game comments on it were even better, from a Flyers fan’s point of view, he’s lost it and he has no clue how to get it back.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 04/16/12 at 02:10 PM ET


I think Elliotte finally figured out what Cherry was saying all along. This is not about Crosby being a punk or a whiner, that type of argument is never going to be taken seriously.  It is about being smart enough not to put himself in a situation that could end his career. Getting involved in or even instigating scrums when you have missed almost an entire season from concussion isn’t a smart thing to do. Hartnell, as hard as it is for me to defend a Flyer, actually showed restraint.

Sydney is among a handful of the most talented players in the world and he wastes his energy trying to be an instigator. The problem isn’t just that being an instigator isn’t his role, it is a sign that he lacks maturity. He has always been focused and dedicated to being the best hockey player there is, which seemingly seperated him from Ovechkin, but he is easily rattled and thin skinned when adversity strikes. It would be far better for him if he could instigate like Messier did, on his own dirty elbow terms, but Crosby seems to react to every little slight and loses focus.

The team then seems to follow his lead. Byslma doesn’t seem able to control his team’s emotions as well as he hemms and haws through the post game press conferences grasping for excuses and half truths. He could have easily settled Neal down after the first attempted head shot and chose not to. Maybe getting nothing for having Godard leave the bench gave him the false impression there really isn’t much he can do to control his players.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/16/12 at 02:45 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Yeah, hard to swallow this pill, but Cherry appears to have been mostly right on this one. Eventually, if Crosby doesn’t grow up, or more so, just smarten up and quit putting himself in situations better suited to goons, he’s going to pay for it. I think the much discussed “fear” of players to be the person to put Crosby out after his long-running head/neck injury concerns is fading fast, if it ever existed.

If he doesn’t learn to skate away and focus on scoring goals, someone will go Todd Bertuzzi on him, or at least do something similar with intent to significantly injure him. I’m not at all implying Steve Moore deserved what he got (he did NOT), I’m just saying this to make a point about what Crosby is flirting with.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/12 at 05:51 PM ET


I would never condone or even expect someone to “go Bertuzzi” on Crosby, but brain trauma is something that doesn’t take too much to set you back again.  He has to control himself more because of his history, he isn’t the same player he was before the head injuries started to pile up.

Physically he may be the same, but one blow to the head could make all of the difference in the world and you have to question why he would put himself in that position? I’m not saying he should shy away from the hockey contact that would diminish his ability to play the game, but all of the post whistle scrums and general jack-assery that leads to a shot to the head that may end his career permanently and for what? To show that you had the nerve to be an agitator?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/16/12 at 06:06 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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